"Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive-- it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?"
~Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables, ch. 2
Now before you all look at the title of this post and go, "What? Wait a minute..." and then scramble through my back posts wondering what on earth happened to Heroine #2, let me just say that she's coming. Eventually. But she isn't Anne, and I wanted to do Anne for Anne week, and so I muxed things ip a little. You'll survive.
|See? This is Anne's reaction to Twain's audacity.|
I'm going off on a rabbit trail again. Back to Anne.
So, why do I love Anne-spelled-with-an-E Shirley? Or should I say, how do I love her? Let me count the ways.
Firstly, she was born in March and all people born in that delicious month are automatically amazing in my book. :D Secondly, she is just so ridiculously endearing. She may be over-the-top at times, she may talk as if her tongue was hinged in the middle, she may get into countless scrapes, but you can't help loving her anyway. Anyway? What am I saying? You can't help loving her because of all the aforementioned aforementions!
One of the things I love about Anne is her refreshing real-ness. I firmly believe that the characters are the best part of any book worth reading, and Anne just makes her books sparkle. You can really imagine just sitting down and having a good conversation with her. She says things whenever they come into her head, with no worries or self-consciousness. This quote is one of my favorites: "I'm always afraid going over bridges. I can't help imagining that perhaps just as we get to the middle, they'll crumple up like a jack-knife and nip us. So I shut my eyes. But I always have to open them for all when I think we're getting near the middle. Because, you see, if the bridge did crumple up I'd want to see it crumple."
Anne talks. A Lot. Which is something that I can completely identify with, because I talk a lot too. "But I can stop when I make up my mind to it, although it's difficult."
|But of course it's not that difficult to stop when it's physically impossible to say a single word.|
Anne's imaginative. She's dreamy. She makes up things in her head when the reality before her isn't up to snuff. She doesn't let things get her down. Oh, sure, she's dramatic and emotional and has been known to sob her eyes out over the fact that her bosom friend will someday marry and leave her (I love that part) but in general she's an incurable, cock-eyed optimist.
You set your heart too much on frivolous things and then crash down into despair when you don't get them.
Anne: I know. I can't help flying up on the wings of anticipation. It's as glorious as soaring through a sunset... almost pays for the thud.
Marilla: Well, maybe it does. But I'd rather walk calmly along and do without flying AND thud.
I'm more like Marilla, to be honest-- I'd rather do without the thud, and if it means doing without the flying, I'm okay with that. But Anne is not. Anne would rather fly. And then thud. Which she does, briefly, up on Moody Spurgeon's kitchen roof. :P
Anne is also one of the friendliest heroines I've ever been acquainted with. Obviously she and Diana Barry are besties, but just think of all the unlikely friendships that Anne forms over the course of the books and movies. Imagine, if you will, how sad and lonely Katherine Brooke's life might have been if it weren't for Anne. Without Anne, Leslie Moore would still be bitter and resentful, Philippa Gordon would be frivolously frittering her life away, Davy Keith might have grown up to be a juvenile delinquent and Josie Pye might have been even worse than she already is. Because how do you know that Anne didn't have a good influence on her? I mean, if Josie had never met Anne, she might have been a gazillion times more snotty and insufferable. If that is possible. My dad loves to quote Diana's line from the movie" "Josie doesn't have to cheat. She just does it 'cause she's a Pye."
But lest you begin to think Anne's perfect, I'll set you straight.
The real problem with Anne is that she doesn't see what's right under her nose for three entire books and two entire movies. She's so caught up in the "wings of anticipation" and her romantic dreams that she doesn't see the Prince Charming walking her home from teaching school every day. Roy Gardner and all his melancholy inscrutability seemed more attractive to her than the realistic, humorous, sweet, wonderful (and handsome, can't forget that) Gilbert Blythe. Now, we all know that she got over the childish grudge regarding the slate by the end of the first movie (and the first book), but it took her FOUR HOURS of movie-time in The Sequel (and two more novels) to finally realize that Gil was the one for her. And really, if he hadn't gotten typhoid, she might still be waltzing around with her head in the clouds... without him. That typhoid germ-virus-thingy was the real matchmaker. Emma Woodhouse can't even compete.
But anyway, regardless of how or when or where, she finally did come to her senses and realized that she didn't need diamond sunbursts or marble halls...
Everybody say "awwwww." Right now. (Please.)
|(I didn't make this, by the way, but I can't remember where I found it.)|
I've been known to frequently match songs with characters as if I were creating musicals, and when I think of Anne Shirley, the two songs that come to mind are "Pure Imagination" and "I See The Light". The latter especially.
All those years outside looking in
All that time never even knowing
Just how blind I've been
Now I'm here, blinking in starlight
Now I'm here, suddenly I see
Standing here, it's all so clear
I'm where I'm meant to be!
All those days chasing down a daydream
All those years living in a blur
All that time never truly seeing
Things, the way they were.