Tag Archives: Anne Shirley

UPDATED: Anne Shirley and a craving for friendship

“Oh, Marilla, you’d be excited, too, if you were going to meet a little girl you hoped to be your bosom friend and whose mother mightn’t like you.”

We’ve often heard of the saying “you can’t choose your family but you can choose your friends.” But Anne Shirley — orphaned as a babe and merely taken in grudgingly by neighbors — had neither the opportunity to bear the complexity of family dynamics or the luxury of selecting friends.

Anne learned at a very young age the cruelty and isolation of being friendless. Anne didn’t want friends, she needed them. She needed them so badly she made up imaginary friends out of bookcase reflections and echoes. Here was a person so in need of human interaction that she clung even to those who haven’t particularly warmed up to her (yet). For example, she opened up very very quickly to Matthew and Marilla, despite being relative strangers and in spite of knowing they probably wouldn’t adopt her. Earlier in my Anne-reading years, I chalked this up to her lack of “proper bringing up” and ignorance of social dynamics. Now I think it’s that AND she was just that starved for companionship.

Even as a kid, I was weirded out by Anne’s first encounter with Diana Barry. I mean, who does that — decide in a few swift moments to be bosom buddies for life with a girl whom she just met? Not to mention, make her new bosom buddy take a solemn vow. This extreme lack of caution over whom she’d invest her affections in is dumbfounding and slightly disturbing. But to Anne, friendship was a need, just like food and shelter. And with regard to needs, beggars can’t be choosers.

As Anne grew up and gained some stability in her life in terms of relationships, she did learn to be more discerning in choosing her friends. But that emotionally hungry child in the first few chapters of Anne of Green Gables is a strong illustration of the necessity of friendship.

Personal anecdote:

When I was 5 years old, I was semi-transferred to my grandmother’s house in San Juan while my entire family lived in Quezon City. This was because the school I was enrolled in was in San Juan. The house was isolated in the sense that we had no neighbors. For a 5 year old kid, it was a gigantic house — by my count, it had 7 bedrooms at the time.

Having no other kids in proximity to play with, I resorted to my imagination. I claimed one of the second floor rooms (the yellow painted one) as my playroom. I pretended that the closet was full with dresses and that I had a carriage. And of course, I had an imaginary friend named Becky (based on the Becky character in the animated series, Princess Sarah). Needless to say, I can relate with Anne Shirley — when you can’t have real friends, make up your own.


A Mouthful of Anne: Quotes from Anne of Windy Poplars

Anne of Windy Poplars used to be my least favorite Anne book. But as I grew older, I learned to love it. It portrays  a more romantic, more grown-up version of Anne.

The best thing about the book is Rebecca Dew, Little Elizabeth, and Anne’s unexpected friendship with Katherine Brooks.

“It don’t never matter how poor you are as long as you’ve got something to love.”

“When you turn on the light, it makes the dark your enemy…and it glowers in at you resentfully.”

“Always remember, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. It can be done so that the animal’ll never know he’s lost his hide. ”

What are your thoughts on Anne of Windy Poplars?


Dear Maud

Dear Maud,

I read that your friends and family called you “Maud.” Though I was born more than a century after you were, I consider you a friend and I daresay that you would have considered your readers as your kindred spirits.

I have just seen “Julie and Julia” for the 3rd time. You might wonder how this bit of information is relevant to you. Well, Julie Powell, inspired by Julia Child and her book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, tackled 524 recipes in 365 days — blogging all the way to completion. While I may not know this for sure, I’d like to think that her project was fueled by love.

Dear Maud, I don’t care for reader count nor a higher page rank. I started this blog because I loved Anne Shirley and the world of Avonlea you’ve created. Anne of Green Gables was the first book that taught me to nurture the spirit of storytelling, imagination, and fancy. I just want to pay tribute to that and hopefully, share the joy.

Thanks to you and your books, I discovered that there could be a place in the world for a kid with a short temper, a loud mouth and a love for daydreaming. Thanks to you, becoming a writer became a very viable option for what to do with the rest of my life. And most of all, you have articulated for me feelings and thoughts I had about friendship, belonging-ness, and melancholy that I didn’t know how to express when I was a kid.

In short, all I want to say is that I am really grateful that you lived and that you wrote the Anne of Green Gables series. I am just one of the many girls whose hearts you’ve touched with your writing. I hope, with all my heart, you are at peace.

From a member of the race that knows Joseph,                                                                 Ilia

A Mouthful of Anne: Quotes from Anne of Avonlea

I apologize for not posting for about two weeks. My bad. Our DSL connection was bust for a week and I lost my momentum.

Here are a few quotes from Anne of Avonlea which I just finished re-reading:

“It does people good to have to do things they don’t like… in moderation.” – Anne Shirley

“November is usually such a disagreeable month… as if the year had suddenly found out she was growing old and  could do nothing but weep and fret over it.” – Anne Shirley

“You’ll hardly fail completely in one day and there’s plenty more days coming.” – Marilla Cuthbert

Marilla and Matthew’s Parenting Styles: Which worked best?

We know that the Cuthbert siblings, Matthew and Marilla, wanted to adopt a boy to help with the farm and they got Anne Shirley instead. It was Matthew who was first taken with Anne, telling Marilla that they ought to keep her. Matthew’s connection with Anne was sparked by some instinctive desire to keep this wide-eyed, talkative, wild child in his life.

Marilla, on the other hand, was more cautious and critical of the new presence in their lives. In my opinion, it was her moral conscience that tipped the scale in favor of letting Anne stay at Green Gables. She couldn’t bring herself to give Anne to Mrs. Blewett. She was eventually convinced that raising Anne was the right thing to do — perhaps her Christian duty.

Anne’s bringing up years was from 11 – 15 years old. By the time she went to Queen’s, she was quasi-independent and had been integrated into society. So for this post, I’ll focus on those years.

Marilla and Matthew had a deal: Anne can stay but Marilla will do the bringing up and Matthew shouldn’t put his oar in. Matthew assented, because he had a phlegmatic personality and it isn’t really in his nature to take charge.  Continue reading

Modern Day Annes: Christina Hendricks

I am a big fan of AMC’s hit TV series, Mad Men. And one of my favorite characters in the show is Joan Holloway, played by the beautiful and curvy Christina Hendricks.

from LA Times Magazine feature (July 2010)

I like Christina Hendricks because 1. she’s really good at her job: acting, 2. She’s a redhead and redheads are generally interesting and 3. she has this curvy body that is to die for. She’s like pure woman! But why is she a modern day Anne Shirley? It turns out that Hendricks is a natural blonde and died her hair red because of Anne of Green Gables.

Here’s an excerpt of her Q&A with LA Times Magazine:

You’ve said you started dying your blond hair red at age 10. How exactly did you sell that choice to your folks?
They did it to me! I was obsessed with the Canadian novel Anne of Green Gables. I decided I was Anne of Green Gables. There was something that spoke to me about her, and I wanted to have her beautiful red hair. So my mother said, “Let’s just go to the drugstore and get one of those cover-the-gray rinses!” My hair was very blond at the time, but it went carrot red. And I was over the moon. I went to school the next day and felt like myself. And then I went back [to that color] over and over again. What a cool mom, right?

Read the whole interview and feature on Christina Hendricks here.

A Mouthful of Anne: Weekly dose of quotable quotes

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the Anne books:

“The things you wanted so much when you were a child don’t seem half so wonderful to you when you get them.” (from Anne of Green Gables)

“Everything that’s worth having is some trouble.” (From Anne of Avonlea)

“Being in love makes you a perfect slave.” (From Anne of the Island)

Do share some of your favorites 😀