Friday, 18 September 2009

Puffed Sleeves, Anyone?

We are reading through Anne of Green Gables as a family after dinner some evenings, and I have already provided some choice quotes on those in Christian ministry. That post sparked quite some hilarity from my fellow Ministry Wife from Perth, Meredith.

The condemnation for a minister's wife who has Puffed Sleeves (horror of horrors!) is funnier when you realise that in a recent chapter, Matthew goes to Mrs Lynde and organises for Anne to receive a new dress for Christmas, that has puffed sleeves, to Marilla's dismay. Matthew had observed Anne with her friends and noticed something was different, and then set out to rectify the situation, despite his agreement with Marilla that she was to be solely responsible for the raising of Anne.

Earlier in the novel, when Marilla and Anne were discussing Marilla's choice of clothes for Anne, the matter of puffed sleeves had come up as well. Marilla expressed disapproval. Anne responds, in one of the quotes I have in my blog's RHS column at the moment.

"But I'd rather look ridiculous when everybody else does than plain and sensible all by myself," persisted Anne mournfully.

Fortunately, I must say, Anne's opinions of the necessity of beauty are somewhat tempered the events of the novel. Of far more aggravation than any issue of Puffed Sleeves is the dire situation of Anne's red hair which shows no signs of darkening to auburn. (Sorry if this is getting too personal, Amy.) So Anne industriously purchases some hair dye from a travelling salesman, but it doesn't turn her hair the guaranteed "raven black".

"I thought nothing could be as bad as red hair. But now I know it's ten times worse to have green hair."

"I mean to devote all my energies to being good after this and I shall never try to be beautiful again. Of course it's better to be good. I know it is, but it's sometimes so hard to believe a thing even when you know it."


Mrs. Edwards said...

After reading the last Anne post you made, I re-read my old copy of Anne of Green Gables--the one I've had since I was eight or nine. You can see why this book is probably the one I've re-read the most in my life!

Mrs. Edwards said...

One more thing...
It seems that Anne is in many ways timeless, and yet, I can't imagine such a charming story in contemporary times. Why is that? It just seems even the modern children's books in top form, such as The Penderwicks, can't quite rival the wisdom and wit of Anne. It is just my romantic notions of history? Probably. My girls love the Penderwicks, but they love Anne too, and will love her even more when they are old enough to appreciate half of the wit rather than just a quarter of it! They'll have to wait for the full impact to settle in when they read it to their own children, as you are now!