Margaret Atwood on Anne of Green Gables

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Margaret Attwood on Anne of Green Gables from yesterday's Guardian review

The story of an orphaned, talkative, red-headed 11-year-old sent to a remote farm by mistake, Anne of Green Gables was an instant success in 1908 and, a century later, is still loved by girls from Canada to Japan. Margaret Atwood salutes a childhood classic....

Highly Recommended

There's another way of reading Anne of Green Gables, and that's to assume that the true central character is not Anne, but Marilla Cuthbert. Anne herself doesn't really change throughout the book. She grows taller, her hair turns from "carrots" to "a handsome auburn", her clothes get much prettier, due to the spirit of clothes competition she awakens in Marilla, she talks less, though more thoughtfully, but that's about it. As she herself says, she's still the same girl inside. Similarly, Matthew remains Matthew, and Anne's best chum Diana is equally static. Only Marilla unfolds into something unimaginable to us at the beginning of the book. Her growing love for Anne, and her growing ability to express that love - not Anne's duckling-to-swan act - is the real magic transformation. Anne is the catalyst who allows the crisp, rigid Marilla to finally express her long-buried softer human emotions. At the beginning of the book, it's Anne who does all the crying; by the end of it, much of this task has been transferred to Marilla. As Mrs Rachel Lynde says, "Marilla Cuthbert has got mellow. That's what."

What do people think of the current spate of prequels, viz Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson?

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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on March 30, 2008 8:40 PM.

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