I am extremely grateful that I chose to start my journey here! L.M Montgomery has created a beautiful world in this little corner of Canada. The detail is rich, but not overpowering, and the dialogue is exciting. There is a lot of both, and a pretty good blend. Some books tend to get stuck in one mode or the other, but L.M. has done a great job at balancing the two.
As far as my initial reactions to the characters, I think Mrs. Rachel is my favorite so far. It was brilliant of L.M. to open the story with Mrs. Rachel. I think that if she'd opened with Anne, it would have probably been too much. Mrs. Rachel is just kooky enough to catch your attention and keep you reading through to the second chapter.
The only word I can think of to describe Marilla is stony. She seems to the the rock of the plot. As opposed to Matthew (her brother) who is more like the grass. He can be stiff if he wants to, but most of the time he just goes where the rock pushes him. I like Matthew. His phobia of the female division of our race makes me laugh. Which is exactly why he feels that way... interesting.
As for Anne (with an 'e'), she is cute. I know from watching the movies that she is pretty dramatic, but so far she just seems like a talkative, creative, little dreamer. Not so different from myself when I was eleven, actually.
As we grow, we lose some of that. But I hope I can hang on to it as long as possible. If we can have the imagination without the drama, that is the ideal to have, I think. "Head in the clouds, feet on the ground," as they say in The Music Man. That's what I hope to have anyway.
One of my favorite quotes from Anne so far is at the beginning of Chapter 5, as Marilla is taking her away to find out how she got to be there. Anne says to Marilla, "Do you know, I've made up my mind to enjoy this drive. It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will. Of course, you must make it up firmly."
This is amazingly true! When one truly chooses to be happy, then one is happy! But, as Anne tells us, you must make up your mind firmly if you want it to make a difference.
Marilla has talked it over with Matthew, and they've decided to keep Anne. In the last line of the chapter, Marilla says,
"...we've decided on the experiment and goodness only knows what will come of it."
I like the use of the word 'experiment'. It's perfect! Life is an experiment, don't you think? We go through each day testing boundaries, and pushing the limits of things we suppose to be true, learning all the while! I feel like Anne, what a wonderful world we live in!
I absolutely love Anne's prayer. She doesn't do it perfectly, but then, she's never been taught. Her prayer is so genuine. I think that trait is what makes a prayer a good one. It makes it more meaningful, both to the prayer and to God.
When Marilla tells Anne that she is to learn The Lord's Prayer, she sends Anne into the sitting room to get the copy of it, and doesn't come back for ten minutes. When Marilla follows her to see why, she finds Anne staring up at a picture, entitled, "Christ Blessing the Little Children". Anne is imagining that she is one of those children, a little girl, standing toward the back, as if she didn't belong to anyone. Anne says,
"She looks lonely and sad, don't you think? I guess she hadn't any father or mother of her own. But she wanted to be blessed too, so she just crept shyly up on the outside of the crowd, hoping nobody would notice her -- except Him. I'm sure I know just how she felt. Her heart must have beat, and her hands must have got cold, like mine did when you told me I could stay. She was afraid He mightn't notice her. But it's likely He did, don't you think? I've been trying to imagine it all out -- her edging a little nearer all the time, until she was quite close to Him; and then He would look at her and put His hand on her hair and oh, such a thrill of joy as would run over her! But I wish the artist hadn't painted Him so sorrowful looking. All His pictures are like that, if you've noticed. But I don't believe He could really have looked so sad or the children would have been afraid of Him."
Anne is a little long winded, but I like it. She gets to the point, but is still so interesting and detailed.
But my point is, the scriptures tell us to have the faith of little children, and I believe Anne's remarks here is a perfect example of that. How we all want to be noticed by the Lord! And though we sometimes feel like we aren't, we are. He loves each of us so dearly. What a wonderful thing to know.
Chapters 9 & 10:
The thing we've all been waiting for has come... Mrs. Rachel Lynde and Anne meet. It's sad to say that many grown-ups are just like Rachel. They speak about children as though they weren't there, and wouldn't be hurt by a thing they heard if they were. We forget too quickly what it's like to be a child, and Rachel is definitely at fault of this. Throughout the story, as Marilla later points out, we hear Anne say all the time that she is homely, skinny, red-headed, and ugly, and how she wishes she could be otherwise. But things like that hurt much more when they are said by someone else, especially with the tone of contempt that Mrs. Rachel uses. I can understand Anne's reaction completely. No one wants to be spoken to like that.
I also appreciate Marilla's reactions to all this. She is coming to love Anne, whether she realizes it or not. So she tells Rachel that her comments were too hard, and tells Anne that she needs to apologize. Matthew helps Anne realize that an apology would help smooth things over, and Anne agrees.
THE APOLOGY... amazing. "I thought since I had to do it, I might as well do it thoroughly." she says. I think Anne does just about everything thoroughly, whether it's thoroughly well or thoroughly badly, depends on what she's doing. I laughed through the last 4 pages of Chapter ten.
Soon to come, Chapters eleven through sixteen, inclusive. Hope you've having as much fun as I am!
The Page Traveler