Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Anne of Green Gables Flashbacks

"I saw myself in a long skirt and a high-necked lace blouse with my hair piled up on my head. I saw Edward looking dashing in a light suit with a bouquet of wildflowers in his hand, sitting beside me on a porch swing.

I shook my head and swallowed. I was just having Anne of Green Gables flashbacks." - Eclipse, p. 277

Therein lies the motivation for reading Anne of Green Gables! It was just a small segment, but in the context of the passage - Edward and Bella discussing why Bella was having such a hard time accepting Edward's requirement of marriage before he would change her to a vampire - it was vitally important to me to understand what she meant!

What prompted Bella's Green Gables Flashback was Edward explaining to her that he was "that boy". In the time he was living in before he was changed, he was considered a man. He told Bella that if he had found her then, he would have "gotten down on one knee and endeavored to secure your hand. I would have wanted you for eternity, even when the word didn't have quite the same connotations." (p. 277)

It still boggles my mind that she was so against the idea of marrying him. ::shaking head:: What is WRONG with her?? Even if I had been totally opposed to it before, after that little explanation, I'm quite certain I would have changed my mind! ;)

Later when Alice shows Bella the wedding dress she has had made for her, Bella thinks, "It was my Anne of Green Gables vision all over again." (Eclipse, p. 614). Of course, now that I've read Anne, I can't help but picture Bella's wedding dress as having "puffed sleeves"! LOL I'm sort of hoping that's not the case! ;)

So, is Edward Cullen really a Gilbert Blythe?? I have a hard time picturing Edward ever pulling a girl's hair and calling her names! But maybe he did when he was young and human!? I guess as I read more about Gilbert and get to know him better, I'll be able to compare them! LOL

Monday, January 12, 2009

My thoughts on Anne of Green Gables

Be forewarned, this post will contain an obscene number of exclamation points! See? There's one already. ;)

I absolutely adored this book! I wonder how this book managed to slip past me when I was a young girl? I read and re-read the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Why did I never find Anne Shirley? I certainly missed out on quite a bit!

From the very beginning descriptions of Anne's dramatic behavior and her tendency to slip into daydreams, I compared her to my older daughter, Riley who is almost 10 years old. As I was reading, I would smile and say, "Yep, I could see Riley doing that!" But over the course of the book, I began to see more of myself in Anne. I will have to ask my mother if I was dramatic as a child, because I don't remember being that dramatic. I do know that as an adult, I completely identify with a quote that Marilla said of Anne in Chapter 22, "...the pleasures and pains of life came to her with trebled intensity." When I'm happy and feeling positive, there's no stopping me. When I'm sad and deflated, it's as if nothing will ever be right in the world again. I'm working on moderating those reactions a bit, but it's pretty difficult!

Immediately I liked Matthew, because of the way he responded to Anne. But I was unsure of Marilla until Chapter 7. This is the chapter where Marilla tells Anne to say her prayers, but Anne tells her she's never said one. Marilla rightly acknowledges that Anne is , "... this freckled witch of a girl who knew and cared nothing about God's love, since she had never had it translated to her through the medium of human love." Instead of being hateful to Anne and disgusted at her lack of concern about praying and about God, she understood that it was only because of the neglect and maltreatment she had received in her upbringing to that point. Right then and there, I loved Marilla!

It seemed to me throughout the story, that Marilla and Anne were "kindred spirits" in a way. A number of times through the book, Marilla understands Anne's reactions because she herself had felt that way when she was a girl. Though their personalities were expressed very differently, I think they are similar people at the heart.

I was glad when Matthew bought Anne a dress with puffed sleeves, and then when Marilla began to take notice that Anne's clothes were very different from her friends. I know how it feels to have your clothes be "different" at a particular age in your life when it's especially hard to be "different". I'm glad that Matthew helped Marilla see what needed to be done. I think it helped Anne's confidence!

