Quotes from Anne of Green Gables

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From the 1985 production of Anne of Green Gables

 

I started watching the Netflix series of “Anne with an E” recently. The previous one I’d seen starred Megan Follows as Anne (produced in 1985) and was so excellent and well done. (It’s available to watch, for free, on anneofgreengables.com). There was a PBS production in 2016 (which I think I did see, but was not memorable; for one, I cannot imagine Martin Sheen as Matthew Cuthbert. If you’ve read the book, well, you know that just does not quite fit….

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This book is such a delightful read – so I thought I’d check out the Netflix production. I watched the first two episodes, then read some reviews. Apparently, their goal was to create a “darker” and more “moody” feel, purposefully straying away from the tone of the book.

My first question is, “Why?” Why do they want to mess with the spirit of the book? The story is enchanting and delightful all on its own, and they are messing it up with these pieces that don’t fit.

Anne has scary flashbacks from the torment of her days with the Hammonds and at the orphanage in the series. Nowhere in the book is her background detailed with those incidences. Further, the flashbacks of violent abuse when she worked as a servant, and bullying by other girls, make her statements later on seem odd, such as when she shouts back at Mrs. Lynde for calling her “ugly and thin”. Anne says she has never been insulted so much in her life. It’s hard to believe that, when the flashbacks showed scenes of Anne being treated and spoken to quite harshly by others in her life. It doesn’t mesh, and doesn’t quite make sense.

In addition, let’s think about the logic of that. Usually, a child who has been mistreated as they depicted would be likely to mistreat others. We do not see that tendency in Anne. We see a lonely girl, seeking a home, seeking friendship, who was mistreated as we can assume, but if it were as bad as they had depicted, I would think the character Anne would start out hating and lashing out at others, and gradually we’d see healing and a change. But that is not how the tale of Anne goes in the book. She is a bright girl with a natural disposition toward optimism despite bleak circumstances. She is an avid reader, when she is able to read and go to school, and has an astounding vocabulary for someone her age. To cope with her distressing life, she has developed a keen imagination. We don’t see the tragic Anne, though she is full of drama and tragedy (which is often quite comedic), but the original story is lacking the darkness of this new Netflix series.

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Anne, in the Netflix series

(Spoiler alert) Then there was the whole incident in Episode 2 of Matthew and Marilla sending Anne back to the orphanage (over a misunderstanding). That entire event is a complete fabrication; in the book, they never send her back, Matthew doesn’t fall and cut his head in the process. Anne doesn’t sleep in the woods outside the orphanage and make up a huge story about finding a long-lost rich aunt to the milkman so he’ll give her a carriage ride into town. Nor is the part true where Anne begs for money at the station where she will recite poetry from memory for only a “dollar”. It’s fun to see her recite the poetry and that some people would pay to hear her dramatic recitations, but none of that happened in the book (though she does recite poetry in other settings and situations in the book.)

As I’ve seen a couple more episodes, there are other fabrications.

I suppose the directors are trying to “imagine” just as much as Anne does… right?

(If you don’t know the story, Anne is an orphan; her parents die of sickness when she is an infant. She grows up in an orphanage, and often works for other families as a servant girl, where she endures working hard and not so nice conditions. When she has the chance, Anne likes to read, and has an imagination as large as the sky. She is quite bright, sunny, and talkative. When Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert (a brother and sister who live on their parents’ farm, and who never married) request for an orphan boy to adopt to help out on the farm, through some sort of error in miscommunication, they end up with a girl. That girl is Anne. Matthew goes to the train station expecting a boy but finds Anne instead. He can’t just leave her in the train station, so he takes her to their home for the night. Anne talks the entire way, chatting away at how excited she is to finally have a home, and expressing delight at the beauty of the area. When they arrive at Green Gables, Marilla is quite displeased and makes it clear she was expecting a boy. Well, this is news to Anne (because Matthew did not mention that), and Marilla declares that Anne cannot stay and they will make the journey in the morning to sort out the whole mess. And that is the beginning of the story.)

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Anne finally gets to wear a dress with “puffed sleeves” (from the 1985 production).  This one sure fits the description. I’m sure puffier sleeves were not so often seen…. :)

Oh, I know it is not uncommon for directors and producers of movies and TV series to take liberties, to distort, add, and take away from the original books. For this one, though, I’m not sure it’s working. And it’s too bad, since the young lady playing Anne is doing an excellent job.

