Thursday, October 21, 2010

Anne Shirley

I finished Anne of Green Gables.  It is such a delight.  I really recommend reading it, if you haven't.  I'm not sure how I feel about the conclusion, though. (Spoiler alert here, I suppose.)  Anne gets accepted to college but turns it down after Matthew, her guardian, dies, so she can keep Marilla, his sister, company in Avonlea.  She takes a job teaching at the Avonlea school.  Also, she matures a bit, whatever that means - the story club she formed with her friends (where they make up dramatic, romantic, scary tales and share them with each other) has faded out of existence, and her hair and freckles have softened so that she's now quite objectively attractive. 

I'm not sure how I feel about all this for Anne.  First of all, it's pretty entertaining to see her accidentally getting her 12-year-old best friend drunk on what she thought was a non-alcoholic drink, or getting stuck clinging to a tree branch in the middle of a river, or cracking a blackboard slate over a boy's head.  When she's more level-headed, there's less of this.  Is this supposed to be a moral of how things should proceed for a young woman? 

To argue with myself, she's not giving up college for no reason - staying with Marilla is caring and admirable.  But I feel bad for her nonetheless.  I feel less bad, of course, knowing that she goes away to school in the third book, Anne of the Island

I've begun Anne of Avonlea, the second book, and Anne is still spirited and imaginative - but there's a lessening of her crazy ideas and schemes and scrapes, and I wish this didn't have to be the case.

A neutral note: there is much emphasis on being good, doing good, being a truly good person, which I feel isn't there in contemporary young adult literature.  I don't know if that's a difference in the time periods or something particular to the Anne books.


I'm also still reading The Turn of the Screw.  I didn't think it was scaring me until I had to walk across my living room in the dark to get to the lamp, and scurried, afraid, the whole way.

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