Page 3. " So, like Charles Dickens, in this work of 'fiction' I will hide myself away behind a false name "

Charles Dickens' works were largely autobiographical, most notably his novel David Copperfield.

After much speculation about whether Flowers in the Attic was based on a true story, in 2009, evidence came to light in support of the idea.

Page 5. " we were all blond, flaxen-haired, with fair complexions "

The children share an appearance that signifies their innocence and virtue.

Page 5. " Daddy's best friend, pinned on us a nickname, 'the Dresden dolls'. He said we looked like those fancy porcelain people "


Porcelain People
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikePorcelain People - Credit: Lucas Cobb



Porcelain dolls are made out of ceramic material and primarily originated from Dresden, Germany in the 19th century. Like the Dollangangers, they have blue eyes, blonde hair and a fair complexion. Porcelain people made up a huge part of  Dresden's industry before World War II and the considerable damage it caused on the city's infrastructure.


What are Dresden Porcelain Dolls?

A popular rock band from Boston, USA named themselves The Dresden Dolls, after the protagonists of this novel.

Page 7. " Christopher trying his best to entertain them by reading to them from Mother Goose. "

Mother Goose is a imaginary author of a collection of tales and poems for children. She can be traced as far back as the mid-17th century and some believe she was a real person.

The Real Mother Goose book
Creative Commons AttributionThe Real Mother Goose book - Credit: "T"eresa
Christopher is probably reciting to the twins the book of short poems entitled The Real Mother Goose, published in 1916. It is the one American readers are most familiar with.

Page 19. " My Raggedy Ann doll alone would half fill one suitcase! "


Raggedy Ann doll
Creative Commons AttributionRaggedy Ann doll - Credit: Aunt Owwee

Raggedy Ann is a fictional character which appears in a series of childrens books. Her character is a rag doll and, from the early 20th century, Raggedy Ann dolls were being made to purchase. They were produced in numerous sizes ranging from miniature to gigantic, and are one the most popular dolls collected.


Page 20. " You father used to gallantly call this "fallen from grace". "

This is an expression. To 'fall from grace' means to suffer a loss of respect or prestige. It originated from the Bible:

Galatians 5:4 (King James Version):

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

Mr Dollengangar was mocking Mr and Mrs Foxworth's excessive piety by using the expression so gallantly.


Page 23. " We would be introduced to King Midas, who would soon die, and then we would have all the money "

Midas is a King in Greek mythology who possessed the power to turn anything he touched into gold. At first, he was delighted but his greed subsequently betrayed him when his food, his drink and even his daughter turned to solid gold.

Cathy's mention of Midas foreshadows the misfortunate fate the children had to tolerate at the expense of greed and covetousness. They too learnt that riches are not nearly as important as love, truth and loyalty.

The Story of King Midas


Page 24. " the pink ballerina stood in arabesque position when the lid was opened "


Ballerina in arabesque position
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBallerina in arabesque position - Credit: Flasher

The arabesque is a position in classical ballet where the ballerina stands on one leg and extends the other behind her.



Page 24. " And I heard the tinkling music play, 'Whirl, ballerina, whirl...' "

These lyrics are from the 1947 song Ballerina, written by Carl Sigman and Sidney Keith Russell. Listen to American singer Vaughn Monroe's version of the song below...

Page 25. " The train lumbered through a dark and starry night, heading toward a distant mountain estate in Virginia. "

From Gladstone in Pennsylvania to Charlottesville in Virginia, the family's journey was southwestward and lasting around 6 and a half hours.