I recently re-read Lucy Maud Montgomery’s “Anne of Green Gables.” I first read it when I was twelve, again at 14, then again at 16. I have watched the PBS movie many times since, but it had been twenty-two years since I had read it last. That is a lifetime ago! I have been struggling to find out who I am again after all my children are now in school full-time and there is no children to stay at home with me.
I thought I needed to get a formal education. You can read more about that here. (http://bit.ly/2BS8eWs) However, I have realized you can learn so much from reading and I love this classic book.
A few facts about the book I did not know before, Maud wrote the book while she was looking after her sick grandmother in 1906. It was first published in 1908 by L,C. Page & Company. Maud had published many poems and short stories before but this was her first novel. Maud’s mother passed when she was young (like Anne’s) and her father moved several provinces away. Maud was raised by her maternal grandparents who were very strict and did not have time to show any love or affection on a little girl.
Anne has always appealed to me because she is a dreamer. As a child, I also lived in my own dreamworld. I loved to pick up anything from toothbrushes, markers, or silverware and they suddenly had names, friends, family, and stories. I know that in fifth grade when I didn’t have any friends, my imaginative friends became very important to me. As I read the book in sixth grade through all of my awkwardness as I was trying to figure out who I was, it was comforting to read about a character that was also always making mistakes but learning and growing as I was. I also struggled to find any good friends. I had a few acquaintances at school, but as I entered seventh grade, I became more confident in myself and my ability to make friends. Eventually, I found a “bosom” friend like Anne’s Diana in an amazing girl but that is a story for another time.
As a writer, I admired Montgomery’s writing style. Her descriptions are poetic and her characters are certainly memorable. From the first moment in the book we know who Rachel Lynde is. Montomgery writes
“not even a brook could urn past Mrs. Rachel Lynde’s door without due regard for decency and decorum. She would never rest until she had ferreted out the whys and wherefores if anything was odd or out of place.”
It is descriptive, yet short. The reader knows Rachel Lynde is. I love the word “ferreting” Montgomery uses. I had to look it up. Ferreting is “to drive out of a lurking place as a ferret does the rabbit” or “searching tenaciously for and find something.”
I love the imagery of Rachel Lynde as a ferret trying to dig up any information about the townspeople of Avonlea. Montgomery says Lynde was “capable of managing her affairs and those of others.”
We see shy Matthew Cuthbert leave dressed in his best suit with the sorrel mare and buggy. Rachel says she “won’t get a minute’s peace until she knows” what Matthew is up to. Already we wonder what is Matthew doing and where is he doing?
Rachel must know what is going on so she goes to see Marilla, Matthew’s sister. As she walks down the lane to the Cuthbert’s place set back from the road Montgomery writes, “living in a house away from the road was not living at all for Rachel.”
There are so many wonderful descriptions and characters in “Anne of Green Gables.” I could go on and on, but I think tomorrow I will discuss Marilla and her character arch through the story.
So good-bye my kindred spirits until tomorrow when the sun, the moon, and the stars endure.