It was such a pleasure to sit and re-read this classic about girlhood innocence and imagination! I’ve been a Green Gables fan for many, many years and I’m looking forward to going through the series again :).
SPOILER ALERT: My comments do contain spoilers! You have been warned ;).
This is such a feel-good story! Anne’s adventures and mishaps, her intense joys and harrowing sorrows endear her to her readers. While I love the movies, (I’m always up for a marathon!) the books definitely have a different charm that just cannot be captured on screen. It’s definitely a different experience when you read the story for yourself!
I love Anne’s unfiltered love of life. She hasn’t let her difficult childhood rob her of the innocent joys of youth. Although, it has intensified her dependence on all things imaginary so much so that her grasp on reality leaves much to be desired. Nevertheless, she’s a sweet child who loves deeply and truly appreciates the simple and beautiful. Just reading the book makes me think of bright, spring mornings or fiery red, autumn afternoons. Fresh air, sunshine! *deep breath* That’s how ‘scope for the imagination’ feels!
“Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive–it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for the imagination then, would there?”
Her knack for getting herself into mischief that keeps Marilla on her toes and Matthew in constant amusement. After a myriad of mishaps, tantrums, misunderstandings, and misadventures, Anne’s outlook on life is all positive.
“Marilla, isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
“I’ll warrant you’ll make plenty in it,” said Marilla. “I never saw your beat for making mistakes, Anne.”
“Yes, and well I know it,” admitted Anne mournfully. “But have you ever noticed one encouraging thing about me, Marilla? I never make the same mistake twice.”
“I don’t know as that’s much benefit when you’re always making new ones.”
“Oh don’t you see, Marilla? There must be a limit to the mistakes one person can make, and when I get to the end of them, then I’ll be through with them. That’s a very comforting thought.”
Okay, so she still had a ways to go at this time, but she does learn from her mistakes and her her inflated imagination does mellow a bit with age.
I think Marilla is one of the more complex character in the story. She doesn’t like to express emotions; she doesn’t know how to half the time. However, it cannot be denied that she loves Anne deeply. And it’s her intense love for her that keeps her strict, much to Anne’s frustration when she can’t dress like her the other girls. But I think that’s exactly what Anne needed because, in the end, she turns out pretty well.
I love Anne and Diana’s friendship. Having a bosom-friend of my own, I can totally relate to the bond these two girls share. And in true Anne fashion, her feelings run deep.
“I love Diana so, Marilla. I cannot ever live without her. But I know very well when we grow up that Diana will get married and go away and leave me. And oh, what shall I do? I hate her husband–I just hate him furiously. I’ve been imagining it all out–the wedding and everything–Diana dressed in snowy garments, with a veil, and looking as beautiful and regal as a queen; and me the bridesmaid, with a lovely dress too, and puffed sleeves, but with a breaking heart hid beneath my smiling face. And then bidding Diana good-bye-e-e–” Here Anne broke down entirely and wept with increasing bitterness.”
Poor thing! I laughed so hard at that! I thought it was so precious and so true!
While Anne’s bosom-friendship with Diana Barry is beautiful and life-long, it’s her relationship with Gilbert Blythe that develops the most throughout the entire series, and if you read my answer to April’s Classics Club Meme Question, you’ll know that I’m a huge Gil Blythe fan. Thus, I will probably be commenting heavily on the development of their relationship throughout the series, just so you know!
You can’t help feeling sorry for the Gilbert. The poor guy makes one mistake and get’s a 5-year cold shoulder. Anne refuses to speak to him or about him and even forbids Diana to ever speak his name in her presence!
“Once, when nobody was looking, Gilbert took from his desk a little pink candy heart with a gold motto on it, “You are sweet,” and slipped it under the curve of Anne’s arm. Whereupon Anne arose, took the pink heart gingerly between the tips of her fingers, dropped it on the floor, ground is to powder beneath her heel, and resumed her position without deigning to bestow a glance on Gilbert.”
Oh, Anne, Anne, Anne! You know how when you read a book or watch a movie and you want to tell the heroine “What’s your problem? He’s such a great guy!”? That’s how I feel when Anne continually snubs Gilbert. But then I have to remind myself that they’re only kids and not to get ahead of the story! It’s only after the Lily Maid fiasco that Anne finds herself feelings toward her arch rival beginning to change…
“[Anne] could not help thinking, too, that it would be very pleasant to have such a friend as Gilbert to jest and chatter with and exchange ideas about books and studies and ambitions. Gilbert had ambitions, she knew…she thought that if Gilbert had ever walked home with her from the train, over the crisp fields and along the ferny byways, they might have had many and merry and interesting conversations about the new world that was opening around them and their hopes and ambitions therein. Gilbert was a clever young fellow, with his own thoughts about things and a determination to get the best out of lie and put the best into it.”
And by the end of the book, she’s ready to swallow her pride, apologize, and gratefully accept Gilbert’s incredible generosity. And Gilbert, relieved, tells her what she already knew.
“We are going to be the best of friends,” said Gilbert, jubilantly. “We were born to be good friends, Anne. You’ve thwarted destiny long enough. I know we can help each other in may ways.”
And last but certainly not least, let’s not forget Matthew!! Talk about a total sweetheart! You just want to love him! He’s the perfect father figure for Anne with his patience and understanding and unselfish desire to make her happy in anyway he can. I wish his story didn’t end in the first book. He should have lived to see the success that Anne became. But then again, he always knew she would make something wonderful of herself. He understood Anne and balanced Marilla’s strict, tough love with a quiet tenderness that Anne cherished and never, ever forgot.
“Don’t give up all your romance, Anne,” he whispered shyly, “a little of it is a good thing–not too much, of course–but keep a little of it, Anne, keep a little of it.”
I cannot wait to read Anne of Avonlea next :).