By Ruo Yu Ow
Anne of Green Gables, an inspirational story written by L. M. Montgomery, has captured the hearts of millions over decades. Anne Shirley was the heroine of my childhood, being imaginative and intelligent, yet hot-tempered and absent-minded at the same time. It is the perfect piece of work to read if you enjoy heart-warming stories for the festive season. To me, festivals are not merely about phenomenal celebrations or superb food, as they carry a deeper meaning of togetherness. A festive season, especially one with Christmas approaching makes me miss my family dearly. At this time of the year, I decided to reread the book that tells the story of a lonely soul finding where she belongs.
At this time of the year, I decided to reread the book that tells the story of a lonely soul finding where she belongs.
As the tale unfolds, the life of an orphan, Anne after meeting people she addresses as kindred spirits, is being portrayed exquisitely. These kindred spirits are the Cuthberts, Gilbert Blythe, Diana Barry and several other minor characters. Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are a pair of old and rather conservative siblings who have decided to adopt a boy to help in their farm work. However, there is a blunder and a girl is sent to them instead. Despite Matthew’s silent disapproval, Marilla intends to dismiss the skinny and freckled girl who chatters non-stop and is of no use to them. Eventually, she’s amused by Anne after a few occasions and decides to keep her for good. On the island, Anne merrily settles down and gets to know her neighbour named Diana Barry. The two share an instant connection and become bosom friends. If you’ve read the book, you’d certainly be charmed by Gilbert Blythe, a fine young gentleman who develops incandescent love for Anne the first time he lays his eyes on her. One of the most remarkable moments is an incident during Anne’s first day of school, in which she gets so mad at Gilbert for making fun of the colour of her hair by calling her carrot that she smashes a slate over his head. You’ll worship this teenaged love-hate relationship, of which Anne spends the next few years ignoring Gilbert’s presence despite his persistent effort to patch things up. One sees Anne unwittingly get herself into trouble, with her overwhelming imaginations and occasionally impetuous temperament, yet remain such a vibrant existence that it’s impossible to ignore the character. There are so many hilarious events in the book that consolidates the character irrevocably and makes you adore her even more.
A festive season … one with Christmas approaching makes me miss my family dearly.
I’ve always dreamed of living in a countryside like Prince of Edwards island, a beautifully sculpted piece of land where you’re capable of setting your imaginations free and letting them roam in the wildest ways. I see its resemblance here in Durham. I cherish the endured serenity and peacefulness, as well as the captivating sceneries in every nook and cranny of the city. I would sit on a bench on Windmill Hill and indulge in the solemnity of the cathedral while enjoying the tender sensation of the autumn breeze. I would linger on the Bridge that arches over the Durham River Wear, trying to mentally picture its resemblance to ‘The Lake of Shining Waters’ as quoted by Anne on her dramatic arrival in Avonlea. If you appreciate the beauty of nature as much, you’ll probably identify with Anne’s precise perception of magnificent landscapes and her expressive manner of putting them into words.
Montgomery’s outstanding storytelling has given Anne an influential personality and it always feels as if she’s way beyond a fictional character conjured up by fragments of the author’s imagination. Of all the books I’ve read, Anne of Green Gables remains one of my favourites. It is a tale that never gets old and I know that Anne will always be a part of me who is intrepid in what she does and imaginative in every possible way. You’ll learn from the book that it is often the simplicity in life that shapes you the best. Hence, I shall end the article with one of my favourite quotes from the book: ‘Look at that sea, girls–all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.’
Image: Ruo Yu Ow