Oh, and another minor thing I don’t like: the intro music at the beginning of episode 2. The opening graphics are beautiful and artistic, but the music does not fit whatsoever. The ending music is fine… but in the beginning? All wrong- wrong kind of music, lyrics, wrong tone- all of it. Not that it’s a bad song on its own, I’m sure, but it was distracting and didn’t set the right mood for the episode. It seemed out of place. Oh, and it continues on with Episode 3, and so forth, so unfortunately I suppose it is their “theme” song. The instrumental with the flute which is played in the background when Anne goes off to school for the first time at the beginning of Episode 3 is much more fitting.

The scenery and landscape of Prince Edward Island are stunning. So, despite the dark tales they are conjuring up, there are elements I enjoy, and I am finding myself wanting to move on right away to the next episode. Yes, despite what I don’t like, I am finding some of the original dialogue and the characteristic Anne escapades to remind me of the original.

For your enjoyment, here is a very long list of amusing, witty, and wise quotes from the book, Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. Some make me laugh, some are nostalgic, and others make me stop and think. There are so many, because there are just that many. :) Grab some coffee, and read on….

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“My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.”

“Well, that is another hope gone. My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes. That’s a sentence I read in a book once, and I say it over to comfort myself whenever I’m disappointed in anything.”

“Because when you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worth while.”

“Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I’d do. I’d go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I’d look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I’d just feel a prayer.”

“Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it… Yet.”

“But if you call me Anne, please call me Anne with an ‘e’.”

“Oh, it makes SUCH a difference. It LOOKS so much nicer. When you hear a name pronounced can’t you always see it in your mind, just as if it was printed out? I can; and A-n-n looks dreadful, but A-n-n-e looks so much more distinguished. If you’ll only call me Anne spelled with an E I shall try to reconcile myself to not being called Cordelia.”

“It’s all very well to read about sorrows and imagine yourself living through them heroically, but it’s not so nice when you really come to have them, is it?”

“Red hair is my life long sorrow.”

“It has always seemed to me. ever since early childhood, amid all the commonplaces of life, i was very near to a kingdom of ideal beauty. Between it and me hung only a thin veil. I could never draw it quite aside, but sometimes a wind fluttered it and I caught a glimpse of the enchanting realms beyond-only a glimpse-but those glimpses have always made life worthwhile.”

“Which would you rather be if you had the choice–divinely beautiful or dazzlingly clever or angelically good?”

“The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland.”

“I’ve done my best, and I begin to understand what is meant by ‘the joy of strife’. Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing.”

“Don’t you just love poetry that gives you a crinkly feeling up and down your back?”

“Don’t be very frightened, Marilla. I was walking the ridge-pole and I fell off. I suspect I have sprained my ankle. But, Marilla, I might have broken my neck. Let us look on the bright side of things.”

“They keep coming up new all the time – things to perplex you, you know. You settle one question and there’s another right after. There are so many things to be thought over and decided when you’re beginning to grow up. It keeps me busy all the time thinking them over and deciding what’s right. It’s a serious thing to grow up, isn’t it, Marilla?”

“…Oh, Marilla, looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them,” exclaimed Anne. “You mayn’t get the things themselves; but nothing can prevent you from having the fun of looking forward to them. Mrs. Lynde says, ‘Blessed are they who expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed.’ But I think it would be worse to expect nothing than to be disappointed.”

“You’re not eating anything,” said Marilla sharply, eying her as if it were a serious shortcoming. Anne sighed.

I can’t. I’m in the depths of despair. Can you eat when
you are in the depths of despair?”

I’ve never been in the depths of despair, so I can’t say,” responded Marilla.

Weren’t you? Well, did you ever try to IMAGINE you were in
the depths of despair?”

No, I didn’t.”

Then I don’t think you can understand what it’s like. It’s very uncomfortable a feeling indeed.”

 

“The world looks like something God had just imagined for his own pleasure, doesn’t it?”

“…Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive–it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?”

“Listen to the trees talking in their sleep,’ she whispered, as he lifted her to the ground. ‘What nice dreams they must have!”

