Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Anne of Green Gables Series (Part 1)

I am currently reading through the Anne of Green Gables series for the second time in my life.

L.M. Montgomery's books have always filled me with a cozy and delightful feeling by their poetic descriptions and sweet sentiments. I have my cautions about them, as well, as they sometimes delve into the half-magical (talk of ghosts, etc.), the characters are sometimes immature and like to gossip, and women sometimes aspire to be more than homemakers. And there is wrong theology woven throughout. Take, for instance, this quote from Anne of the Island:

'"Why should you be afraid, Ruby?" asked Anne quietly.

"Because--because--oh, I'm not afraid but that I'll go to heaven, Anne. I'm a church member. . . ."'

Anne should have countered that being a church member (or being "good") is not what saves anyone, though Christians most often will become church members. But Anne doesn't do so, only comfortingly says she thinks heaven will be much the same as earth, only easier. Ruby persists that it will still be different, and Anne realizes it is true.

There is at least one thing in this chapter of the book that makes sense:

'Anne walked home very slowly in the moonlight. The evening had changed something for her. Life held a different meaning, a deeper purpose. On the surface it would go on just the same; but the deeps had been stirred. It must not be with her as with poor butterfly Ruby. When she came to the end of one life it must not be to face the next with the shrinking terror of something wholly different--something for which accustomed thought and ideal and aspiration had unfitted her. The little things of life, sweet and excellent in their place, must not be the things lived for; the highest must be sought and followed; the life of heaven must be begun here on earth.'

True, yet the book fails to say that this can only come through the salvation of Christ and the gracious work of the Holy Spirit.

Fallacies aside, the series is a charming bit of literature, stirring up laughter and appreciation for God's creation. Here are a few quotes I enjoyed.

'One June evening, when the orchards were pink-blossomed again, when the frogs were singing silverly sweet in the marshes about the head of the Lake of Shining Waters, and the air was full of the savor of clover fields and balsamic fir woods, Anne was sitting by her gable window. She had been studying her lessons, but it had grown too dark to see the book, so she had fallen into wide-eyed reverie, looking out past the boughs of the Snow Queen, once more bestarred with its tufts of blossom.' (Anne of Green Gables, p. 161)

'Few things in Avonlea ever escaped Mrs. Lynde. It was only that morning Anne had said,
"If you went to your own room at midnight, locked the door, pulled down the blind, and sneezed, Mrs. Lynde would ask you the next day how your cold was!"' (Anne of Avonlea, p. 8)

[Marilla speaking] '"Davy, stop joggling Dora's elbow. Oh, I saw you! You needn't try to look innocent. What does make you behave so this morning?"
"Maybe I got out of the wrong side of the bed," suggested Davy. "Milty Boulter says if you do that things are bound to go wrong with you all day. His grandmother told him. But which way is the right side? And what are you to do when your bed's against the wall? I want to know."' (Anne of Avonlea, p. 195)

'It was November--the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines. Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park and, as she said, let that great sweeping wind blow the fogs out of her soul.' (Anne of the Island, p. 163)

'Long after Pacifiique's gay whistle had faded into the phantom of music and then into silence far up under the maples of Lover's Lane Anne stood under the willows, tasting the poignant sweetness of life when some great dread has been removed from it. The morning was a cup filled with mist and glamor. In the corner near her was a rich surprise of new-blown, crystal-dewed roses. The trills and trickles of song from the birds in the big tree above her seemed in perfect accord with her mood. A sentence from a very old, very true, very wonderful Book came to her lips,
"Weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning."' (Anne of the Island, p. 239)

In Anne of the Island, Anne encounters a man she thinks is her very ideal, with a lovely voice and poetic, melancholy air. However, she can't stop thinking of Gilbert. My dad appreciated the two movies based on these books because of this lesson. The lesson that our superfluous ideals are not the most important, and that sometimes romance is taken out of its place and made into something larger than life.

I will probably add more quotes and reviews as I go through the rest of the books. I hope you enjoyed this brief review.

3 comments:

Miss Jen said...

Yes... I agree. ;) Thank your for expressing your thoughts!
Hope you have a great Mother's Day weekend blessing your mommy!!!

Love in Christ,
Miss Jen

Melissa M. said...

You're welcome. And thank you! :) We are planning to take our mom out for dinner on Monday (a little late, but we were never ones to do things exactly by the book when it comes to holidays). I plan to make a post about my mother on Tuesday, or thereabouts.

Melissa M. said...

Hope you have a great Mother's Day weekend, too! :) (I enjoyed your post about your mom.)