“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden” – Frances Hodgson Burnett
My inner child requested that I write this post. Names have a wonderful way of making me extremely nostalgic. When I hear the name Colin, for example, I immediately think of little Colin Craven. Needless to say I read and watched The Secret Garden countless times. Let’s delve into the names of the characters from this timeless children’s tale.
In 1910, when The Secret Garden was first published, Mary was the #1 name given to baby girls in the United States. Mary has dropped in popularity, now sitting at spot #123. A classic name, Hebrew in origin, Mary means “bitter”, which is quite fitting for this character in the beginning of the novel.
An interesting little tidbit is that the names Colin and Mary were both #123 in popularity in 2012. Colin is a name with Scottish and Irish roots and has a cute meaning – “young dog” or “pup”.
Definitely a striking and powerful name heard mostly in Scotland and England. Archibald’s meaning “bold” and “brave” lives up to its strong sound.
As a lover of “lil” names, Lilias is my favorite character name from the story. Lilias is a rare Scottish form of the name Lillian meaning “lily”. In many film adaptations Lilias’ has been renamed Lily.
Dickon is a sweet character with arguably the least usable name of the bunch. A rarely used English name, Dickon comes from the name Richard, meaning “dominant ruler”.
Martha stems from an Aramaic name meaning “lady”. When was the last time you met a little Martha? I actually quite enjoy the Marta spelling and pronunciation.
Susan is a Hebrew name meaning “lily” that peaked about 50 years ago. I love many variations of Susan, such as Suzanne or Susannah. I’d love to see those names to make a comeback.
I have to start by saying that I love Ben’s last name. It’s so perfect for his character! Ben is a diminutive of Benjamin, a wonderful Hebrew name meaning “son of the right hand”.
*I purposely left out Mrs. Medlock & Dr. Craven. Prominent characters, though we don’t know their first names.
Off to play with my skipping rope 😉