What happens during Mary's journey to England in The Secret Garden?

Quick answer:

During her journey to England, Mary reflects on her situation, becoming less spoiled and more polite.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In The Secret Garden, very little detail is given about Mary's journey to England, which is dismissed in a few sentences. The reader is told only that Mary made the long voyage to England in the care of a young officer's wife. However, there is one point that is of interest in Mary's character development.

Mary is described in chapter 1 as a spoiled child who is is given to throwing tantrums. On the voyage to England, Mary's conduct is cold and her face is cross, but the author says that she did not throw a single tantrum for the entire trip. This suggests that Mary is adjusting to her new situation in life: that of a dispossessed orphan who will not be able to scream at the servants whenever she fails to get her own way.

Although the change in Mary during the long journey to England is not described in any detail, it is evident by the time she reaches England. She feels that Mrs. Medlock, who comes to collect her, is "disagreeable and common" but manages to converse with her quite sensibly and politely on the railway journey. By the end of chapter 2, Mary is already a substantially more sympathetic character than she was in chapter 1, and the change seems to have taken place during her journey to England.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial