Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables is a novel chronicling Anne’s new life in Avonlea into her new home by the Cuthberts. This story gives the reader a look at how Anne grows up from a clumsy and at times awkward girl into a lovely mature and well-mannered lady. This however did not happen overnight. Many incidents occurred throughout the novel to show all the mishaps that Anne went through in her young adolescent life. Although food may seem like an insignificant symbol to discuss, it did carry an important social and psychological role within Anne of Green Gables. This essay will discuss the literal and figurative implications that food had in this story.
Siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert welcome Anne into their home thinking they were going to be greeted by a young man. Little did they know a young woman was coming to live with them. The Cuthberts’ reasons for adopting Anne was for someone to help with the labour on the farm. Back in that day, it was normal for people to work on their farm and acquire food from the farm. It was the way of life, it was an important way of living. Because Matthew is getting older, he was finding it extremely difficult to work on the farm as he did before, both him and his sister Marilla realized that they needed help around the farm and decided to adopt a boy. Much to their surprise, a young girl shows up. Matthew goes to pick up their adopted chil.On her way to Green Gables, Anne rarely stops chattering, she reveals her excitement for her new life - everything she dreamed of, a home, a dream come true. Away from the orphanage, she becomes excited as she makes remarks about the beautiful landscape and the way she compares the lush trees of Avonlea to the scrawny little saplings at the orphanage where she way staying. Sadly, Matthew and Marilla were extremely puzzled to find a young girl coming to stay with them because to them a young girl would be useless in this case. They consider an orphan a pair of hands rather than a child with a personality and needs. Instead of adopting a child to love and nurture, to take care of and have a family which most people would do today, the Cuthberts only adopted a child to help around with he farm work. In this way, food plays an important psychological role. Without help around the farm, it would be hard to acquire food and live the lifestyle that people lived back in that day in the small town of Avonlea.
Hiring a boy to help with the farm, the Cutheberts decide to keep Anne. And so begins the reader’s inisight into Anne’s personailty and characteristics that define who she is.
Anne’s first display of her hot temper comes when Mrs. Rachel Lynde makes fun of her and makes a rude comment stating: “She’s terrible skinny and homely, Marilla . . . And hair as red as carrots!” (Montgomery, 65). Anne didn’t find herself beautiful but wished she was. Even once stating that she would: “rather be beautiful than smart” (Montgomery, 143). She hated her orange hair and freckles and wishes she were a brunette instead. Anne’s first meeting with Mrs. Rachel Lynde lays the foundation for a proper demonstration of vanity. Anne is offended by Mrs. Lynde’s comments about her appearance and this causes her to have a terrible outburst of anger. Anne was forced to apologize to Mrs. Lynde. She puts forth a tremendous display of humility and is very pleased over the thoroughness of her own apology. Marilla sees Anne "... reveling in the thoroughness of her abasement." (Montgomery, 75) Anne comments to Marilla "I apologized pretty well, didn"t I?" (Montgomery, 75) Anne continues to explain to Marilla that she "boils over" when people make fun of her looks. Marilla responds by telling Anne that she is a vain little girl and shouldn’t think so much about her looks. In this section of the story we are shown how little confidence Anne has when it comes to the way she looks. Again, food is used here and symbolized in a social manner. Mrs. Rachel Lynde mocks Anne’s...
Cited: Montgomery, L. M. Anne of Green Gables. Ed. Cecily Devereux. Broadview Editions. Series ed. L. W. Conolly. Peterborough, ON: Broadview, 2004. Print.
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