The Secret Garden Discussion Questions

Instructor: Angela Janovsky

Angela has taught middle and high school English, Business English and Speech for nine years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.

The story of 'The Secret Garden' has been a childhood favorite for many years. This resource provides teachers with stimulating questions that can be used in class discussion.

A World of Transformation

Transformation is a key theme in Frances Hodgson Burnett's 1911 novel, The Secret Garden. It can be seen in nearly every character, as well as the garden kept a secret for ten long years.

While teaching this novel, it is important to delve into that theme (along with several others) as the story progresses so that your students understand the inner growth seen in Mary, Colin and even Mr. Craven. The questions here will allow you to lead thought-provoking and intriguing class discussions with your students.

Character Questions

  • Compare Dickon to Mary and Colin. How were their childhoods different? How does that affect the kind of life each one leads?
  • Describe Mary's relationship with Martha. How does it change throughout the novel? What characteristics of Martha's help Mary to grow and change?
  • Describe Mrs. Sowerby's relationship to Colin and Mary. How do they connect to her before they even meet her? What sort of void does she fill for them?
  • Ben Weatherstaff also develops throughout the novel. Explain three ways Ben and Mary were similar at the beginning of the story. How does each change for the better? What helps Ben change?
  • Dickon is a character with many interesting traits. What are some of his traits? What skills does he have? How is he seen by Mary? How is he seen by Colin? How is he seen by his animals?
  • Compare Mary and Colin. What things do they have in common? What is different about each one? Discuss how fear plays a role in those differences.

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