Anne of Green Gables (Montgomery)

Anne of Green Gables
Lucy Maud Montgomery, 1908
Modern Library
320 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780812979039

Matthew had taken the scrawny little hand awkwardly in his; then and there he decided what to do. He could not tell this child with the glowing eyes that there had been a mistake. . . .

When eleven-year-old Anne Shirley arrives at Green Gables with nothing but a carpetbag and an overactive imagination, she knows that she has found her home.

But first she must convince the Cuthberts to let her stay, even though she isn’t the boy they’d hoped for. The loquacious Anne quickly finds her way into their hearts, as she has with generations of readers, and her charming, ingenious adventures in Avonlea, filled with colorful characters and tender escapades, linger forever in our memorie.

This Modern Library edition of the first of L. M. Montgomery’s beloved and immensely popular Avonlea novels features the restored original text and an Introduction by the noted children’s literature scholar Jack Zipes. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—November 30, 1874
Where—Clifton, Prince Edward Island, Canada
Death—April 24, 1942
Where—Toronto, Ontario
Education—Prince of Wales College; Dalhousie
Honors—Order of the British Empire (OBE); Fellow
   of the Royal Society of Arts, England; Person of
   National Historic Significance, designated by the
   Government of Canada

Lucy Maud Montgomery OBE, called "Maud" by family and friends and publicly known as L. M. Montgomery, was a Canadian author best known for a series of novels beginning with Anne of Green Gables, published in 1908. The book was an immediate success—its central character Anne, an orphaned girl, made Montgomery famous in her lifetime and gave her a large international following.

The first Green Gables novel was followed by a series of sequels with Anne as the central character. Montgomery went on to publish 20 novels, as well as 500 short stories and poems. Because many of the novels were set on Prince Edward Island, Canada and the Canadian province became literary landmarks. She was awarded Officer of the Order (OBE) of the British Empire in 1935. Her literary works, diaries and letters have been read and studied by scholars and readers worldwide.

Early life
Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in Clifton (now New London), Prince Edward Island on November 30, 1874. Her mother, Clara Woolner Macneill Montgomery, died of tuberculosis when Lucy was 21 months old. Stricken with grief over his wife’s death, Hugh John Montgomery gave custody over to Montgomery’s maternal grandparents. Later he moved to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan when Montgomery was seven years old. Lucy's grandparents, Alexander and Lucy Macneill, raised her in a strict and unforgiving manner. Her ’s early life in Cavendish was very lonely. Montgomery credits this time of her life, in which she created many imaginary friends and worlds to cope with her loneliness, as what developed her creative mind.

Montgomery completed her early education in Cavendish with the exception of one year (1890–1891) during which she was at Prince Albert with her father and step-mother. In November 1890, while at Prince Albert, the Charlottetown paper The Daily Patriot published her poem "On Cape LeForce"—it was her first published work.

Her return to Prince Edward Island in 1891 was a great relief to her (her relationship with her stepmother was an unhappy one). In 1893 Montgomery completed her grade school education in Cavendish and attended Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown, earning a teacher's license. In 1895 and 1896, she studied literature at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Adult life and writing
Montgomery worked as a teacher in various island schools, and although she did not enjoy teaching, it afforded her time to write. Beginning in 1897, she began to have her short stories published in various magazines and newspapers. Over the next 10 years she published more than 100 stories.

During her teaching years, Montgomery had numerous love interests. An aattractive and fashionable young woman, she enjoyed the attentions of several young men. After a lengthy period of flirtation and refusals of several marriage proposals, she eventually married Ewen Macdonald in 1911.

In the intervening years, however, Montgomery moved back to Cavendish to live with her widowed grandmother until her grandmother's death in 1911. She was inspired to write her first books during her time on Prince Edward Island and enjoyed considerable income from her publications, especially from Anne of Green Gables. Published in 1908, Anne, her first book, was an immediate success, establishing Montgomery's career. She would write and publish other works (including numerous sequels to Anne) for the rest of her life.

Although enjoying her income and the independence it allowed, Montgomery was aware that “marriage was a necessary choice for women in Canada.” Shortly after her grandmother's death in 1911, she married Ewen (spelled in her notes and letters as "Ewan") Macdonald (1870–1943), a Presbyterian Minister. The couple moved to Ontario where he had taken the position of minister of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, Leaskdale, (present-day Uxbridge Township). Montgomery wrote her next eleven books from the Leaskdale manse. The structure was subsequently sold by the congregation and is now the Lucy Maud Montgomery Leaskdale Manse Museum.

The Macdonalds had three sons, the second of whom was stillborn. The great increase of Montgomery's writings in Leaskdale is the result of her need to escape the hardships of real life. Montgomery underwent several periods of depression while trying to cope with the duties of motherhood and church life and with her husband’s attacks of religious melancholia and deteriorating health. For much of her life, writing was her one great solace. It was also during this time that she was engaged in a series of difficult lawsuits with the publisher L.C. Page,. The suits dragged on until she finally won in 1929.

In 1920 Montgomery stopped writing about Anne, preferring to create books about other young, female characters. Other series written by Montgomery include the "Emily" and "Pat" books, which, while successful, never reached the same level of acclaim as the "Anne" volumes. She also wrote a number of stand-alone novels, which were also generally successful, if not as successful as her Anne books.

In 1926, the family moved in to the Norval Presbyterian Charge, in present-day Halton Hills, Ontario, where today the Lucy Maud Montgomery Memorial Garden can be seen from Highway 7.

In 1935, upon her husband's retirement, Montgomery moved to Swansea, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto, buying a house which she named Journey's End, situated on the Humber River. Montgomery continued to write, and returned to Anne after a 15-year hiatus with Anne of Windy Poplars in 1936, Jane of Lantern Hill in 1937, and Anne of Ingleside in 1939.

