Monday, 12 October 2009

Anne of Green Gables

We are finally finished reading Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. It only took us six months!

Joshua said the first time we read from the novel, "She talks a lot!" Throughout the book, we found that Anne, and the other characters, had much of interest to say. It was a beautiful book for gently and humorously teaching many practical and moral lessons. It also provided fodder for a variety of discussions. It was easy to speak of the folly of doing what your friends "dare" you to do, when we remembered together what had happened to poor Anne in the incident where "Anne Comes to Grief In an Affair of Honour", requiring seven weeks of recovery in bed.

Here's a selection of my favourite quotes from the book:

"You'd find it easier to be bad than good if you had red hair," Anne said reproachfully. "People who haven't red hair don't know what trouble is." ...

"It gives you a lovely, comfortable feeling to apologize and be forgiven, doesn't it? " ...

"Saying one's prayers isn't exactly the same thing as praying." ...

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

"Oh, Marilla," exclaimed Anne... "Five minutes ago I was so miserable I was wishing I'd never been born and now I wouldn't change places with an angel!" ...

"Marilla, I do not think she is a well-bred woman. There is nothing more to do except to pray and I haven't much hope that that'll do much good because, Marilla, I do not believe that God Himself can do very much with such an obstinate person as Mrs Barry." ...

"Ten minutes isn't very long to say an eternal farewell in," said Anne tearfully." ...

"I'll try to be a model pupil," agreed Anne dolefully. "There won't be much fun in it, I expect. Mr Phillips said Minnie Andrews was a model pupil and there isn't a spark of imagination or life in her." ...

The rivalry between them was soon apparent; it was entirely good-natured on Gilbert's side; but it is much to be feared that the same thing cannot be said of Anne, who had certainly an unpraiseworthy tenacity for holding grudges. ...

Mr Phillips might not be a very good teacher; but a pupil so inflexibly determined on learning as Anne was could hardly escape making progress under any kind of a teacher. ... In geometry Anne met her Waterloo.
"It's perfectly awful stuff, Marilla," she groaned. ... "There is no scope for imagination in it at all." ...

"I'm so glad Mrs Hammond had three pairs of twins after all. If she hadn't I mightn't have known what to do for Minnie May. I'm real sorry I was ever cross with Mrs Hammond for having twins." ...

"I assure you, Marilla, that I feel like praying to-night and I'm going to think out a special brand-new prayer in honour of the occasion." ...

"Mrs Lynde says that sound doctrine in the man and good housekeeping in the woman make an ideal combination for a minister's family."

"I'm afraid concerts spoil people for everyday life. I suppose that is why Marilla disapproves of them. Marilla is such a sensible woman. It must be a great deal better to be sensible; but still, I don't believe I'd really want to be a sensible person, because they are so unromantic. Mrs Lynde says there is no danger of my ever being one, but you can never tell. I feel just now that I may grow up to be sensible yet. But perhaps that is only because I'm tired." ...

"Just think, Diana, I'm thirteen years old today," remarked Anne in an awed voice. "...In two more years I'll be really grown up. It's a great comfort to think that I'll be able to use big words then without being laughed at." ...

"Mrs Allan says we should never make uncharitable speeches; but they do slip out so often before you think, don't they? I simply can't talk about Josie Pye without making an uncharitable speech, so I never mention her at all. You may have noticed that."...

"Diana, even ministers are human and have their besetting sins like everybody else." ...

"I've found out what an alabaster brow is. That is one of the advantages of being thirteen. You know so much more than you did when you were only twelve." ...

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

"It makes you feel very virtuous when you forgive people, doesn't it?" ...

"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."

"I'm just dazzled inside," said Anne. I want to say a hundred things, and I can't find words to say them in. ... I'm not vain, but I'm thankful."

"We are rich," said Anne staunchly. "Why, we have sixteen years to our credit, and we're happy as queens, and we've all got imaginations, more or less. Look at that sea, girls - all silver and shallow and vision of things not seen. We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds. You wouldn't change into any of those women if you could. Would you want to be that white-lace girl and wear a sour look all your life, as if you'd been born turning up your nose at the world? Or the pink lady, kind and nice as she is, so stout and short that you'd really no figure at all? Or even Mrs Evans, with that sad, sad look in her eyes? She must have been dreadfully unhappy some time to have such a look. ... I don't want to be anyone but myself, even if I go uncomforted by diamonds all my life," declared Anne. "I'm quite content to be Anne of Green Gables, with my string of pearl beads. I know Matthew gave me as much love with them as ever went with Madame the Pink Lady's jewels."

"Oh, it's delightful to have ambitions. I'm so glad to have such a lot. And there never seems to be an end to them - that's the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting."


As Marilla said to Matthew:
"That child is hard to understand in some respects. But I believe she'll turn out all right yet. And there's one thing certain, no house will ever be dull that she's in."

Towards the end of the novel, there is the following intimate exchange between Anne and her adoptive father, Matthew. It illustrates the love of a family beautifully.
"You've been working too hard to-day, Matthew," she said reproachfully. "Why won't you take things easier?"
"Well now, I can't seem to," said Matthew, as he opened the yard gate to let the cows through. "It's only that I'm getting old, Anne, and keep forgetting it. Well, well, I've always worked pretty hard and I'd rather drop in harness."
"If I'd been thr boy you sent for," said Anne wistfully, "I'd be able to help you so much now and spare you in a hundred ways. I could find it in my heart to wish I had been, just for that."
"Well now, I'd rather have you than a dozen boys, Anne," said Matthew patting her hand. "Just mind you that - rather than a dozen boys."

2 comments:

mom24 said...

My favorite series of all...EVER! My hubby and I took our honeymoon to PEI just to see Green Gables. It was sooooo lovely there and I can see Mongomery could develop such a lovely tale in such a place.

I plan to read through it with my kids too. Anne (with an E!) is just wonderful....

Mrs. Edwards said...

Andrea, that's lovely that you honeymooned in PEI! I wish I'd thought of it!

Sharon,
As you know I'm a longtime Anne fan, but I've really enjoyed remembering the story as you've blogged about it. In fact, after you posted about the new minister I was compelled to pick up my copy of the book--the same one I read over and over as a kid--and skim over it, slowing down for all my favorite parts!

Amy