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!


Lisa said...

I bought a copy of Green Gables at the book sale tonight, since the one Emily had been reading was old and started falling apart. Hopefully I can catch up!

Sherry said...

I love the quotes you posted! I really enjoyed this book and Avonlea. Can't wait to read the rest to see how Anne & Gilbert turn out! I watched the movies many times growing up and I have always loved Gilbert Blythe. I used to pray that God when send me my own Gilbert!! And He did!