Any little girl who goes through a phase where she sports pigtail braids and wishes she was a redhead with freckles no doubt loves the “Anne” books, that is “Anne of Green Gables.” I was one of those little girls, and though I’m not little anymore, I still am in love with that quirky orphan.
“Anne of Green Gables” is a bestselling novel written by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery about an orphan girl who stays with a middle-aged woman and her brother. The plot is much deeper than that, and there are many stories in the series, but the most important thing to know is Anne was a lovable, fascinating female character.
The series is a classic that follows Anne from girlhood into her adult years. I was turned onto the collection as a young girl while I stayed at Grandma and Grandpa’s house during summer breaks. Every evening, we watched a portion of the “Anne” movies. I loved the movies so much that I watched them over and over and still have them memorized.
Here’s what I loved about Anne while I was younger:
1. She was courageous and full of adventure
All children are attracted to stories with adventure, and Anne always seemed to be right in the middle of it. There was the time she did not want to be a redhead any longer and tried dying her hair black, only it came out an awful green. There was the time she walked the ridgepole of a roof and ended up falling and twisting her ankle. She may have been more of a daredevil than I was growing up, but there was something deeper than that; I was fascinated by Anne’s sense of adventure to try anything once. She had courage and confidence.
2. She was a kind person
It was an interesting dynamic to watch unfold as a young girl: the child having to win over the respect and admiration of the adult, and not the other way around. At first, Marilla Cuthbert, who adopted Anne, was displeased. After all, Marilla was supposed to receive a boy orphan who could help her and her aging brother Matthew. But Anne was eager to please her elders and used her sincere likability to eventually earn her way into the hearts of the adults.
3. She loved where she lived and who she lived with
All Anne wanted was a home and a family, and from the moment she arrived at the Avonlea farmhouse on Price Edward Island, she was as happy as a clam. Of course, anything beats life in an orphanage, but Anne was so appreciative of the beauty all around her and the life her new family could give her. I loved her poetic way of describing her surroundings and being aware of that which appealed to her senses.
Here’s what I realize now that I love about Anne:
1. She was so easily inspired
As a little girl and to this day, I am easily inspired – just like Anne. One time Anne lay like a corpse in a row boat and had her friends push her away from the shore. Did I mention she had a huge imagination? While I’ve never done this, I have a similar imagination as Anne and sometimes my daydreams and ideas sweep me away. Anne also had an alter ego and saw “Katie” when she looked in the mirror. I now recognize that Anne aspired to be a cultured, worldly woman, who dreams big.
2. She worked hard, lead her own life and knew what she wanted
The boy who used to pick on Anne in school eventually felt affectionately toward her. And as they grew, Gilbert tried very hard to get Anne to fall in love with him. While she ultimately felt the same way, she did not let that stop the plans that she had for herself. At sixteen, Anne went off to earn a teaching license, along with Gilbert and several other students. She obtained her license in one year instead of the usual two and won a scholarship for the top student in English. Their love blossomed, and though sacrifices were made over the years, Gilbert knew Anne was a determined woman, and he supported her endeavors.
3. She wasn’t perfect, but she was normal
Anne may have complained about her red hair as a child, but it’s what set her apart. Likewise, she came from an unconventional upbringing but she made the best of her situation. I love that Anne was “flawed.” Back then, it made me feel that being average was ok. Today, it reminds me that sometimes the best life stories don’t happen because of outside factors that define our lives. It’s the character herself who makes her own happy ending and brings her story alive.
Photo credit: FocusFeatures.com.
- Why I wish I was more like Anne of Green Gables… (dbtjourney.wordpress.com)
- L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables (classicsjournal.wordpress.com)
- Book Review – Anne of Green Gables (Lucy Maud Montgomery) (expertspages.com)