Children's/Coming-of-Age, Montgomery, L.M.

Anne of Green Gables is Not Merely Another Orphan Story

ImageI never thought I would like Anne of Green Gables. For many girls, this novel was a childhood favorite, but commercials for film adaptations repulsed me. I assumed that Anne would be another stereotypical, saccharine orphan so frequently depicted in children’s literature. I was so wrong.

Anne arrives at the Cuthbert’s Green Gables on Prince Edward Island with an outrageous imagination that seems to always land her into trouble. Rachel Lynde, the village busybody, and Mrs. Barry, a friend of Marilla Cuthbert, find Anne’s character offensive. Such a loudmouthed, talkative girl has no business in Avonlea.

But, Anne of Green Gables is not another novel about an orphan girl.  This is a character study. This is a coming-of-age novel. While it is true that Anne comes to have a positive impact on the people she meets, Anne is not flawless. Unlike many children’s books where the characters are more like caricatures, characters in Anne of Green Gables are multi-dimensional. Only such characters have the potential to grow as individuals. Caricatures cannot.

To all my readers: If you enjoyed Anne of Green Gables as a child, what did you like the most? If you read it again as an adult, did anything change in your understanding/appreciation of the novel?

4 thoughts on “Anne of Green Gables is Not Merely Another Orphan Story”

  1. I never read this book as a child. I read it as an adult, and then I watched the movie with my Mom. Only a few minutes into it, she burst out laughing (as Anne Shirley is prattling & prattling to Matthew during the initial ride to Green Gables) and said, “Anne is you!” 🙂

  2. I read Anne of Green Gables (along with all the sequels) when I was about 11. I think I also loved the fact that Anne wasn’t picture perfect: she had her faults. Reading the series as a child, I liked the first three books because the main character was still fairly young and relatable to a 11-year-old reader. However, if I were to read it today, my opinion might change in favour of the later books in the series.

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