“I am well in body although considerably rumpled up in spirit, thank you, ma’am,’ said Anne gravely. Then aside to Marilla in an audible whisper, ‘There wasn’t anything startling in that, was there, Marilla?”

“Do you think amethysts can be the souls of good violets?”

“I love a book that makes me cry.”

“I’ve just been imagining that it was really me you wanted after all and that I was to stay here for ever and ever. It was a great comfort while it lasted. But the worst of imagining things is that the time comes when you have to stop and that hurts.”

“Ruby Gillis thinks of nothing but young men, and the older she gets the worse she is. Young men are all very well in their place, but it doesn’t do to drag them into everything, does it?”

“It’s so hard to get up again—although of course the harder it is the more satisfaction you have when you do get up, haven’t you?”

“You’d find it easier to be bad than good if you had red hair,” said Anne reproachfully. “People who haven’t red hair don’t know what trouble is.”

“Marilla felt more embarrassed than ever. She had intended to teach Anne the childish classic, “Now I lay me down to sleep.” But she had, as I have told you, the glimmerings of a sense of humor–which is simply another name for a sense of the fitness of things; and it suddenly occurred to her that simple little prayer, sacred to the white-robed childhood lisping at motherly knees, was entirely unsuited to this freckled witch of a girl who knew and cared nothing about God’s love, since she had never had it translated to her through the medium of human love.”

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

“Keep that red-haired girl of yours in the open air all summer and don’t let her read books until she gets more spring into her step.” This message frightened Marilla wholesomely. She read Anne’s death warrant by consumption in it unless it was scrupulously obeyed. As a result, Anne had the golden summer of her life as far as freedom and frolic went. She walked, rowed, berried, and dreamed to her heart’s content; and when September came she was bright-eyed and alert, with a step that would have satisfied the Spencervale doctor and a heart full of ambition and zest once more. “I just feel like studying with might and main,” she declared as she brought her books down from the attic. “Oh, you good old friends, I’m glad to see your honest face once more – yes, even you, geometry.”

“…a little “appreciation” sometimes does quite as much good as all the conscientious “bringing up” in the world.”

“But I just went to work and imagined that I had on the most beautiful pale blue silk dress — because when you are imagining you might as well imagine something worth while…”

“Anne’s horizons had closed in since the night she had sat there after coming home from Queen’s; but if the path set before her feet was to be narrow she knew that flowers of quiet happiness would bloom along it. The joys of sincere work and worthy aspiration and congenial friendship were to be hers; nothing could rob her of her birthright of fancy or her ideal world of dreams. And there was always the bend in the road!”

“There was no mistaking her sincerity–it breathed in every tone of her voice. Both Marilla and Mrs. Lynde recognized its unmistakable ring. But the former understood in dismay that Anne was actually enjoying her valley of humiliation–was reveling in the thoroughness of her abasement. Where was the wholesome punishment upon which she, Marilla, had plumed herself? Anne had turned it into a species of positive pleasure.”

“But Anne with her elbows on the window sill, her soft cheek laid against her clasped hands, and her eyes filled with visions, looked out unheedingly across city roof and spire to that glorious dome of sunset sky and wove her dreams of a possible future from the golden tissue of youth’s own optimism. All the Beyond was hers, with its possibilities lurking rosily in the oncoming years — each year a rose of promise to be woven into an immortal chaplet.”

“Anne, are you killed?’ shrieked Diana, throwing herself on her knees beside her friend. ‘Oh, Anne, dear Anne, speak just one word to me and tell me if you’re killed.”

 

“Diana: “Gilbert told Charlie Sloan that you were the smartest girl in school, right in front of Josie.”
Anne: “He did?”
Diana: “He told Charlie being smart was better than being good looking.”
Anne: “I should have known he meant to insult me.”

“Dreams don’t often come true, do they? Wouldn’t it be nice if they did?”  (Yes, indeed, Anne, it sure would….)

“Life is worth living as long as there’s a laugh in it.” (I agree with you, Anne.)

