Anne of Green Gables (continued)
How to Engage Closely with the Text
– Pg. 257
– Narrative vs Chronological Order
– Moving from having the experience told as it happens to a recollection being told to someone
the next day
– What can we use? What can we take out of it that will provide evidence for your argument?
– How does the chapter use parody to critique romance?
– Sinking of the boat as a plot point; the beautiful, dramatic, romantic scene is destroyed
by the boat sinking
– Language; how is it communicated?
– How is it creating a critique of romance?
– Shift of narrative order deflates the romance of the story
– “You don't think much about romance when you have just escaped from a watery grave”
– Anne is always thinking about romance; always looking forAvonlea to be more
– When romance collides with real life, real life always wins
– Dramatic departure from her usual approach of seeing romance in everything
– Suggesting thatAnne's reality has become more important; stories can only take
you so far
– Undercutting the romance she was trying to reenact; makes it seem less relevant
– The way she words it is much more romantic than the actual experience; still
holding on to her romantic view
– Language still borrowing from the kind of romantic story
– The languageAnne is using is still romantic; doesn't give up her idea of romance
– References to her prayers
– Very specific requests to God
– “Please take the flat close to the ...and I'll do the rest”
– Image of Elaine as dead in the boat sets up a very passive perspective; death as
the ultimate passive state; symbol of femininity
– When catastrophe strikes she saves herself; incredibly active in her own saving
– Element of the damsel who needs to be rescued (romantic)
– Also the damsel figuring out how to rescue herself
– When you start looking at the alternative (Ruby's reaction), what the chapter
does is give us a contrast between what the romantic heroin should be doing
(being dead), or what Ruby's reaction is (hysterics), andAnne does something
– Not scolded for her actions;Anne's activity was the right thing to do, even
though she didn't say a proper prayer
– Gilbert shows up; knight in shining offer
– Rescue should lead to damsel and knight in a relationship; occasion separates Anne and
Gilbert even further
– Rhythm as the chapter moves back and forth in a wave motion; thinking it's going to be romantic, and then discovering it's not
– Only by engaging with evidence at this level can you fully develop your ideas, support them,
and explain how the evidence supports the text
– Otherwise you end up generalizing about what the text does instead of showing how it does it
Domestic Fiction and the Ideal of Femininity
– Christian homemaking
– Domestic duties as spiritual ministry to the family
– Possibly some education
– Does the novel allow Anne to defy these ideas of femininity?
– Does her resistance turn into acceptance?
– Does it become a story of a girl's rebellion and her coming back to accept the norms of society?
Two things to Consider:
– Is the domestic idea of self-sacrifice and serving others restricted to women in this book, or held
up as a Christian ideal for men and women?
– Awoman's self-fulfilment cannot be put above the needs of the others around her
– Self-sacrifice as opposed to self-fulfilment being the key to what guides her
– IsAnne the only one who makes sacrifices? Is the ideal of self-sacrifice generalized?
– Domesticity not just about housework; about nurture
– Male characters also participate in these nurturing practices
– Matthew; able to express emotions without the reservations Marilla seems to
– Matthew's advice is to be as nice toAnne as they can without spoiling her
– About providing emotional support and nurturing that Marilla is
suspicious of at the beginning of the text
– How is this self-sacrifice? Matthew wanted a boy to help out on the farm,
but gave that up to giveAnne a good home