5 Reasons I Love Anne Shirley
If you’ve been around this blog for more than about a month, you have probably heard me mention my love of Anne Shirley. The Anne of Green Gables series is one of my favorite of all times because the stories are timeless. I think that’s why Anne is still so beloved by the world. Her stories and life lessons are just as applicable in 2020 as they were in 1908 so, here are 5 reasons why I love Anne Shirley.
Reason #1: Anne Shirley is incredibly intelligent and ambitious and I don’t just mean for the turn of the century. Anne found value in knowledge and learning which is something she instills in her students when she becomes a teacher. She also saw the value of working extremely hard to reach her goals. She earns top rankings in school then goes on to attend Queen’s Academy and finally earns her way to a B.A. at Redmond College. This doesn’t include her writings and all the philanthropy she undertakes. In a time when most young women were expected to become happy little homemakers, she was showing that women could find value and success outside of the home! As she so wisely stated, “Oh, it's delightful to have ambitions. I'm so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them-- that's the best of it. Just as soon as you attain one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.” (Anne of Green Gables)
Reason #2: Anne is definitely ranked amongst the spunkiest female characters in classic literature along with the likes of Jo March and Lizzie Bennett. Some of the most enjoyable moments of the series come from Anne’s adventures. Chasing down the jersey cow that she thought was hers, falling through the porch roof, falling off the kitchen ridge pole and basically, every early interaction with Gilbert. Anne wasn’t afraid to be different or to go it alone. I still believe she is a great role model for young girls because of this characteristic (and many others). I think she can be best summarized in this… ″Having adventures comes natural to some people’, said Anne serenely. ‘You just have a gift for them or you haven’t.” (Anne of Avonlea) She definitely had the gift!
Reason #3: Anne has an amazing sense of humor and one that allows her to find joy in the small and mundane. She also doesn’t have an issue laughing at herself which is a great and necessary quality for someone who gets into as many scrapes as Anne does growing up. I think she said it best when she said, “Life is worth living as long as there’s a laugh in it.” (Anne of Green Gables)
Reason #4: Anne is always hopeful even in the midst of some very trying times. By the time we meet Anne, her little life has been filled with tragedies, great and small, yet, she seems to always believe the best could be just around the corner. Even in her discouragement she finds a way to stop grumbling and find the silver lining. I believe this series probably offers more inspirational quotes than any other in history because Anne is always reassuring herself or others of the possibilities that lay ahead… even through the mire. One of my favorite observations of Anne’s optimistic nature is found in this quote, “Those who knew Anne best felt, without realizing that they felt it, that her greatest attraction was the aura of possibility surrounding her... the power of future development that was in her. She seemed to walk in an atmosphere of things about to happen.” (Anne of Avonlea)
Reason #5: Anne never settles in love though she does learn that her heart’s desire looks a little different than she expected. The movies skip over some of this but Anne had many admirers and in a time when a woman often needed a man for security, she could have easily settled for the safe, easy option. But she wasn’t willing to sell her hopes for an easy out or give up on her “House of Dreams”. As Anne grows and matures, she realizes that she’s been stubborn and silly when it comes to Gilbert and more importantly, she realizes that he is, in fact, her perfect compliment. Anne and Gilbert have pages and pages worth of romantic moments but it’s his final proposal that I feel best reflects the timeless love that Anne’s patience was rewarded with.
“I have a dream,” he said slowly. “I persist in dreaming it, although it has often seemed to me that it could never come true. I dream of a home with a hearth-fire in it, a cat and dog, the footsteps of friends – and you!”
Anne wanted to speak but she could find no words. Happiness was breaking over her like a wave. It almost frightened her.
“I asked you a question over two years ago, Anne. If I ask it again today, will you give me a different answer?”
Still Anne could not speak. But she lifted her eyes, shining with all the love-rapture of countless generations, and looked into his for a moment. He wanted no other answer. (Anne of the Island)
Swoon! Actually, the older I get the more I appreciate Anne and Gilbert’s relationship. It isn’t the typical mushy, gushy perfection that you often see in literature but rarely see in real life. They didn’t always see eye to eye. They didn’t always say the perfect romantic lines that Anne, herself, wished to hear. They were able to hold each other accountable and even were in competition more than once. However, it’s the moment when Anne realizes that friendship can blossom into a beautiful romance, that makes their love one for the ages.
I could go on and on about why Anne and her series of adventures should be on everyone’s reading list but five is my limit, however, let me implore you once more to consider wandering the hills and meadows of Avonlea with the world’s favorite redhead!