Anne of Green Gables

The Rejection of Maternalism in L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables College

“‘I wouldn’t be in that orphan’s shoes for anything” – The Rejection of Maternalism in L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables

Maternalism is a huge theme in L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables; however, not in the usual way. Typically, women are believed to inherit a number of maternal qualities, or rather, a wealth of knowledge on how to raise children. In Anne of Green Gables, the rejection of this belief is quite evident. Marilla’s uneasiness towards Anne is seen immediately after their first meeting, showing that she lacks the “mother’s intuition,” while Mathew connects with Anne immediately. Though Marilla attempts to punish Anne properly, again, it is Mathew who achieves what Marilla fails in doing. Additionally, Marilla must constantly remind herself to give Anne advice in order for her to grow up properly and yet, Mathew is a complete natural in aiding Anne to live her best life. In terms of maternalism, Marilla should be the one excelling at all of the motherly duties; however, Mathew is constantly one-upping her without even trying. L.M. Montgomery’s novel, Anne of Green Gables, rejects the notion of maternalism through Marilla’s incompetence as a mother and Mathew’s achievement in everything that Marilla seems to...

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