Study These Questions and Answers for The Secret Garden

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Summary of the Novel

A grieving man locks up his beloved wife’s garden and turns his back on their son, who is an invalid. His orphaned niece comes to his home to live, finds the key and opens the secret garden. Through its magic, the trio is restored to life and health.


Test your knowledge by answering these questions about the plot, characters, or other elements of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

  1. Who are the main characters in the book?
  2. How are Colin and Mary related?
  3. Who is Dickon Sowerby?
  4. Why is Mary so angry and disagreeable?
  5. Why are the children forbidden to enter the garden?
  6. Name two examples of the use or reference to magic in this story.
  7. How does Mary gain entrance to the garden?
  8. What is the main theme of the book?
  9. What does Colin say after he almost collides with his father, who is entering the garden and seeing him run?
  10. Where is Misselwaithe Manor?
  11. Briefly describe the dramatic closing scene of the book.


Here are some suggested answers to the study questions for this book. You might come up with different answers, depending on your perspective of the themes and elements of the story.

  1. The main characters are: Mary Lennox, Lord or Master Craven, Colin Craven, Dickon Sowerby, Susan Sowerby
  2. They are cousins.
  3. Her parents are dead and she is forced to live with her miserable Uncle Craven.
  4. The garden belonged to Lady Craven, Mr. Cravens’ wife. He was so grief-stricken by her death, he sealed the garden and buried the key.
  5. The garden grows by magic, Dickon uses magic on the animals, Colin becomes healthy and walks again because of the magic.
  6. A robin leads her to the buried key.
  7. The main theme is redemption and the cycle of life, as seen in this quote, “While the secret garden was coming alive and two children were coming alive with it, Lord Craven was coming back to life.”
  8. Colin says: “I am going to live forever, and ever, and ever!”
  9. Misselwaithe Manor is located on Missel Moor.
  10. Dickon Sowerby is Susan’s son and Mary and Colin’s friend. He has an apparent magical ability to tame both beast and man.
  11. Lord Craven and Colin walk together toward Misselthwaite Manor as the servants stare in shock and amazement.

Reviewing these questions and answers will help you prepare for tests and quizzes, or help with homework and classroom assignments.