Anne of Green Gables

Anne Shirley, the red-headed trail blazer of Avonlea, transforms the definition of a woman through her breakaway from dormant tradition as she assumes her strength and cleverness and uses it to educate, empower and love others. Entering Avonlea as a stranger, Anne did not know what to expect. She so desperately wants to find a place called home. In the face of opposition, Anne is able to stand up for herself and defend her beliefs with her tenacity and quick tongue. As a result, the heroine steps away from the “damsel in distress” stereotype and saves herself by forging her own path. Anne brings a new definition to suffering with integrity as she transform her burdens(being orphaned, losing Matthew) into something beautiful by showcasing her capacity for compassion. Anne consciously separates herself from the mundane societal routine by fighting for her liberation and feminine identity.

Anne is different from all the other girls in the town of Avonlea, and not just because she is an orphan from out of town. Anne is adopted by Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, who originally hoped to adopt a boy. However, Anne’s adoption works to their benefit as they eventually grow to love her like a daughter. Anne is skinny, freckled and has hair that can only be described as “decidedly red”. Anne is extremely self-conscious of her features and insists that her appearance is an impediment to her identity. Anne’s features and intellect triumph her insecurities since it distinguishes her as “carrots” instead of just another girl at Avonlea; her use in the community is mainly defined by her able intellect. Anne is still growing into her feminine identity and learning to curb her outspoken awkwardness and intense emotions- this is something many of us ladies can empathize with.

Anne always gets into trouble because of her outspoken imagination and opinions. She is easily distracted and prone to letting her imagination lead her astray and is frequently in a fantasy land where Arthurian legends still hold true. Anne has a dynamic mind – overactive and possessing a strong taste for the romantic. Anne is precocious, smart, kind and observant; she has a vision of the kind of woman she wants to be, but she does not always live up to that ideal. She craves for knowledge and pursues it to all lengths; this craving drives her to study to her full potential because she is determined to know all that she can about the world.  Anne uses her intellect to progress and create a sense of home by establishing her identity within Avonlea. She accomplishes this task by engraving her spirit and imagination among the community’s people and environment. Montgomery depicts this sentiment when Anne talks about the “sea…—all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen”, and further comments that she couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if she “had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds”.  This thought process represents her attachment to the charm of Avonlea and her understanding of where her heart lies, which is with Marilla, and where her happiness lies, with Green Gables.

Anne perceives others’ suffering and actively does her best to offer herself to relieve her loved ones’ suffering. This is portrayed by her resourceful thinking when she saves Diana’s sister, Minnie May, from the croup and takes care of Marilla when Matthew dies. Anne harnesses her imagination and creativity to relate to others’ sorrows. This illustrates her growth as a modern woman who can be intellectually superior to her class mates and also have goodness of heart. Anne displays noble love and bravery when the tragedy of Matthew’s death forces Marilla and Anne to confront their dependency and abiding love for each other. Anne heroically sacrifices her spot in university to stay with Marilla and take care of Green Gables. Anne demonstrates her selflessness with optimism when she says that when she “left Queen’s”, her “future seemed to stretch out before” her “like a straight road” but “now there is a bend in it” (Montgomery 299). She continues to say that she does not “know what lies around the bend”, but she is “going to believe that the best does” (299).

Anne is torn between desires to defy the expectations of Avonlea and conform to society’s norms. She wants to partly emulate the ideal of femininity so that she might belong since the conventional Avonlea does not encourage distinctiveness. In desperate attempts to make sense of a new place, Anne gives her heart to her loved ones to vindicate her desire for community and requited love. Anne believes that “a bosom friend” and “kindred spirit” who she “can confide” her “inmost soul” to will complete the void in her life. Anne sees this potential in Diana Barry and their friendship is based on a great bond of sisterhood. Anne’s friendships extend to her encounters with guys. Gil woos Anne through emphasizing her distinct features by teasing her when he calls her “carrots” (nice going, Gil). This scheme is meant to draw her attention to her uniqueness but her vanity provokes her to resent him throughout the novel instead with her slate smashed over his head to show for it.

Anne’s passion drives her to beat Gil at everything while Gil is the calm, patient counterpart. He waits until she is ready to be friends and offers the school in Avonlea to Anne so that she may stay close to Marilla. While Gil gives of his own achievement and sacrifices the school, he acts chivalrously in order that his relationship with Anne may mend. Anne has the ball in her court and can choose if she wants to court Gil or not – her ability to let him pursue her serves her well as she does not swoon over him but focuses on her passions and dreams. Anne is set apart for her passion and impulse when it comes to love and her spirit is contagious.

As Anne loses her youth and grows up into a young woman, she struggles with feelings of inadequacy, and vanity. Anne struggles with her looks and is constantly persecuted for her “freckled and redheaded” appearance, but must forego her vanity and cope with it. She impulsively loses her temper through the novel, only to apologize for it shortly after the mishap. Anne’s confrontation with the opinionated Rachel Lynde is pretty priceless when she calls Rachel a “fat” and “unfeeling woman”. Anne must reluctantly apologize six times and these ritual acts of penance humble her and help her rebuke her pride- (she becomes a master of apologies, we can learn a thing or two from her self-deprecating and poetic strategy!)

Anne wishes to be named Cordelia and have raven curls like Diana.  She emphasises the “e” in her name since it is much more romantic than plain Ann. Anne is being socialized to embrace chatting about gossip, recipes and other people’s business. However, Anne rebukes this and is still herself– unpredictable, full of zeal and captivating to all who meet her. Her vanity and pride are her main flaws since Anne’s naive view of her body results in her belief that if she is beautiful, her life would be full of happiness. Her hair colour is her main impediment according to herself. She unintentionally dyes her hair green in an attempt to turn her red tresses into “a beautiful raven black” and retrieve her wounded vanity.

She bases her value on her looks: she wishes to look more like the others by wearing dresses with puffed sleeves and have auburn hair. The only feature she likes of her body is her “remarkably pretty” nose. Even though she can be insecure, Anne looks beyond the conventional roles of women and dives into a world where she can affect change with her imagination and spirit for acquiring knowledge. Her metamorphosis into a valiant, imaginative, imperfect, loved young woman shows that she is gifted with unconditional love, not just for the man she eventually loves, but for her friends, her family, and for the pursuit of knowledge. We, like Marilla, sees her thrive in her femininity as she has “pruned” down from her “queer” ways and “branched out” to make friends, excel in her academics, and fall in love.

In conclusion, Anne lets go of her youthful romanticism and prepares to embark on the passage of becoming grown-up and serves as a good candidate for a noble heroine. Anne drastically changes what it means to be a woman through her braveness and courage. Anne serves as a role model to other women through her intelligence, wittiness, and ability to suffer with honour. We can identify with Anne as we are able to relate to her awkwardness, her imagination and her melodramatic trains of thought. Anne is a modern heroine for this time and age as she distinctively promotes ambition, intelligence and compassion as beautiful attributes that build up strong women. So let us be kindred spirits, stay close to our bosom friends, keep Gil at a distance but make sure he can save you from drowning if need be, ace our school subjects and try to stay out of trouble