As our bodies age, our souls, generally, do too. However, contrary to popular belief, you do not have to leave all of your childhood likes and dreams behind just because you are an adult. I suppose that once in a while, it is perfect to allow your heart a little bit of remedy in the form of simple, painless childish methods.
One of my most beloved remedies from childhood is Anne of Green Gables, a book by L. M. Montgomery. I think everybody knows this famous novel that has entertained young folk all over the world for more than a hundred years now, but if you are not familiar yet, let me introduce you.
Where does Anne of Green Gables take place?
The story takes place in Avonlea, a settlement on Prince Edward’s Island in Canada. Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are siblings who, with their growing age, found it increasingly hard to manage their farm, Green Gables, and they decided to adopt a boy from the orphanage. They were in for a surprise when, instead of a boy, a thin, decidedly red-headed and freckled girl who could talk through every single minute of the day, awaited them at the train station.
What is the Anne of Green Gables about?
From the beginning, the eleven year old girl was peculiar to say the least. She wanted to be called Cordelia, and upon being told she can only use her real name, she insisted it shall be spelled correctly – Anne with an e. Anne had, according to Marilla, a number of great faults – vanity, too much imagination, not saying her prayers every night… Despite that and upon Matthew’s insistence, she decided to keep the child and give her a home she craved.
Anne had a talent for “getting into scrapes”, as she herself had often put it. Forgetting to do her chores, lying about losing a thing she never even touched, accidentally drowning a mouse in dinner sauce, getting her first and dearest friend Diana drunk on accident, or breaking a slate on her classmate Gilbert’s head, there certainly was a lot. It provides great entertainment and makes you think back into your own childhood years and all the happy accidents it had brought.
However, Anne’s positive attributes outweighed all her mistakes. First of all, she never made the same mistake twice. When she did something wrong, her memory served her well the next time and she made up precautions to avoid doing the same thing again. She was also a great conversationalist. Something about her made everybody like her – she had a sweet soul that never left anybody indifferent in her presence. She would do anything for people she loved… except forgiving Gilbert Blythe for calling her carrots, that’s it.
Anne also made a point of finding something positive and beautiful in anything she saw or had to do. Her imagination was a great help – she might have been washing dishes, but no one could ever tell what she was actually doing in her head. She was also ambitious and competitive, which brought her to great places in her life.
Overall, I would greatly recommend this book, as well as its continuations – you can see Anne go to college, forgive a certain boy, go on adventures with Diana, get married, have children and, of course, get into numerous scrapes. Despite growing up and maturing, the talent to go through one problem and awkward situation after another never really left her.
Despite this being a relaxing book you can read whether you are young or old, I think you can also take a great deal of encouragement and inspiration from Anne. I made a short list of things she learned and did that might help you find some balance and peace within.
Look on the bright side
For Anne, there was always something to appreciate. It might have been raining, but she was as happy as if there was sunshine. She admired the grey clouds as much as she did the blue sky. So many hours did she spend drinking in the beauty of nature and everything around. There was rarely ever something she could not find a positive side to. Try it too. You will find after a while that the negatives leave by themselves, unsupported, and you will have only the positives to attend to.
Try to be good and helpful
Despite not being a boy, as Marilla and Matthew had wanted, she was willing and happy to learn. Even if she disliked an activity, she knew it needed to be done, and she never stalled or refused. Try to learn to do things in a way that will be comfortable for you, but at the same time it will be helpful to you and others.
Learn from your mistakes
As I have already mentioned, Anne never made the same mistake twice. As soon as she made one, she apologized and realised how to avoid it next time. Another thing, she never felt too bad about making mistakes, she was thankful for them most of the time. For her, they were merely learning opportunities. That is something many people need to learn. Accidents are bound to happen, but you do not need to be too afraid of them. Just make a note for yourself to try to avoid them in a certain way next time.
Be kind and try to see the best in people
There were people, like Mrs. Lynde, the sharpest tongue of the village, who Anne just despised in the beginning. However, she soon learned not to flourish hate, but love and friendship. Of course, there were people that she simply could not stand. An easy solution – she never associated with them. You are free to pick people that you love.
Anne, from the very first day, was determined to do well in school. She was competitive and smart, so she soon got to the head of the class, passed entrance exams to a prestige school, got a scholarship, and went to college… She achieved many more dreams, because she was determined and had many ambitions. In my opinion, it is better to have big dreams and plans and learn to accept that not all of them might work out, rather than underwhelming yourself and doing the bare minimum only to regret it later.
Anne of Green Gables – books
- Anne of Green Gables
- Anne of Avonlea
- Anne of the Island
- Anne of Windy Poplars
- Anne’s House of Dreams
- Anne of Ingleside
- Rainbow Valley
- Rilla of Ingleside
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