Milk and Honey Magazine's take on becoming like Anne Shirley in the novel (and movie) Anne of Green Gables!

Becoming Anne Shirley

Kate Ashbrook

"I don't know what lies around the bend, but I'm going to believe that the best does." 

There are many strong and admirable female characters in literature. To name some of my favourites; there's the honest and headstrong Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & PrejudiceJane Eyre in the novel that was simply named after her or even the persistent, determined, and effervescent Jo March in Little Women. The list goes on and on. These are those "take no nonsense" kind of women. You may even know someone like this in your life. If I had to crown one of these ladies as my very favourite, I would have to go with Anne Shirley from the beloved classic Anne of Green Gables

For the past couple of months, I've been in quite a pit. I'm one to be very honest and open about the struggles I go through. I simply feel like I was placed on this earth to share my story in order to make others feel less alone. Well lately, my depression and anxiety have been the highest it's been in a long time. I was constantly paranoid, convincing myself that I wasn't worthy - whether that be worthy of love, life, happiness or anything good for that matter...the nasty thoughts were hitting me and they were hitting me hard. I couldn't help but think that my life was awful, seeing all of it's flaws in tecnicolor where everything else seemed black and white. I honestly felt like I was drowning and didn't know how long I could continue to tread water. 

I bring up my favourite literary red-head because lately, her story and her strength have brought me so much light. I decided to re-read the novel because I wanted to fill my time that might be spent in my head - a little bit of a distraction you might call it. I got lost in the dreamy world of Avonlea. Green Gables was a place of refuge for me like it was for Anne herself. I love how books can whisk you away sometimes. 

For those of you who don't know the story of my darling, Anne Shirley - this girl has seen and been through a lot. Becoming at orphan at only 3 months of age, she was in and out of orphan asylums as well as toxic households that would only use her for her labor and not to love and care for her. I know, it's heartbreaking right? By mistake, she was then brought to Avonlea on Prince Edward Island and to the home of Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, who originally sent for a boy from the orphanage, but there was a miscommunication. The idea of leaving the asylum brought so much joy to Anne's already optimistic and imaginative personality - dreaming of the life she would live at Green Gables. Once she is made aware of the miscommunication, this is another difficult bullet for her to take, for she already has felt so unwanted her 11 years of life.

Milk and Honey Magazine's take on becoming like Anne Shirley in the novel (and movie) Anne of Green Gables!

Anne ends up staying at Green Gables despite causing some mischief and letting her fiery temper get the best of her. She then attends school, makes a dear bosom friend in Diana Barry, excels in academia and ends up becoming the top of her class. So don't worry, there are many sweet endings for our dear "Anne with an 'e'.

But what I love most about Anne is that though she still suffers greatly, she manages to find the beauty in even the simple things. She even pesters people to spell her name with an "e" at the end simply because it looks more alluring, elegant, and distinguished. She renames special places in Avonlea because she feels their names don't compare to their beauty. The Avenue becomes The White Way of Delight, Barry's Pond becomes The Lake of Shining Waters. I truly see it as an admirable mindset to have. There is so much beauty to be found, even when things seem to be falling apart. Here are some of my very favorite Anne Shirley quotes from the novel that bring light to my life and I hope they do the same for you. 

  • “Dear old world', she murmured, 'you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you." 
  • “Oh, it's delightful to have ambitions. I'm so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them-- that's the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.” 
  • “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.”  
  • “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 know all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?" 
  • "Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it...yet."

And those are only some of them. The novel is full of beauty intertwined with words that make you smile. I think if we all were to think a little more like Anne Shirley, a girl who has seen a ton of hardship and yet continues to seek and find beauty - we would find that it will be easier to make it through every day. My friends, we simply weren't created to wish away and be impatient for the end of each day.

Be like Anne, and take a little time to look around and soak in the masterpiece around you.

Learn more about the beautiful author, Kate!

*M&H does not own Anne Shirley photo