Still plowing through weekend papers:
In The Guardian, Margaret Atwood’s salute to Anne of Green Gables and “Annery”:
Nor is this process at an end: from the Anne of Green Gables Licensing Authority that gives the nod to all collateral products, expect more Anne boxed sets, Anne notepaper and Anne pencils, Anne coffee mugs and Anne aprons, Anne candies and Anne straw hats, and Anne — well, what else? Anne lace-edged pantaloon underclothing? Anne cookbooks — oops, we already have those.
Past the Annery is a moving tribute not just to Anne and L.M. Montgomery but to Marilla Cuthbert, too:
There’s another way of reading Anne of Green Gables, and that’s to assume that the true central character is not Anne, but Marilla Cuthbert. Anne herself doesn’t really change throughout the book. She grows taller, her hair turns from “carrots” to “a handsome auburn”, her clothes get much prettier, due to the spirit of clothes competition she awakens in Marilla, she talks less, though more thoughtfully, but that’s about it. As she herself says, she’s still the same girl inside. Similarly, Matthew remains Matthew, and Anne’s best chum Diana is equally static. Only Marilla unfolds into something unimaginable to us at the beginning of the book. Her growing love for Anne, and her growing ability to express that love – not Anne’s duckling-to-swan act – is the real magic transformation. Anne is the catalyst who allows the crisp, rigid Marilla to finally express her long-buried softer human emotions. At the beginning of the book, it’s Anne who does all the crying; by the end of it, much of this task has been transferred to Marilla. As Mrs Rachel Lynde says, “Marilla Cuthbert has got mellow. That’s what.”
“I was wishing you could have stayed a little girl, even with all your queer ways,” says Marilla in one of her weepy passages towards the end of the book. Marilla has finally allowed herself to make a wish, and now it’s been granted: over the past hundred years, Anne has stayed the same. Good luck to her for the second hundred.
Read the entire article here.