“The eastern sky above the firs was flushed faintly pink from the reflection of the west, and Anne was wondering dreamily if the spirit of color looked like that…”

“Oh, I know I’m a great trial to you, Marilla,” said Anne repentantly. “I make so many mistakes. But then just think of all the mistakes I don’t make, although I might.” (Haha! Always looking at the bright side…)

“I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does.”

“Velvet carpet,” sighed Anne luxuriously, “and silk curtains! I’ve dreamed of such things, Diana. But do you know I don’t believe I feel very comfortable with them after all. There are so many things in this room and all so splendid that there is no scope for imagination. That is one consolation when you are poor–there are so many more things you can imagine about.”

“Anne was curled up Turk-fashion on the hearthrug, gazing into that joyous glow where the sunshine of a hundred summers was being distilled from the maple cordwood.”

“Outside the Snow Queen was mistily white in the moonshine; the frogs were singing in the marsh beyond Orchard Slope. Anne always remembered the silvery, peaceful beauty and fragrant calm of that night. It was the last night before sorrow touched her life; and no life is ever quite the same again when once that cold, sanctifying touch has been laid upon it.”

“Oh, don’t you see? There must be a limit to the mistakes one person can make, and when I get to the end of them, then I’ll be through with them. That’s a very comforting thought.”

“Don’t you feel as if you just loved the world on a morning like this?”

“But the worst of imagining things is that the time comes when you have to stop and that hurts.”

“Girls, sometimes I feel as if those exams mean everything, but when I look at the big buds swelling on those chestnut trees and the misty blue air at the end of the streets they don’t seem half so important.”

“She could keep her silence, it was evident, as energetically as she could talk.”

“Oh, Mr. Cuthbert,” she whispered, that place we came through–that white place–what was it?”

“Well now, you must mean the Avenue,” said Matthew after a few moments’ profound reflection. “It is a kind of pretty place.”

“Pretty? Oh, PRETTY doesn’t seem the right word to use. Nor beautiful, either. They don’t go far enough. Oh, it was wonderful–wonderful. It’s the first thing I ever saw that couldn’t be improved upon by imagination. It just satisfies me here”–she put one hand on her breast–“it made a queer funny ache and yet it was a pleasant ache. Did you ever have an ache like that, Mr. Cuthbert?”

“Well now, I just can’t recollect that I ever had.”

“I have it lots of time–whenever I see anything royally beautiful. But they shouldn’t call that lovely place the Avenue. There is no meaning in a name like that. They should call it–let me see–the White Way of Delight. Isn’t that a nice imaginative name?”

 

 

“If I wasn’t a human girl I think I’d like to be a bee and live among the flowers.”

“Imagination is what you need.”

“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”

“What a splendid day!’ said Anne, drawing a long breath. ‘Isn’t it good just to be alive on a day like this? I pity the people who aren’t born yet for missing it. They may have good days, of course, but they can never have this one.”

“The world looks like something God had just imagined for His own pleasure. This isn’t poetry but it makes me feel the same way as poetry does.”

“The trouble with you, Anne, is that you’re thinking too much about yourself. You should just think of Mrs. Allan and what would be nicest and most agreeable to her,” said Marilla, hitting for once in her life on a very sound and pithy piece of advice. Anne instantly realized this.”

“Some people are naturally good, you know, and others are not. I’m one of the others.”

“Do you never imagine things different from what they really are?” asked Anne wide-eyed.

“No.”

“Oh!” Anne drew a long breath. “Oh, Miss–Marilla, how much you miss!”

“She was as intense in her hatreds as in her loves.”

“She thought in exclamation points”

“I came to the conclusion, Marilla, that I wasn’t born for city life and that I was glad of it. It’s nice to be eating ice cream at brilliant restaurants at eleven o’clock at night once in a while; but as a regular thing I’d rather be in east gable at eleven, sound asleep, but kind of knowing even in my sleep that the stars were shining outside and the wind was blowing in the firs across the brook.”

“It almost seemed to her that those secret, unuttered, critical thoughts had suddenly taken visible and accusing shape and form in the person of this outspoken morsel of neglected humanity.”

“Am I talking too much? People are always telling me I do. Would you rather I didn’t talk? If you say so I’ll stop. I “can” stop when I make up my mind to it, although it’s difficult.”

