With spade and rake she plants a "huge giant" of rather ordinary perennial flowers and grasses in her garden, passively lying clothed in flowery armor and brandishing a sword of lilies: "Call him Hector, son of Priam!" In a thunderstorm, she fancies that the soul of Hector has come to animate his vegetable body, and she is happily terrified by his thunderous wail of sorrow (in good Homeric Greek) and his roaring pulse. Reading "Hector in the Garden" against a backdrop of classical myth criticism and the feminist impulse in Barrett Browning's work, I suggest that she deliberately layers her sentimental reminiscence over a subversive subtext, by posing Hector as an effigy of a vegetation god (like Adonis, Attis, Osiris, and the "green" and "wicker" men of English folklore), a vegetation god who is in this case created and killed by a little girl so that she can absorb his heroic power.
"A Little Taller than Homer": Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "Hector in the Garden Lauren P Matz Cithara; May 2009; 48, 2;
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