“The “Anne” series let us dream about adolescence while holding on to childhood. The world of Avonlea—Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, the apple blossoms and the knickers and caps, dance cards, hay rides, Gilbert’s patient and steadfast heart—was gentler than what we might have imagined about adolescence……a last moment of being able to enjoy gentler childhood ideals.” from “Why We Loved Gilbert Blythe” by Sarah Larson in The New Yorker
A couple of years ago, my daughter Stefanie wrote something on social media about “waiting for Gilbert Blythe.” I’m not sure the exact wording, but I remember laughing when a young woman who was six years older than Stefanie responded “Get in line.” This was the phenomenon that was Gilbert Blythe.
My daughters grew up on Anne of Green Gables. Megan Follows was a household word. We loved the books, we loved the movies. Like the quote above, this series let girls “dream about adolescence while holding on to childhood.” And that is a gift my friends.
In honor of the untimely passing of Gilbert Blythe on April 19, a man who woman, separated by generations, all loved, I offer you these quotes from the “Anne” series.
Quotes from Anne of Green Gables
“Well, that is another hope gone. My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes. That’s a sentence I read once and I say it over to comfort myself in these times that try the soul.”
“Dear old world,” she murmured, “you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.”
I don’t want any of it to change. I wish I could just hold on to those days forever. I have a feeling things will never be the same again, will they?
“It makes me very sad at times to think about her. But really, Marilla, one can’t stay sad very long in such an interesting world, can one?”
“There’s a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I’m such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn’t be half so interesting.”
“Would you please call me Cordelia?”
Anne Shirley: Don’t you ever imagine things differently from what they are?
Marilla Cuthbert: No.
Anne Shirley: Oh Marilla, how much you miss.
Quotes from Anne of Avonlea
“Gilbert stretched himself out on the ferns beside the Bubble and looked
approvingly at Anne. If Gilbert had been asked to describe his ideal
woman the description would have answered point for point to Anne, even
to those seven tiny freckles whose obnoxious presence still continued to
vex her soul. Gilbert was as yet little more than a boy; but a boy has
his dreams as have others, and in Gilbert’s future there was always a
girl with big, limpid gray eyes, and a face as fine and delicate as a
flower. He had made up his mind, also, that his future must be worthy of its goddess.”
“In Gilbert’s eyes Anne’s greatest charm was the fact that she never stooped to the petty practices of so many of the Avonlea girls — the small jealousies, the little deceits and rivalries, the palpable bids for favor. Anne held herself apart from all this, not consciously or of design, but simply because anything of the sort was utterly foreign to her transparent, impulsive nature, crystal clear in its motives and aspirations.”
“For a moment Anne’s heart fluttered queerly and for the first time her eyes faltered under Gilbert’s gaze and a rosy flush stained the paleness of her face. It was as if a veil that had hung before her inner consciousness had been lifted, giving to her view a revelation of unsuspected feelings and realities. Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music, perhaps. . . perhaps. . .love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath. ”
“I think for legions of young women around the world who fell in love with the ‘Anne of Green Gables’ films, Jonathan literally represented the quintessential boy next door, and there were literally thousands of women who wrote to him over the years who saw him as a perfect mate,” Kevin Sullivan, Producer of “Anne of Green Gables” as quoted in NY Times.
5 thoughts on ““I am Glad to be Alive in You!””
I remember swooning over Gilbert Blythe with my kindred spirit bosom friend, Amy Jo, when the movies first came out!
There were a few deep lines too. One I remember (not verbatim) which actually came from Marilla, when Anne asked, “Haven’t you ever been in the depths of despair, Marilla?” And she says, “No, because to despair is to turn your back on God.” I’ve thought about that often.
I got the whole Anne book series on my kindle, and it’s my best bed time reading. It never grows old. I still love actual paper and print books best, but limitations of space meant drastically reducing our library. After seeing the movies, my mental pictures morphed into those actors, especially Matthew, Marilla and Gilbert, and of course, Anne. We took our 2 oldest granddaughters to PEI when they were 9 and 6. Melanie had read all the books and Christi-Lynn was just beginning, such a wonderful time we had. We had intentions of taking our other granddaughters in turn, but alas, it never happened. I think all of us at times long for those “long ago days” when life was, at least in retrospect, gentler and simpler. Thank God for good books! A TV program last evening said that in another 2 generations, children won’t know what a book is. Well, the answer to that is for each generation to keep passing on that love for books. When Christi-Lynn was expecting her first baby, the family gave her a shower of children’s books. I’m encouraged when I see mothers with small children in tow carrying home a big bag of books from the library. Thanks, Marilyn!
Good ol’ Anne, my mother and I used to watch her when ever it was a rainy day. Didn’t we all at one stage want our very own Gilbert? I know when I was a young girl I sure did.
I have just lent the wonderful dvds to a family with 2 daughters who did not know Anne. I am trusting they will be as captivated as I was and still am!