Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables Essay Questions

  1. 1

    One of Anne's character traits is a tendency to exaggerate and dramatize events. Discuss how her inappropriate, excessive responses affect her future relationships with other people.

    The famous "slate" scene is an example of Anne's tendency to overreact. When Gilbert Blythe teases Anne about her hair, lifting one of her braids and saying "Carrots!", Anne responds with fury, as though she had been attacked. She physically attacks Gilbert, breaking her slate over his head, and she despises him from that moment on. In reality, Gilbert is a nice boy who likes Anne and who is trying to interact with her through what he thinks is a little bit of harmless teasing. Anne's lasting hatred of him prevents them from forming a friendship throughout the rest of the book.

    Similarly, the shame Anne feels when she accidentally gets Diana drunk on Marilla's stash of alcohol instead of the fruit cordial she thought she was serving lasts far longer than the incident warrants. The story of Anne is looking at life full of exaggerations, whether the events in question happened accidentally or intentionally.

  2. 2

    What are Anne's literary influences, and how do they affect her development as a writer?

    Anne is influenced by the exaggerated romanticism of Tennyson and Sir Walter Scott. The overblown emotionality and drama of Tennyson's poetry, particularly "The Lady of Shalott," inspire a great deal of her own writing. Anne begins by writing poetry furtively, showing it only to trusted friends such as Diana, because, at some level, she accepts the Romantic notion of the poet or writer as an outcast or misfit person. Her emotionality makes her very sensitive to criticism, so she does not seek out feedback that might improve her writing technique.

  3. 3

    Is Anne's imagination more of an advantage or disadvantage in her life? Why?

    Advantage: Anne is able to solve problems creatively and capitalize on opportunities, and her hours of imaginative play with her "bosom friend" Diana lead to a strong, lifelong friendship. Her response to something so prosaic as red earth roads endears her to Matthew Cuthbert, who, in turn, helps her win Marilla over.

    Disadvantage: Anne's imagination causes her social problems when she misattributes bad or malicious motives to others. She nurses an irrational grudge against Gilbert Blythe, considering him an enemy after one of his teasing jokes misfires. This costs her potential friendships at school.

  4. 4

    L. M. Montgomery includes many descriptive passages describing Prince Edward Island and the small town of Avonlea in particular. What literary techniques does she use to create a vivid image for the reader?

    The very first paragraph includes a description of a brook that has been anthropomorphized: it is described as "well-conducted" and as having a sense of decorum. L. M. Montgomery is generous with her adjectives, describing a lane as "rutted" and "grass-lined". These particular adjectives appeal to senses beyond sight. The mention of grass evokes the smell of it, and the description of deep wheel ruts suggests the sensation of walking alongside them.

    L. M. Montgomery also uses metaphors. She describes an orchard as being in "a bridal flush of pinky-white bloom." Very few sentences are without an adjective of some kind. This affects the pacing of the narrative, slowing it down and allowing the reader to absorb more of the imagery. In the process, she develops a contemplative, almost whimsical tone that matches the story's heroine very well.

  5. 5

    How is the theme of belonging explored in Anne of Green Gables?

    At the beginning of the novel, Anne is an orphan and desperately wishes for a place to call home. Although she struggles to fit in with life in Avonlea, she charms her adoptive parents and quickly becomes settled at Green Gables farm. When Marilla tells her she can stay at Green Gables, Anne bursts into tears because it means so much to her to have a place to call home. As such, the idea of belonging is a crucial aspect of this text.

    Anne also earns the respect of the rest of the town, partly due to the fact she saves Mrs. Barry's daughter, Minnie May, who is suffering from croup. By the end of the novel, Anne becomes the teacher at the town's school, thereby becoming a central part of the community. As such, we see Anne's transition from struggling to fit in to becoming a central part of the community and having a clear sense of belonging.