Anne Inspiring Heroine

Posted: November 13, 2010

Popular and articulate parenting blogger Starry won second prize at the Women’s Web My Favourite Female Contest with this entry. She blogs at Things do not change…until we change.

MFFcontestbadgefinal.jpgThe first character I recalled when I saw the Women s Web Favourite Females contest announcement was Anne Shirley/Blythe. Hmm , I thought. That s a children s series, and there s nothing extraordinary about Anne . Nevertheless, she s my first favourite female character. The series of 8 books starts with Anne of Green Gables and now also a prequel that I d reviewed here. An elderly brother and sister in Avonlea, Prince Edward Island, 19th century Canada adopt a feisty carrot-haired eleven year old and there begins the tale of Anne Shirley s life all the way to when she s a mother of six grown-up children. So what is it that s inspiring to me about Anne? 

She s a dreamer. She builds wistful castles in Spain, and spins fantasies and tales in the unlikeliest of situations and using commonplace people. When she reads, she lives the characters in the books.

She imagines. She changes realities she doesn t like, whether it s the nose on someone s face, or the face of her Prince Charming. She tells one of her twin daughters in Anne of Ingleside that often a flight of imagination has helped her solve problems and escape from harsh reality. But she advises her to harness her imagination, not allow it to control her, as had happened in the child s fantasies.

She walks in an atmosphere of things about to happen . For Anne, life is full of possibilities. You never know what delight is just around her next corner. Gloominess and contrariness are foreign to her nature.
She s fun. Anne is not a glorified heroine. Impetuous and harum-scarum, she gets into exasperating tangles even as a grown-up, she match-makes with hilarious results and lands in uncommon  adventures.
She brings up her kids scientific-like . I think that was LM Montgomery s metaphor for what we modern-day parents call conscious parenting.
She was a teacher. We all love teachers like her, young-at-heart, idealistic and loving.
She loses a baby. It broke her heart and something in her eyes and smile had never been there before she lost little Joyce and would never be missing from it again . I know the feeling. And though she has six more children, she always mentally corrects anyone who states she has six children, Seven .
She is romantic. And romance is not just about crushes and boyfriends (beaux), it s in the air around Anne, the sunsets, the scenic beauty of PEI and the grand mysteries and possibilities in life that she never takes for granted.
She was adopted. Reading about her as an eleven year old myself, maybe that s where the idea of adoption first entered my consciousness. Adoption is portrayed positively and realistically, albeit in a different cultural context and era. The part in Anne of the Island where she visits her birth parents lil yellow cottage is beautiful.
She feels intensely. That makes her real. She struggles with apologies, forgiveness, rejection, love, indifference, unfairness and emerges a better person.
Is Anne s story relevant in this era? I d like to think so. Have you read this series?

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