These Anne posts are by far my very favorite. I love thinking through what I’m going to say, and watch the thoughts and ideas take shape in my mind. My soul thrills when I read these books, no exaggeration.
I quote: “I love Anne of Avonlea because of just the beauty and wonder of a girl going form girlhood to womanhood…” Hayley said this in reply to my question of what her favorite Anne book was. This flow is caught very much through the book, and the simple, girlish dreams quietly submerge into womanly ideas.
““Friendship is very beautiful,” smiled Mrs. Allan, “but some day…” Then she paused abruptly. In the delicate, whitebrowed face beside her, with its candid eyes and mobile features, there was still far more of the child than of the woman. Anne’s heart so far harbored only dreams of friendship and ambition, and Mrs. Allan did not wish to brush the bloom from her sweet unconsciousness. So she left her sentence for future years to continue.“
The sense of Anne’s girlhood is very strong throughout these pages. Though she’s mature, a little wiser, and a little more sensible, she’s still… well, a girl. But look at the end.
“.…it was as if a veil that had hung before her inner consciousness had been lifted, giving to her view a revelation of unsuspected feelings and realities. …. Then the veil dropped again; but the Anne who walked up the dark lane was not quite the same Anne who had driven gaily down it the evening before. The page of girlhood had been turned, as by an unseen finger, and the page of womanhood was before her with all its charm and mystery, its pain and gladness.“
I sometimes feel as though I’m turning the page from girlhood to womanhood… and then I turn the page back to re-read something, or do something I missed… it’s that hovering stage. I’m not really a girl anymore, but I’m not quite a woman.
Another thing that struck me was the change in Diana and Anne’s friendship. Their relationship didn’t fall out, but there was a slight sifting of ground. It’s when Diana becomes engaged. Anne says to herself once or twice that she can’t tell Diana “this or that” because “she’ll be sure to tell Fred. I know, because she tells him everything.” Far from grudging Diana for this, Anne seems content to keep some of her thoughts to herself. However, she says: “Oh, I think these engagements are dreadfully unsettling things when they happen to your intimate friends.” Amen, sistahh! This again is another change from “Anne the girl” to “Anne the woman.” As little girls, we love anything that has to do with an engagement, or a wedding. At that young age, it’s hard to sense the change that comes in a close friendship. I can understand Anne perfectly in this, because I have three or four very close friends now who are either married or getting prepared for their weddings. You still continue to love that person to death, but aspects of your friendship change. You feel a bit lonelier than before, a bit more by yourself. It’s not a bad thing, but sometimes it can be a hard thing, and part of this is what helps Anne turn the page to womanhood.
Gilbert makes me laugh. And smile. And cry. Well, maybe not the last one. But I love reading about the parts where he talks to Anne. He’s always on the verge of saying something sentimental, and then “wisely” holds his tongue. And then sometimes he slips, and Anne punishes him in some way, but he plays off her punishment so she only feels the sting of it. It’s so lovely, and so funny, and I wonder if a man is really like that at all. Gilbert said something at the end that is an absolute reflection of his relationship with Anne—past, present and future. It had to do with the Miss Lavender romance. (I love Miss Lavender. If ever I am an old maid, I will be just like her.)
Anne says: “Isn’t it beautiful to think how everything has turned out…how they have come together again after all the years of separation and misunderstanding?”
“Yes, it’s beautiful,” said Gilbert, looking steadily down into Anne’s uplifted face, [I love the height difference here…] “but wouldn’t it have been more beautiful still, Anne, if there had been no separation or misunderstanding…if they had come hand in hand all the way through life, with no memories behind them but those which belonged to each other?”
I am pretending through this series that I don’t know what happens with regards to Anne and Gilbert, but I suppose I’ll break off of that for just one moment. Like Miss Lavender and Stephen Irving, Anne and Gilbert had a quarrel. But unlike Miss Lavender, Anne finally decided to break down her pride and “forgive and forget.” Unlike Stephen Irving, Gilbert stuck around and when Anne was quite ready to forgive, he was
ready to receive forgiveness. (This is disregarding that space of about a year or so where Gilbert and Anne ignored each other’s existence mutually.)
Because of meal of humble pie both Anne and Gilbert partook of early on, they opened the road to a life where they would walk “hand in hand all the way through life, with no memories behind them but those which belonged to each other.”
Beautiful, wonderful book, full of wisdom… and mischief…
I love Davy Keith. He is by far my favorite character (apart from Anne and Gilbert) of the series. I love his mischief, his questions. He is the epitome of a little boy, he asks all the questions everybody thinks. “Anne, where is heaven? I want to know.” And his devotion to food and mud. He’s a perfect mischief maker, and he makes himself adorable. Dora, his twin, is prim and proper and does everything the right way but she’s less lovable. It’s quite funny. :)
By the way, Hayley has written her Anne post at head in the clouds. You should go check it out, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and it was very, very insightful. :)