February 26, 2013

Literary Heroines - Anne Shirley

Who doesn't have a favorite literary heroine? Whether from days of yore or from this current century? Heroines come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and we all have at least one who has gripped our heart and refuses to let go. You know, the unforgettable ones. The ones that stand out in your mind and when you think of a great story, their name immediately pops up. Whether you have a love of reading or not, I'm positive somewhere along the way, some book was read to you or you watched an adaptation, and you fell in love. I imagine that surely this has happened to everyone at least once. And if you're a reader, it's possibly happened lots of times! :)

Today I want to talk about one such beloved heroine from literature whom I love dearly: Miss Anne Shirley!

As I was thinking about heroines and who my favorites are and why they are my favorites, of course Anne immediately came to mind. How can you not love her? But as I thought about it, I realized I'd never really analyzed why I like her so well. So this is my attempt at explaining my love for Anne with an 'e'. :)  (I can't promise that it will make total sense outside of my brain, but I'm going to do my best!)

As Matthew says, "She's such an interesting little thing." She talks a mile a minute and her vocabulary is amazing! That's actually one of the first things that I remember about her. Her "bosom friends", and "kindred spirits", and her love of big words in general.
"People laugh at me because I use big words. But if you have big ideas, you have to use big words to express them, haven't you?" 
Anne does love words and her creative use of them to explain any and every thing around her is wonderful. Her colorful phrases draw you in and make you want to know more about this girl and who she is.
“My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.”
And where else would she learn such words? Through her love of reading of course! Anne is certainly a reader and loves to learn. She grasps onto things quickly and they become a part of her. This leads to her enhanced vocabulary and vivid imagination. She simply soaks in everything around her. She uses her imagination to enjoy stories and books but also to enjoy life itself. I don't think you can read her story and not be reminded of how awe-inspiring even the little things around us are. Like trees and plants and rivers. Anne takes note of them all and desires to romanticize them, yes. But also she truly appreciates all that life and this world have to offer. Her youth was so devoid of warmth and love that she had to look for it elsewhere.
Dear old world', she murmured, 'you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.”
That fact alone endears her to me. She took what was essentially a horrid childhood and refused to become horrid because of it. All you have to do is read the second chapter where we first meet Anne. Here she is, an orphan who's been treated very roughly thus far in her eleven years, yet her first words say nothing about that. She instead chooses to focus on that lovely cherry tree that she wants to climb up in and what she imagined Prince Edward Island and Green Gables would be like. Her imagination takes her out of her dismal world and puts her in a glorious and wonderful place. Even though it's only in her mind, the mere fact that she chooses to look at the bright side, when she's known nothing but clouds, is really incredible.

Yes, I know she's a fictional character! But I just love that Ms. Montgomery made Anne so unique and lovable right from the start. She spends a great deal of time talking, but you hear her story in all that she doesn't say. It's beautifully done, in my opinion. And her imagination, her capacity for love, her cheerfulness, her big words, these are all part of who Anne is. She grows up during the series, but she never loses what makes her essentially Anne.
“There's such a lot of different Anne's in me. I sometimes think that is why I'm such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn't be half so interesting.”
All who come into contact with her (excepting Mrs. Thomas and Mrs. Hammond) cannot help but be drawn to her and want to befriend her. She grows on you, the reader, very quickly also! I don't know how Ms. Montgomery ever imagined her into being, but I'm so thankful she did. Anne Shirley sets an incredibly high standard for heroines that I enjoy. There's no one else quite like her and that's certainly okay with me! One Anne is really all we need. And I aim to enjoy her and her story for a long time to come. Because that's another beautiful thing about her, no matter how this world changes, we will never outgrow Anne. No matter your age or what your favorite genres are, Anne Shirley will draw you in and make you wonder how you ever existed without her! ;D

 Toodle-loo kangaroos!

 “Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”


  1. I have always loved Ann(E)....Thinking it's time to re-read the books. Wonderful post! :)

    1. Thanks! I had to skim through the book while writing this because it's been a great while since I'd read it. Now I'm itching to read the entire thing! :D

      Thanks so much for commenting and following, Mary. Much appreciated!

  2. I just discovered Anna last year -I listened to Anne of Green Gables - but it was LOVE! I freaking loved the book and I admit to crying when Matthew, well, you know.

    Anne is a lovely pick!

    1. Agreed Alex! How do you NOT cry when Matthew um, well, sniffle, sniffle. :( It is such a wonderful story isn't it? There's no other character quite like Anne. :D

  3. She took what was essentially a horrid childhood and refused to become horrid because of it.

    YES! I love her indomitable spirit, and the way she shows that we can be molded by our reaction to events rather than just by the events.

    I was 8 or 9 when one of my mom's friends recommended the Anne books to her, and we soon discovered the Megan Follows versions on PBS. They became some of my father's favorite movies, and I can't wait to introduce my own children to them. In fact, our first daughter's middle name is Anne, after Anne Shirley.

    1. You've said exactly what I tried to! She is absolutely molded by her choice of reaction to whatever comes, and not the event itself. She is truly something very special. :)

      Oh, doesn't Megan Follows do such a wonderful, wonderful job? She is Anne in my mind. Her looks, her mannerisms, how she talked, and everything. She truly became Anne on screen and I love her portrayal dearly. Definitely one of my favorite movies of all time. :) I love that you named your daughter after her! Sounds like exactly what I would do if I had children.

  4. I have loved Anne since I was a little girl and first watched the movie. As I grew older and began reading the books I could not put them down! L.M. Montgomery is one of my favorite authors.

    1. Anne is definitely someone extra special! I don't think it's possible to grow tired of her story. Ms. Montgomery did such a fabulous job. This series is staying on my shelf for as long as I can help it. :D

      Thanks for visiting and commenting Sarah! :)


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