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With its beautiful characters, Anne of Green Gables is a book I can still re-read. Bonus? It has some surprising parenting lessons too!
L M Montgomery has penned an absorbing body of imagination to create a character who gives substance, value and meaning to her literature form. A gem of sorts, Anne is an embodiment of imagination. Or maybe the word imagination finds a true meaning when it attaches itself to Anne. Anne with an E, of course! That you won’t forget if you have read this novel because Anne won’t let you.
A simple, ordinary story told with simple characters whom you will cherish for a lifetime. They will outgrow their simplicity and become extraordinary as you flip the pages. Montgomery has given every character a rope wherein the scope of growth is meticulously chalked out.
For example, Marilla, a headstrong woman who doesn’t feel right to let go of her emotion but is strong enough to hold her tongue. That she doesn’t fritter the praises on Anne and transforms into a mellowed woman towards the end of the story.
Rachel, a lady with a pinpoint focus on everyone in the neighbourhood, is quick to make an educated guess on her saying “Marilla has mellowed a bit.” Mathew, a shy, timid and ordinary brother of Marilla has his own way to nurture Anne. However, he doesn’t want to put his oar in and let Marilla chalk out her own course for the child to grow. He gathers his wits and endorses his affection in his own way. When he purchases dresses for Anne, the love sizzles and for once, Marilla given how she is, stops minding about it.
Mathew also grows into being more open and expressive towards the end and sheds his laconic speech and choice of words. Like these characters, Montgomery has made other characters mature with the story. Another example is Rachel who becomes more empathetic and kind towards Anne. And the main protagonist Anne, too, becomes more focused and holds up her flow of imagination so as not to get in scrapes or any turmoil.
Anne has been perused and fruitfully moulded and acts as synonymous with green gables, the most devoured and adored setting in the book. The setting will embark you on a delightful journey. It will transport you to a realm very different from reality. And deep inside you would want to stay in that setting even after you hit the last page.
The old woods, the lush greenery, the hills and the beautiful and innocent brook will occupy all the white spaces in the bookmaking the book ‘setting significant.’ Anne with her sky-high imagination gives pretty names to the setting she routinely encounters.
‘I like giving name handles to everything I see and that is so interesting isn’t it?’ Can we forget this sentence? Anne with her scrapes gets better and better and joyfully ventures to say that every mistake is helping her rise from ignorance and carelessness.
Sometimes she is all fire rain and dew and at others, she dolefully submits to the petty annoyance of the environment. This bothers Marilla and as she puts it, ‘This child might suffer in future as she is not able to take joy and pain with balance.’
But then Anne grows, and that is so relatable. As every human past, their childhood and shy of adulthood have experienced this tumult of emotions and growing years mellows the behaviour.
Anne also has a world of wisdom to share and that she sends out by bringing Rachel Lynde into the picture. Children cannot wax eloquent the wise thoughts or it may sound unimaginable/unbelievable to the readers.
However, Rachel, a dignified matron, sounds believable and readers could attach credence to the words written. So thoughtful for the author to have taken that approach.
If a simple and lonesome neighbourhood has so much scope of imagination, can’t we follow in Anne’s footsteps? Can’t we employ our imagination in the surrounding we live and engage ourselves in?
Wouldn’t that be fun and for children who aim to give wings to their imagination? I believe this novel should be read and reread.
So this book is not only about imagination and carefree spirit, the eponymous heroine Anne but also offers a sneak peek at parenting tactics.
To put the oar only if it is needed – Too many cooks spoil the broth or too many voices dilutes the essence of the message. These are the messages which Montgomery is trying to say through the character of Mathew.
Mathew stays silent in most of the story when it comes to taking charge of parenting roles. He lets Marilla take charge and reins in her own hands and only interferes a little.
Why is it so? Children need to be taught good behaviour and charitable manners. And if there are multiple voices interfering in the process, they tend to get lost and confused.
If a parent is trying to make a point, let there not be any interference from a grandparent or any other family member. Let the message be directly addressed from parent to child. The rest of them can wait to give their opinion.
Too many opinions and ideas being thrown in the court of a child does not augur well for their conduct and development. Montgomery emphasises this point time and again in the book. I believe this is very essential and relevant at all times.
Picture credits: Still from Netflix series Anne With An E – based on the book Anne Of Green Gables
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