Locus Focus! (1)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Locus Focus is a meme by Enbrethiliel of Shredded Cheddar. It is where we talk about our favorite settings in books -- whether it'd be one from a book you are currently reading, or an all-time favorite.
I have to admit, I've been excited to join this for a few weeks now. It just sounds like such a fun and unique meme, so I already knew I couldn't resist. Sounds interesting? It definitely is, if I may say so myself. So go to E's blog now to read her post, and maybe, even to link up your own :)
For my pick for the meme's very first week, it's not at all surprising.


The Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson Burnett

It is set in the early 20th century. We first meet Mary Lennox in colonial India. With a father in a political position and a mother who went to lavish parties, Mary was usually ignored. So she grew up taken care of by her Ayah and some of the other native servants. When an outbreak of cholera hit India, her parents died, and she is sent to live with her uncle in England.

This is where the setting shifts and the story takes us to where Mary's uncle lives: Misselthwaite Manor. Misselthwaite Manor is a dark mansion; one with massive iron bars to serve as the front gates. Inside, is an enormous hall, so dimly lit she could barely see a thing. On the walls were the many portraits of different people Mary did not know of and rich-textured tapestries lined up next to them. There is a broad staircase that lead up to a long corridor, where Mary's bedroom is. She steps in and finds that it is indeed cozy-looking, with the help of the massive fireplace and her canopy bed. Despite the house's and her bedroom's grandeur, it was still very eerie and gloomy -- one that Mary did not at all like.

Personally, I love the sound of Misselthwaite Manor. Sure, it sounds like it could be extremely gloomy and lonely there, but I always tried to imagine how the libraries would look like -- if there were libraries in Misselthwaite Manor. I can only imagine how vast the space would be, and how much books such a place could store.

The third (and my favorite) setting in this novel is of course; the garden itself. However, when Mary first discovered it, she knew it has obviously been abandoned for years. She stated, "How still it is! How still!"
A dark garden full of old and gray trees, dead flowers, weeds, dead rose bushes, and empty pathways.

Mary decided to take care of it -- by planting seeds and cleaning out the whole garden. With the help of her friend, Dickon, soon, the garden starts to come alive. And the result of all their work is nothing less than amazing; a thriving place full of life; flowers of different kinds from roses, carnations, lilies, daisies to poppies. There are birds chirping and singing again on branches. Green tress that bear fruit. Clean pathways. I mean, how could anyone not love such beauty?

And as if the wonder of the place is not enough, Frances Hodgson Burnett's writing is also as beautiful. Her details always leave me in awe, wishing I could also be sitting on the grass, smelling the flowers, and feeling the breeze. Let me just add a book to read and a cup of tea and that could very well be a perfect day.


  1. +JMJ+

    Excellent choice! The three settings in this novel are all equally fascinating, I think. Wouldn't we all want to explore turn-of-the-century India, and a huge manor with many rooms, and a walled garden??? And don't forget the moors with all the wild animals which flock to Dickon!

    I must say that I feel so frustrated when I read The Secret Garden because I'd rather be in it, with all the characters, than wherever I am when I'm reading it. =( I don't blame Colin for screaming his head off when Mary goes off to have adventures with Dickon, and leaves him stuck in his room: I totally understand the feeling!

  2. Thats a GREAT choice, I've always wanted a misterious walled garden (dream on) My friend had a shared walled garden once which she even had her own key for and that was quite cool.

  3. I have The Secret Garden here but I haven't read it yet. I did try reading it when I was young, but, like all the classics I tried then, I thought it was boring and gave up on it. Your descriptions and pictures are gorgeous though and I think I'll have to give it another try soon. Great post!

  4. I love The Secret Garden movie, it's so pretty!

    There's also an award for you at my blog :)

  5. @E: The Secret Garden is just one of those books that just wouldn't be the same without its settings. I knew I had to do that one :)

    @Jessica: Thank you! I've always loved wandering around in beautiful gardens. I might never have one for my own though, since I probably won't do such a good job taking care of it, haha. And oo0hhh I have always been fascinated with 'secret old' keys like that, mainly because of this book.

    @Jen G: I agree with you that that is probably why it took me a long time before I read Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, etc because when I was younger I thought they were boring. Or maybe they were just way too advanced for me, as a reader.
    But I'm so glad I gave them a second chance, because it turns out that they're one of my favorites. Do try The Secret Garden again, I'd love to hear what you think. Oh btw, have you seen the movie? It's quite good.

    @Kelly: I loooveedd the movie too. I never tire of watching it. I have the DVD and everything. Sooo lovely.
    And thank you so much for the award, I will try to put that up asap :)

  6. What a great choice!! I saw the movie years ago and loved it, but haven't got to read the book. The picture reminds be of Thornfield Hall too.

  7. Your descriptions are making me want to reread and rewatch The Secret Garden again!

  8. @The Book Mole: Thank you! I also loved the movie so much! So lovely.

    @maytagger8819: Haha, thank you, I really love this book and movie as well.