Tired of ads?
Join today and never see them again.
Advertisement - Guide continues below
Awe and Amazement
"Pretty? Oh, pretty doesn't seem the right word to use. Nor beautiful, either. They don't go far enough. Oh, it was wonderful—wonderful. It's the first thing I ever saw that couldn't be improved upon by imagination. It just satisfied me here"—she put one hand on her breast—"it made a queer funny ache and yet it was a pleasant ache." (2.53)
Anne says this after she first sees the Avenue, a road arched with trees, which she will soon re-name "The White Way of Delight." It's the first thing that Anne sees that is so beautiful it stuns her silent. And she isn't even in Avonlea yet.
It was not of Marilla or himself he was thinking or of the trouble this mistake was probably going to make for them, but of the child's disappointment. When he thought of that rapt light being quenched in her eyes he had an uncomfortable feeling that he was going to assist at murdering something—much the same feeling that came over him when he had to kill a lamb or calf or any other innocent little creature. (2.76)
Matthew is partially right. Taking Anne inside where she'll find out she's unwanted will hit Anne pretty hard. Think about what it might have done to her, long-term, if they hadn't decided to keep her after all.
"Oh, Marilla, looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them," exclaimed Anne. "You mayn't get the things themselves; but nothing can prevent you from having the fun of looking forward to them. Mrs. Lynde says, "Blessed are they who expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed." But I think it would be worse to expect nothing than to be disappointed." (14.21)
We understand why Marilla worries about Anne getting too excited about things. She doesn't want her to be devastated if they don't work out. But Anne's outlook is different: you might as well have fun looking forward to things because you may not get them.
Anne might plead and cry as she liked—and did, for her terror was very real. Her imagination had run away with her and she held the spruce grove in mortal dread after nightfall. But Marilla was inexorable. She marched the shrinking ghostseer down to the spring and ordered her to proceed straightway over the bridge and into the dusky retreats of wailing ladies and headless specters beyond. (20.32)
Ever heard the phrase "you reap what you sow?" Anne imagined herself a haunted woods, and now she has to deal with it…in the dark.
Marilla felt this and was vaguely troubled over it, realizing that the ups and downs of existence would probably bear hardly on this impulsive soul and not sufficiently understanding that the equally great capacity for delight might more than compensate. (22.5)
Here's another reminder (from the narrator this time) that Anne's high "ups" are worth the low "downs." It couldn't be more different from Marilla's sensible (but low-key) approach to living.
"I was walking the ridgepole and I fell off. I expect I have sprained my ankle. But, Marilla, I might have broken my neck. Let us look on the bright side of things." (23.30)
You've got to admire Anne's optimism. Her imagination allows her to envision a worse scenario and communicate it, even through her ankle pain.
"Don't give up all your romance, Anne," he whispered shyly, "a little of it is a good thing—not too much, of course—but keep a little of it, Anne, keep a little of it." (28.50)
We think Matthew has the right idea. An Anne without romance (not just love-romance, but also her love of Romantic era literature and tradition) is hardly Anne at all.
"I've dreamed of such things, Diana. But do you know I don't believe I feel very comfortable with them after all. There are so many things in this room and all so splendid that there is no scope for imagination. That is one consolation when you are poor—there are so many more things you can imagine about." (29.23)
Anne's imaginings are often better than the actual things she dreams about. You'd think this would make her says, but she says this to Diana in a matter-of-fact way.
"But I want to have a real good jolly time this summer, for maybe it's the last summer I'll be a little girl. Mrs. Lynde says that if I keep stretching out next year as I've done this I'll have to put on longer skirts. She says I'm all running to legs and eyes. And when I put on longer skirts I shall feel that I have to live up to them and be very dignified. It won't even do to believe in fairies then, I'm afraid; so I'm going to believe in them with all my whole heart this summer." (30.37)
In Anne's era, growing up comes with some visible fashion changes. Girls who are no longer children wear full-length skirts and wear their hair up. But it seems Anne also views growing up as having to button up her imagination.
"Oh, Diana, it's good to be back again. It's so good to see those pointed first coming out against the pink sky—and that white orchard and the old Snow Queen. Isn't the breath of the wind delicious? And that tea rose—why, it's a song and a hope and a prayer all in one. And it's good to see you again, Diana!" (36.19)
Anne did very well in school, but her sense of awe is restored when she returns to Green Gables. She marvels at the orchard and trees as if seeing them for the first time.
Join today and never see them again.