“I’m glad and I’m sorry. I’m always sorry when pleasant things end. Something still more pleasant may come after, but you can never be sure. And it’s so often the case that it isn’t more pleasant.”

“I don’t want to talk as much,’ she said, denting her chin thoughtfully with her forefinger. ‘It’s nicer to think dear, pretty thoughts and keep them in one’s heart, like treasures.”

“Jane says she will devote her whole life to teaching, and never, never marry, because you are paid a salary for teaching, but a husband won’t pay you anything, and growls if you ask for a share in the egg and butter money.”

“Diana and I are thinking seriously of promising each other that we will never marry but be nice old maids and live together forever. Diana hasn’t quite made up her mind though, because she thinks perhaps it would be nobler to marry some wild, dashing, wicked young man and reform him.”

“Of course it’s better to be good. I know it is but it’s sometimes so hard to believe a thing even when you know it”

“Afar in the southwest was the great shimmering, pearl-like sparkle of an evening star in a sky that was pale golden and ethereal rose over gleaming white spaces and dark glens of spruce”

“Anne had brought her slate down on Gilbert’s head and cracked it—slate not head—clear across.”

“We _are_ rich,’ said Anne staunchly. ‘Why, we have sixteen years to our credit, and we are as happy as queens and we’ve all got imaginations, more or less. Look at that sea, girls – all silver and shallow and vision of things not seen. We couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.”

“I never knew before that religion was such a cheerful thing. I always thought it was kind of melancholy, but Mrs. Allan’s isn’t, and I’d like to be a Christian if I could be one like her.”

“Well, anyway, when I am grown up,” said Anne decidedly, “I’m always going to talk to little girls as if they were too, and I’ll never laugh when they use big words. I know from sorrowful experience how that hurts one’s feelings.”

“You know there are some people, like Matthew and Mrs. Allen, that you can love right off without any trouble. And there are others, like Mrs. Lynde, that you have to try very hard to love. You know you ought to love them because they know so much and are such active workers in the church, but you have to keep reminding yourself of it all the time or else you forget.”

“Spring had come once more to Green Gables-the beautiful, capricious Canadian spring, lingering along through April and may in a succession of sweet, fresh, chilly days, with pink sunsets and miracles of resurrection and growth. The maples in Lover’s Lane were red-budded and little curly ferns pushed up around the Dryad’s Bubble. Away in the barrens, behind Mr. Silas Sloane’s place, the mayflowers blossomed out, pink and white stars of sweetness under their brown leaves. All the school girls and boys had one golden afternoon gathering them, coming home in the clear, echoing twilight with arms and baskets full of flowery spoil.”

“I’m so glad my window looks east into the sun rising,” said Anne, going over to Diana. “It’s so splendid to see the morning coming up over those long hills and glowing through those sharp fir tops. It’s new every morning, and I feel as if I washed my very soul in that bath of earliest sunshine.”

“God is in His heaven. All is right in the world.”

“And as for risk, there’s risk in pretty near everything a body does in this world. – Marilla Cuthbert”

“How are you going to find out about things if you don’t ask questions?”

“I’m not in the depths of despair this morning. I never can be in the morning. Isn’t it a splendid thing that there are mornings?”

“You couldn’t really expect a person to pray very well the first time she tried, could you?”

“Don’t give up all your romance Anne, a little of it is a good thing – not too much of course-but keep a little of it.” – Matthew Cuthbert

“There is nothing but meetings and partings in this world” – Anne Shirley

“It’s lovely to be going home and know it’s home. I love green gables already, and I’ve never loved any place before. Oh, Marilla, I’m so happy.”

“When I don’t like the name of a place or a person I always imagine a new one and always think of them so. ”

“Oh, what I know about myself isn’t really worth telling, said Anne eagerly. If you’ll only let me tell you what I imagine about myself you’ll think it ever so much more interesting.”

“When the Lord puts us in certain circumstances He doesn’t mean for us to imagine them away.” (Hmmm. Well, imagining them away certainly doesn’t make them disappear….)

“pointed firs coming out against the pink sky- and that white orchard and the old Snow Queen. Isn’t the breath of the mint delicious? And that tea rose- why, it’s a song and a hope and a prayer all in one.”

“I shall always be pointed at as the girl who flavored a cake with anodyne liniment.”

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