We’re drawn into the world of Avonlea by Mrs. Rachel Lynde, very appropriate as she’s the local busybody who so efficiently runs her household and the community events, she still finds time to meddle in everyone else’s business. She’s amazed when she learns Marilla and her brother Matthew Cuthbert are adopting an orphan boy to help out with the farm and raise. Marilla is so sensible and Matthew so shy that a child at Green Gables just seems out of place. They’re all in for a surprise when instead of a boy they meet red-haired Anne Shirley.
Matthew takes to her right away, charmed by her expression, she loves to talk and that puts him at perfect ease. He senses her sensitive soul and despite all her wonder and appreciation for things feels she’s not been taken care of nor loved. Marilla is bewildered by Anne’s romantic notions but soon their lives would be unimaginable without her.
Anne is such a wonderful heroine because she’s always getting into scrapes and making mistakes but instead of being frustrated or letting them jade her she comes out smiling with a positive attitude and learns from them. Her optimism and enjoyment of life shine off the page. She’s taken the very real struggles in her early life and used them to foster an imagination and appreciation for nature. Where others may only see Barry’s Pond, thrilled by it’s beauty, she sees the Lake of Shinning Waters. Sometimes she crosses into the boundaries of her imagination so far that she forgets to put flour in the cake she’s trying to bake or frightens herself out of her wits in the Haunted Woods.
Peel back the layers of the ‘flowery’ prose and fancy and underneath is a novel that inspires activity, determination, and community involvement. Anne is driven by a desire to make others proud of her, particularly at school. Her ambitions aren’t what define her, she’s flexible and alters them based on her circumstances and opportunities. She takes setbacks as bends in the road. Perhaps one reason I feel to akin to Montgomery’s works is because in each is a deep love for home. In the end it’s her home and family that matter most to Anne and there’s that warm glow of her message of ceaseless hope.
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 know all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?
There’s such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I’m such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn’t be half so interesting.
Oh, Marilla, looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them… You mayn’t get the things themselves; but nothing can prevent you from having the fun of looking forward to them. Mrs. Lynde says, ‘Blessed are they who expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed.’ But I think it would be worse to expect nothing than to be disappointed.