Anne of Green Gables

October 17, 2007 at 4:33 am (Anne Shirley)

The coming of age novel Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery is a Canadian classic. It was written in 1908 and was first published in the United States and in Great Britain.

Plot

Anne, the main character of the novel, is an eleven year old orphan who gets adopted by Marilla and Mathew Cuthberts, two middle-aged siblings, who actually wanted to adopt a boy from the asylum in Nova Scotia to help them with their work on their farm. anne-of-green-gables_cover.jpg But as there were some misunderstandings, little Anne Shirley is waiting at the train station to be taken to her new home. Finally, the Cuthberts decide to accept little Anne.

Anne is a skinny girl with very red hair and freckles in her face. Although she is eager to please, she is dissatisfied with her name and her outward appearance. She hates her red braids and her freckles in the face.  Anne is simply not like the other girls at the age of eleven. She is a very special girl with an enormous imagination who takes much joy in life. She loves her new home called Green Gables, which is situated on Prince Edward Island in Canada.

After describing how Anne tries to adapt to her new home and her new family, her education and her friends Diana Barry, Jane Andrews, Ruby Gillis and her not-yet friend Gilbert Blythe play major parts in the story as well. Anne hates Gilbert Blythe, because he has teased her about her red hair. Anne is very sensitive when it comes to her hair and from that time on she simply detests him even though he tries to apologise several times. Even when Anne realizes that she doesn’t hate him anymore, she simply doesn’t admit that and lets everybody in the belief that she cannot stand Gilbert.

The book also deals with the many adventures Anne has with her friends and on her own. The adventures are not always positive, because Anne makes a lot of mistakes during her way growing up: She dyes her hair green and even makes her best friend Diana drunk.

The last chapters of the novel deal with Anne and her friends Ruby, Josie, Jane and also Gilbert going on to Queen’s Academy. There Anne gets her teaching license in one year and even wins the Avery Prize in English. This prize would make it possible for Anne to pursue a degree at Redmond College.

Unfortunately, Matthew dies towards the end of the story, Marilla’s eyesight gets worse, and so Anne decides to refuse the Avery Prize to stay at home with Marilla. Instead of going to college, she wants to teach in the near of her hometown. Gilbert, who actually has been nominated to teach at Avonlea School, refuses to work there, because he wants Anne get the job. When not teaching at school, Anne can stay with Marilla and support her on the farm. This is start of a very close friendship between Gilbert and Anne Shirley. 

Why I loved Anne of Green Gables

I really loved reading the novel Anne of Green Gables, because I was so fascinated by the character of Anne Shirley. annegreengables_cuthbert.jpgShe is a girl who takes so much pleasure in small things in her life, even though she had a hard life before she came to Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert. Her mum and dad died when Anne was only three months old. Anne then lived with Mrs. Thomas and her drunken husband for eight years and had to look after the four kids of the couple. One day Mr. Thomas died when falling under a train and his mother offered to take Mrs. Thomas and her children. But she did not want to take Anne, and so Anne was taken by another woman called Mrs. Hammond. Mrs. Hammond took Anne, because she was “handy with children” (Montgomery 40). Again Anne had to look after eight children. After two years Mr. Hammond died, and Mrs. Hammond divided all her children among her relatives. She didn’t want to care for her kids anymore. But no one took Anne, and so she had to go to an asylum. But there they didn’t accept her either, because they were overcrowded. Finally, she went to Mrs. Spencer, who then sent her to the Cuthburts.

This story of her childhood really made me sad. It has to be awful for kids not being accepted and loved by their family. But even though Anne had to have a very hard, poor and bad childhood till she came to the Cuthburts, she is a girl that takes so much joy in life. Even the smallest things make her happy.  When Marilla rides with Anne to Mrs. Spencer to give Anne back (sounds like a present that you want to return), Anne says, “I’ve made up my mind to enjoy this drive. It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly. I’m not going to think about going back to the asylum while we’re having our drive. I’m just going to think about the drive. Oh, look, there’s one little early wild rose out! Isn’t it lovely? Don’t you think it must be glad to be a rose? […]” (Montgomery 37).

Even though I had a very good childhood, I could relate to Anne and her feelings when no one loved her. As I could feel with her and relate to a lot of things she said and did, the book really appealed to me.

Anne is such a joyful character. She gives readers, who are maybe coping with problems and struggling with life, hope. She is able to make readers feel positive and confident again. Anne has certainly become a role model for many girls who just want to be like Anne Shirley.

But not only did I feel with Anne, I could also a little bit identify with Marilla. In the beginning she was quite harsh to Anne and never showed or told her that she loved her. I kind of hated her behavior. I often thought, “Come on Marilla, tell Anne that you love her. She is only eleven. Children make mistakes, need to be punished, but also need to be told that they are loved.” Therefore I really liked Matthew who could more easily show that he liked and adored Anne. Only towards the end of the book after Matthew has died, Marilla tells Anne that she loves her.

“We’ve got each other, Anne. I don’t know what I’d do if you weren’t here-if you’d never come. Oh, Anne, I know I’ve been kind of strict and harsh with you maybe-but you mustn’t think I didn’t love you as well as Matthew did, for all that. I want to tell you now when I can. It’s never been easy for me to say things out of my heart, but at times like this it’s easier. I love you as dear as if you were my own flesh and blood and you’ve been my joy and comfort ever since you came to Green Gables.” (Montgomery 296)

This sentence really touched me and I felt much more sympathetic to Marilla after her statement.

The topics that were covered in the book really appealed to me since I’m a very emotional person. Family life, childhood, girlhood, friendships and communities exactly meet the needs I’m searching in books.

I can just recommend: Read Anne of Green Gables and you become a more satisfied person again and will take more joy in your life.

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