Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery

So, I actually finished Anne a week ago, but I am a slacker, so I am just posting now.

In short, I loved it! I mean, I read the novel when I was younger, but it was a LONG time ago. Growing up, I watched the movies and was a faithful follower of Road to Avonlea, so I shouldn't be surprised I loved it so much, but I really did!

Now, what it really got me thinking about was the idea of the "Great Canadian Novel". Honestly, this isn't something that gets much discussion. Not nearly as much as the Great American Novel. Yet, the comparison is easy.

Now, for arguments sake, I am going to say that many critics consider The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain to be the Great American Novel. And when you think about, Anne is pretty similar.

For one, they are both about children without any parents. While Anne is lucky enough to get parents, Huck we see run around wild for the entire novel. As I mentioned in my last post, Anne truly captures the setting of PEI, as Huck Finn does for the south. Both books are episodic in nature- driven by the adventures of their young protagonists. Not to say they are identical, but it is easy to see the comparisons.

I think the most striking resemblance, however, is the way each character is brought to life through their distinctive dialect. The way Anne speaks is so important to who she is and how L.M. Montgomery paints her character. There is something so quintessentially Canadian about her speech and it truly makes the novel a great Canadian masterpiece. What makes Anne such a great character is how real she feels through her speech. Her strange character can be described over and over, but until she speaks, it isn't Anne Shirley. But her dialogue (her endless dramatic rants) make her character timeless.

Now, Huck Finn's dialogue is the polar opposite of Anne Shirley. I mean, you can barely read it! It is so vulgar and slangy. But they represent the same thing- a distinct cultural note about the time they represent. Huck wouldn't be Huck and Anne wouldn't be Anne without their distinctive speech.

Anyway, there are a million things I could post about Anne of Green Gables but I just had to make a comparison to Twain- mostly to cast my vote for Anne Shirley as the Great Canadian Character, in what I think may be the Great Canadian Novel.

Next up, Hey Nostradamus by Douglas Copeland

1 comment:

  1. Did you know that Mark Twain called Anne of Green Gables the dearest and most lovable child in fiction since the immortal Alice? The two authors are *very* connected.