7. The “Anne” Effect
Course: ENGL. 2801
In Prince Edward Island it is almost impossible to avoid an encounter with the freckled faced, red-headed heroine from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s novel, Anne of Green Gables. Anne is everywhere; her unique image can be found on everything from dolls to preserves. The Anne phenomenon is known worldwide and has been an integral part of the Island’s tourist industry since the early twentieth century. Lucy Maud Montgomery, one of Canada’s most prolific writers, created the beloved character of Anne that is celebrated not only in Prince Edward Island but around the world. The Island has capitalized on Anne’s charm and staying power, creating a marketing bonanza. Thanks to Anne, Prince Edward Island has become an international tourist destination and the ‘Anne’ craze shows no sign of slowing down.
For years, readers have been entranced with Lucy Maud Montgomery’s famous heroine Anne of Green Gables. Even in modern society, her active imagination, flaring temper and independent spirit translate into a relatable character. Anne mirrors many of Maud Montgomery memories and emotions; in essence, Anne is the romanticized version of the character Montgomery wished to be as a child. “Like Anne she knew lonely yearnings for the affectionate encouragement loving parents can give. Like Anne, she was imaginative and independent, but her grandparents and aunts and uncles felt it was their duty to subdue and chasten her pride and spontaneity.” (Waterston 10) The connection between the author and character helps to create a sense of realism with the depiction of Anne’s character. The real-life Island setting further enhances the element of realism for avid ‘Anne’ followers. During the time period in which Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote the novel there was a mass influx of immigration into Canada. Immigrants could relate to the misfit orphan because she was an outsider trying to find her place within the structures of society. Using her literary talents, Lucy Maud Montgomery was able to transfer a vision of life in Canada through Anne’s experiences. In the following passage from Montgomery’s book an immigrant to Canada describes her perspective of the country based on the book. “The world of the Cuthbert’s, the Lynde’s, and the Barry’s was the world of Canada- rural, rooted and white- a world to which I would have never had access to in any other way... the depth of understanding, the texture of generation of feuds and forgetting, the nature of Scots-Irish Presbyterianism, constituted a reality that only fiction could convey.”(Johnsten) Montgomery’s ability to bring to life the setting of this story and the values of rural society at the turn of the century evidences the bond she felt for her home province. By using a simplistic writing style and combining the story of Anne’s young life with the dazzling beauty of the Island, the reader is able to journey to Anne’s world. With her struggle to find her rightful place in Avonlea society, Anne’s sense of independence resonates with young readers today. Anne became not only a leader on the international stage but also the poster girl for Canada. The image created by this literary work is of a place where hopes and dreams can be realized. In Anne’s story, Anne’s dreary life as an orphan is transformed into a normal life. As she begins her new journey she is given the opportunity to perfect her talents and feed her imagination with the sights and sounds of Prince Edward Island. It is the child imagination in all of us that makes this novel so appealing.
Lucy Maud Montgomery native home of Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, is used as the setting of Anne’s new home. Through the character of Anne, Montgomery is able to capture the romantic essence of rural life and the stunning natural beauty of Prince Edward Island. The following passage provides an example of her literary skills in this context. "Spring had come once more...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document