Response #24: The Not-So-Secret Garden

The title says, “The Secret Garden,” and although there are no entrances to the garden from the outside world, Father Brown appears to us first in the corner of the garden as if he knows a way in that we don’t. Even though he entered the garden through the house, as we find out later, it’s peculiar that his first appearance in the story should be as if he apparated into the story from the outside world.

That’s the peculiarity of Father Brown, though. You really never know what this little man is up to. He just drifts in and out of the story so gracefully.

In “The Secret Garden,” Father Brown detects that the host of the party, blah blah blah, is actually the murderer of two victims. The disturbing way in which the bodies are found (both decapitated and body parts switched) would be enough to throw anyone for a loop, but not Father Brown. He followed the scheme as if he watched it happen (which he may have considering he just appears out of nowhere).

I really wish the story was told from the perspective of his assistant or partner instead of a third person narrator. I think the stories are really lacking a connection with the readers. If only Chesterton had told the stories through Father Brown’s eyes or someone close to him, the stories would have much more depth and be a lot more fun and interesting to read. Instead, we are left wondering what is going on inside little Father Brown’s head. The way in which he solves the mysteries seems to be through his knowledge of the dark corners of the human mind, which has been revealed to him over time through confessions in his parish.

The first mental picture I created of Father Brown looks something like this (Griphook the goblin from Harry Potter):


Obviously, this is way off because this is a picture of a goblin, and Father Brown is a man. I just happen to picture Harry Potter characters when reading any book now, I guess. It’s engrained in my mind after dedicating so many years of my life to the wonderful series. A price I am willing to pay.


While it turns out, he looks more along the lines of this:

mark williams as father brown bbc des willie


I see where they’re coming from, I guess. I think Griphook as Father Brown would have been much more interesting, though. Interestingly enough, the actor portraying Father Brown in the above photo is the same actor who played Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter movie series. I guess my Harry Potter reference wasn’t too far off after all.


One thought on “Response #24: The Not-So-Secret Garden

  1. In class, we discussed how Father Brown is undeveloped, does not have any real background information, and does not have a narrator; it definitely would have been nice having someone, maybe Flambeau, narrating his story. I definitely agree with you that Father Brown does tend to drift in and out of a story; it’s like he pops out of nowhere, but always at the right time, which reminds me of his quote in “The Sins of Prince of Saradine : “. . . one can sometimes do good by being the right person in the wrong place” (Chesterton 411).

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