This week's Anne of Green Gables Read-a-long is by Lindsay Paris, a news producer from Massechusetts. She's be discussing "Chapter VIII: Anne's Bringing Up is Begun." Welcome, Lindsay!
CHAPTER VIII - ANNE’S BRINGING UP IS BEGUN
By Lindsay Paris
“Oh, please, Miss Cuthbert, won’t you tell me if you are going to send me away or not? I’ve tried to be patient all the morning, but I really feel that I cannot bear not knowing any longer.”
The reader certainly echoes Anne’s sentiment, as we are left in suspense at the end of Chapter VII: Will Anne be able to stay on at Green Gables? With a resounding confirmation from Marilla (albeit only after a proper scalding of the dish-cloth), our hearts are set at ease, as Anne’s soars to the highest heights: “Oh, glad doesn’t seem the right word at al. I was glad about the White Way and the cherry blossoms - but this! Oh, it’s something more than glad. I’m so happy.”
With Anne’s desire for a permanent address now satiated, this affection-starved young girl soon sets her sights on building a true home, surrounded by family and friends. Her first instinct is to ditch the formal “Miss Cuthbert” for the much more familiar “Aunt Marilla”. Marilla will have none of this; as she tells Anne bluntly, “Everybody, young and old, in Avonlea calls me Marilla except the minister. He says Miss Cuthbert - when he thinks of it.”
Anne is bewildered by Marilla’s lack of situational creative reinterpretation:
"Do you never imagine things different from what they really are?”
“Oh, Miss - Marilla, how much you miss!”
And how right Anne is!
Marilla promptly dives into to her method of bringing up a proper young lady, which means our red-headed heroine dives into her Lord’s Prayer. While studying/daydreaming, Anne wonders aloud if she shall ever find a bosom friend in Avonlea, the kind that she has only been able to imagine in her prior life, as a hired girl expected to earn her keep. (On an unrelated note, one of the things that has struck me most in rereading AOGG as an adult has been the thought of taking in an orphaned child under 10 years old to care for your home and children! A different era, for sure!)
Anne has had two imaginary bosom friends - Katie Maurice, whose reflection Anne saw looking back at her through the glass of Mrs. Thomas’ bookcase door, and Violetta, never seen, but heard as Anne’s voice echoed back to her in a little green valley at Mrs. Hammond’s. Marilla informs her that there is, in fact, a little girl about her age next door - and here, we come upon the first mention of Anne’s beloved Diana Barry. Anne is elated to learn that not only is there a potential friend nearby, but a good-looking potential friend! “Oh, I’m so glad she’s pretty. Next to being beautiful oneself - and that’s impossible in my case - it would be best to have a beautiful bosom friend.” Anne skips up to her room to study and wait for Marilla’s call to tea. But being Anne, she can’t help but bask in her joy at being able to call herself, for the first time, “Anne of Green Gables”.
Lifelong Anne-lover Lindsay Paris is a news producer in Massachusetts. She will never stop trying to instill a love of Anne in her daughters, which has proved challenging in an age of smartphones and Animal Jam.