In the last year of her life, Montgomery completed what she intended to be a ninth book featuring Anne, titled The Blythes Are Quoted. It was republished as a collection of short stories, The Road to Yesterday, in 1974. A complete edition of The Blythes Are Quoted, edited by Benjamin Lefebvre, was published in its entirety by Viking Canada in October 2009.

Montgomery died on April 24, 1942. A note was found beside her bed, read, in part, "I have lost my mind by spells and I do not dare think what I may do in those spells. May God forgive me and I hope everyone else will forgive me even if they cannot understand. My position is too awful to endure and nobody realizes it. What an end to a life in which I tried always to do my best."

While it was reported that Montgomery died from coronary thrombosis, in 2008 her granddaughter, Kate Macdonald Butler said that Montgomery suffered from depression—possibly as a result of caring for her mentally ill husband for decades—and may have taken her own life via a drug overdose. But Mary Rubio a biographer (Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings, 2008), believes the message was intended as a journal entry rather than a suicide note.

Montgomery was buried at the Cavendish Community Cemetery in Cavendish following her wake in the Green Gables farmhouse and funeral in the local Presbyterian church.

All told, Montgomery published 20 novels, over 500 short stories, an autobiography, and a book of poetry. Aware of her fame, by 1920 Montgomery began editing and recopying her journals, presenting her life as she wanted it remembered. In doing so certain episodes were changed or omitted. Her major collections are archived at the University of Guelph, while the L.M. Montgomery Institute at the University of Prince Edward Island coordinates most of the research and conferences surrounding her work.

Despite the fact that Montgomery published over twenty books, "she never felt she achieved her one 'great' book." Her readership, however, has always found her characters and stories to be among the best in fiction. Mark Twain said Montgomery’s Anne was “the dearest and most moving and delightful child since the immortal Alice." Montgomery was honoured by being the first female in Canada to be named a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in England and by being invested in the Order of the British Empire in 1935.

A national park was established near Mongomery's home in Cavendish in honour of her works. Her home of Leaskdale Manse in Ontario and the area surrounding Green Gables and her Cavendish home in Prince Edward Island have both been designated National Historic Sites of Canada. Montgomery herself was designated a Person of National Historic Significance by the Government of Canada in 1943.

Her life's work does not only live on in print but in movies, television shows and cartoons that have become enduring favorites to fans who have never even read a word she has written.

In 1975 Canada Post issued "lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables" designed by Peter Swan and typographed by Bernard N.J. Reilander. The 8¢ stamps are perforated 13 and were printed by Ashton-Potter Limited. (From Wikipedia.)

Book Reviews
Who can resist another encounter with Anne Shirley? Is it possible to do justice to one of literature's most beloved girls? Since its publication in 1908, Anne of Green Gables has been recognized as a classic, as well as a hallmark of great Canadian literature. To celebrate the 100th year since it was first published, Deirdre Kessler has written a beautifully-crafted adaptation that takes this novel into the 21st century without losing any of its charm. Many famous episodes are included in this wonderful retelling, such as Anne's arrival at Green Gables, the tempest in the schoolroom, Anne's debut as Lady Elaine in a King Arthurian re-enactment, and the final scene, in which Anne and Gilbert Blythe finally reconcile their differences and become friends. Anne Shirley emerges from this adaptation just as lovable, imaginative, and impulsive as she is in L. M. Montgomery's original novel—and on her way toward winning the hearts of another generation of readers around the world. This book will inspire young readers to return to the classic novel, and the illustrations will appeal to anyone who has ever loved the original. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D..
Children's Literature

Discussion Questions
1. In chapter 2, when Matthew is driving Anne back to Green Gables, she asks him: “Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive” (p. 16). Given her tragic childhood, how do you think Anne is able to maintain such a positive attitude?

2. From the moment she arrives in Avonlea, Anne is insistent on renaming places and inanimate things. Barry’s Pond, for example, becomes “The Lake of Shining Waters” and Marilla’s geranium becomes “Bonny.” Why do you think she does this? 

3. Marilla gives several reasons for finally deciding to keep Anne. What reason do you think most changed her mind? 

4. “Scope for imagination” is a characteristic that Anne treasures highly in others. Discuss the role of imagination in the novel. How does it shape Anne’s time at Green Gables? How does it evolve in other characters around her? 

5. Good behavior is very important to Marilla and very difficult for Anne. From where do you think each derives her moral code? How do both characters change, when it comes to behavior? Think, in particular, of Anne’s confessions. 

6. Anne is a remarkably compassionate child and is able to forgive even those who have judged her unfairly, such as Mrs. Rachel Lynde or Mrs. Barry. Why, then, do you think she holds such a grudge against Gilbert Blythe? 

7. Why is it so important to Anne to have a dress with puffed sleeves? Why is it important to Matthew? 

8. When Anne is at Queen’s College, she thinks: “All the Beyond was hers with its possibilities lurking rosily in the oncoming years—each year a rose of promise to be woven into an immortal chaplet” (p. 266). How is this message both hopeful and sad? How do you think Anne’s conceptions of the future change throughout the book? 

9. Discuss Anne’s reaction to Matthew’s death. How do you think it shows her maturation? How, if at all, do you think she was prepared for it? 

10. At the end of the book, Rachel Lynde tells Marilla, “There’s a good deal of the child about her yet in some ways,” and Marilla responds by saying, “There’s a good deal more of the woman about her in others” (p. 285). What do you make of her comment? How has Anne changed during her time at Green Gables? How has she stayed the same?
(Questions issued by publisher.)

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