Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Character Spotlight: Anne Shirley

Anne Shirley
Anne of Green Gables
L.M. Montgomery

I fell in love with Anne Shirley when I was in the 4th or 5th grade.  I hate to admit this, but I originally
discovered her through the movie, watching it over and over again before paying attention to the fact that it was based on books.  Books?  Why didn't anyone tell me?  I remember being so excited to find out that I could read about Anne, because I already knew that the book is always better than the movie.  If I liked the movie this much, how much was I going to love the book?  Then, I found out that there was more than one book!  More than one!  

Anne Shirley became even more real to me when I read the books.  Her laughter and her imagination stole into my heart and created a kindred spirit in me.  She is and always will be my favorite character of all time.  

Anne Shirley is a young girl with an active mind.  She's intelligent, creative, proud, and determined.  She has high expectation for herself and for the world around her, creating lofty ideals that sometimes have to be reigned in by family and friends, other kindred spirits.   One of my favorite moments of Anne is after she has smashed her board over Gilbert Blythe's head because her called her carrots.  I remember the indignation she felt and the complete horror and humiliation at being called such a terrible and awful name.  Then Gilbert tries to apologize, but Anne will have nothing of it, even after Diana's pleading.  This is where I fell in love with her.  Even now, as an adult, when I can see how irrational she is, I love her commitment.  Because Anne never did anything halfway.  It was always all the way.  Whether she was trying to be number one in her classes, or trying to change her looks by dying her hair or bleaching her freckles, Anne took it all on.  

As a child, I was the opposite of Anne.  I was probably more of a Diana.  Quiet, afraid to rock the boat, concerned with doing what was right, I fit much more into Diana's character than Anne.  Anne allowed me to be more outgoing.  She encouraged me to dream, to be silly, to have aspirations that were somewhat ridiculous, but beautiful still.  Anne brought me to writing and allowed me to sink even more into the world of books.  It is because of her that I decided to write and to earn a degree in writing.  I even credit her a little bit with my decision to become a teacher, although this decision was made later in life, after I had already earned my undergrad degree.  

Here are a few quotes from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery:

  • "That's the worst of growing up, and I'm beginning to realize it. The things you wanted so much when you were a child don't seem half so wonderful to you when you get them."
  • "But really, Marilla, one can't stay sad very long in such an interesting world, can one?"
  • "Kindred spirits are not scarce as I used to think.  It's splendid to find out there are so many in the world."

Were you influenced by Anne Shirley in any way?

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