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Lecture 6

ENGL208C Lecture 6: Module 6. Anne of Green Gables. Oct 11 2014.docx

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Kathryn Mc Arthur

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ENG 208C
Module 6
October 11 2014
Anne of Green Gables
An Introduction to Anne of Green Gables
What Makes Anne Canadian?
Published in 1908, and so comes roughly the same time period as Huck
Rejected by 10 publishers before it found a home
Mark Twain was one of the biggest fans of Anne
In a way similar to Huckleberry Finn, Anne of Green Gables shows the dangers of
Romance, but in keeping with romance the story is pulled back from the brink of
tragedy again and again
Begins with the orphan trade in Canada
oTaken from orphanage and given to people to be laborers
Totally based on folkloric structure
How Montgomery wished her life had turned out
Like many of our other authors. Montgomery wrote out of a longing for a “great
good place”, which becomes P.E.I. in the Anne books
Prince Edward Island
Anne goes to Avonlea which is a peninsula surrounded on three sides by water
Have to go down a hill and cross a brook to get to Avonlea – so its almost like an
island on an island
oDiscover victoria island
oTwo twin maple trees on the island
oThe maple trees are a representation of Anne and Diana
Grounding in the Real
The Real world
oAvonlea as Anne comes to it and the potential for tragedy
The world of Annes imagination (romance)
Once Anne moves to Avonlea things start to happen
oThe unsympathetic school teacher is replaced by Ms. Stacey
oThe unsympathetic minister and his wife are replaced
o The nastiest of Rachel Lynde starts to warm
The world of Avonlea starts to match up with her imagination
Each mistake teaches her something and moves her closer to the real
oThe brutally real starts to move closer to her imagination
oThe zone of overlap is created
The Author

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Was an orphan when she was very young but raised by her grandmother (who was
harsh and strict)
Owe some of the harsher aspects of Marilla
Montgomery had all the orphans questions
oWho am i?
oWhere do I belong?
oHow do I fit in?
oWhere am I going?
Recall: these questions about identity fit into the major movement of childrens
literature, dealing with individuation and maturation
Taboos about expressing love
Montgomery honored her promise to stay with her grandmother as long as she
was sill living
oWhich meant delaying her marriage and putting off her life
oHer outlet during these years was writing and out of it came Anne
When her grandmother died she married Ewan Macdonald and moved to Ontario
In Ontario she was very unhappy and longed for P.E.I. her “great good place”
Arborocentrism in Anne of Green Gables
=Tree centering
Very much a part of children’s literature
oTrees are old, with a certain wisdom ascribed to them
oTrees apparently die, and are reborn again each spring
oThere is a parallel between the growth of trees and the growth of humans
oThere is a stability about them; they have to face winds and harsh weather
to survive
oPart of two worlds: above ground and below ground, and partake in all
four elements: earth, air, water, and fire
oUse the elements to grow and live through photosynthesis (the process by
which the suns light is transformed into food for the trees)
Chlorophyll is green – so green is the color of transformation
oGreen is the median color on the color spectrum
oColor associated with spring, new growth, energy, renewal, rebirth and
Anne’s hair turns green when she tries to dye it black
oAs her grows back in it turns auburn
oMontgomery is working with the symbol and the association with trees
and green
oHow do you make a tree grow better? You prune it!
oAnne’s hair is cut and she grows into a well rounded child
I’m not changed-not really. I’m only just pruned down and branched out. The real
me-back here-is just the same…
A tree spirit = dryad
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