I sobbed long and hard when Matthew died, despite the fact that I saw it coming and was prepared for it ( had it confirmed by friends who either read the book or saw the movie). The sobbing also continued through Marilla finally telling Anne how much she loves her. She then goes on to tell Anne that she and Gilbert's father had been involved, but quarreled and Marilla never forgave him. (More of that kindred spirit thing!) I think that gave Anne the last bit of determination to make up with Gilbert and develop a friendship with him.

I'll close this post with my favorite quote from Anne of Green Gables, from Chapter 36, near the end of the book:

"For we pay a price for everything we get or take in this world; and although ambitions are well worth having, they are not to be cheaply won, but exact their dues of work and self-denial, anxiety, and discouragement."

I picked up the sequel, Anne of Avonlea, yesterday and started reading it. Not for book club! But just because I want to know what Anne does next!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Anne of Green Gables - A Summary

Anne of Green Gables
written by L. M. Montgomery
first published in 1908

Siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert intend to adopt a boy to assist Matthew with the farm work at Green Gables, but a misunderstanding occurs and they are instead presented with a red-headed girl named Anne Shirley. Despite Anne’s temperamental personality and a propensity for getting into trouble with her over-active imagination, the Cuthberts quickly become attached to Anne and decide to keep her. Anne quickly becomes best friends with Diana Barry, and develops an animosity with Gilbert Blythe, whom she competes against in school. Anne grows up, matures, and becomes an excellent student. When she goes away to further her education, she gets accepted into University and is awarded a scholarship. She decides to forego University, however, when she realizes that she is needed on Green Gables. She comes home to Green Gables and agrees to teach at the Avonlea school.

That was by far my easiest summary! I wonder if it was a “third time’s the charm” or if it was because Anne is a simpler book and was much easier to read?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Wuthering Heights and Eclipse

This was my first experience in reading a book knowing that it was "based on" or "inspired by" another book (I'm am going to re-read Twilight later this year looking for Edward as Mr. Darcy). It was also the first time I'd read Eclipse since I'd read Wuthering Heights and was familiar with the storyline and quotes that Edward and Bella talk about.

And it was SO COOL! Ok, so that's not very mature and intelligent sounding, but there's no other way to put it. It's sort of like when people say something about Mr. Darcy, or Pemberley, and I know EXACTLY what they are talking about. It's like being let in on the joke that everyone gets but you.

I had already marked the quotes mentioned in Eclipse when I read through Wuthering Heights, so this time I got to do the reverse. I thought all along that my favorite part would be when Edward quotes WH and tells Bella, "I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!" But I was mistaken.

My absolute favorite part was when Bella wakes up to find Edward reading Wuthering Heights, and he tells her he sympathizes with Heathcliff. The next morning she finds the book opened to the quote where Heathcliff is telling Mrs. Dean that he would never hurt Edgar because of how Catherine feels about him. The quote goes on to say that if her regard for him ceased, he would drink his blood." Oh my goodness, I got chills up my spine when I read it this time! It's hard for me to picture Edward as Heathcliff (because of my specific feelings toward Jacob), but I felt like I got a peek into the side of his nature that Edward works so hard to keep hidden. Unlike Heathcliff, Edward is able to consider Bella's needs before his own, but it's interesting to imagine what might have happened had Bella changed her feelings about Jacob! Hee hee. Oops, sorry for you Team Jacob folks! :)

So, yes, it was totally worth struggling through Wuthering Heights... if nothing more than to finally understand what Bella and Edward are talking about. I do feel that Bella and Catherine are the most alike, in terms of the characters in the books. Neither one of them could choose just one man and live with that decision (despite Bella's assertion that she always stuck by her decisions). I felt like Edward and Jacob could each represent Heathcliff and Edgar at different points.

I will start posting about Anne of Green Gables on Monday (or possibly Sunday, depending on how much I accomplish this weekend). There are Anne references in Eclipse as well! :)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2009!!!

I hope everyone had a safe and happy New Year's Eve! I'm spending New Year's Day reading Eclipse, so tomorrow look for my thoughts on my first time reading through it since I've read Wuthering Heights! I'm very excited!

I'll start posts for Anne of Green Gables on Monday! I finished reading it last weekend, and enjoyed it thoroughly!