Critical Assessment

“This picture of Prince Edward Island life and character by a Prince Edward Islander of genius, Miss L. M. Montgomery, cannot fail to delight every Canadian who reads it. It is only necessary to read a few pages of the book to be assured that “Anne of Green Gables” is in conception and style, the fruit (the first fruit, we believe) of a richly endowed mind of rare imaginative capacity. Her scenes and the personages with which she peoples them become real as one reads.”

“Recent New Books,” The Gazette, August 14, 1908.

First Excerpt

“‘I can’t feel exactly perfectly happy because – well, what colour would you call this?’

“She twitched one of her long glossy braids over her thin shoulder and held it up before Matthew’s eyes. Matthew was not used to deciding on the tints of ladies’ tresses, but in this case there couldn’t be much doubt.

“‘It’s red, ain’t it?’ he said.

“The girl let the braid drop back with a sigh that seemed to come from her very toes and to exhale forth all the sorrows of the ages.

“‘Yes, it’s red,’ she said resignedly. ‘Now you see why I can’t be perfectly happy. Nobody could who has red hair. I don’t mind the other things so much – the freckles and the green eyes and my skinniness. I can imagine them away. I can imagine that I have a beautiful rose-leaf complexion and lovely starry violet eyes. But I cannot imagine that red hair away. I do my best. I think to myself, “Now my hair is a glorious black, black as the raven’s wing.” But all the time I know it is just plain red, and it breaks my heart. It will be my lifelong sorrow. I read of a girl once in a novel who had a lifelong sorrow, but it wasn’t red hair. Her hair was pure gold rippling back from her alabaster brow. What is an alabaster brow? I never could find out. Can you tell me?'”

thumb_anneofgreengablesSecond Excerpt

“‘Well, I’ll be Elaine,’ said Anne, yielding reluctantly, for, although she would have been delighted to play the principal character, yet her artistic sense demanded fitness for it and this, she felt, her limitations made impossible. ‘Ruby, you must be King Arthur and Jane will be Guinevere and Diana must be Lancelot. But first you must be the brothers and the father. We can’t have the old dumb servitor because there isn’t room for two in the flat when one is lying down. We must pall the barge all its length in blackest samite. That old black shawl of your mother’s will be just the the thing, Diana.’

“The black shawl having been procured, Anne spread it over the flat and then lay down on the bottom, with closed eyes and hands folded over her breast.

“‘Oh, she does look really dead,’ whispered Ruby Gillis nervously, watching the still, white little face under the flickering shadows of the birches. ‘It makes me feel frightened, girls. Do you suppose it’s really right to act like this? Mrs. Lynde says that all play-acting is abominably wicked.’

“‘Ruby, you shouldn’t talk about Mrs. Lynde,’ said Anne severely. ‘It spoils the effect because this is hundreds of years before Mrs. Lynde was born.'”