I think we can all identify with feeling out of place, finding one (or many) components of our bodies undesirable, but still feeling the urge to try and fit in. It is this relatability that made me first fall in love with Anne Shirley. Now as an adult I can see her subtle influence in my life as I’ve embarked on the adventure that is marriage and parenting as a feminist.
What I admire most about Anne are her perseverance and forward thinking (yes, I know that’s really two things). At the time she “lived” she obtained the highest level of education a woman could earn. She used her education to enrich the lives of those around her, rather than to belittle them, and as far as I’m concerned that’s the entire point of pursuing knowledge. Her children are better because they have a mother with a vivid imagination and a rich worldview.
More than her forward-thinking ways, I have to admire her perseverance. Anne’s life is marked by moments where she feels invisible and very nearly gives up. As a child, she calls these moments “the depths of despair.” As an adult, her feelings of invisibility and loneliness arise despite being surrounded by those who love her as a result of little Joyce’s death and the subsequent years-long slog of raising children and managing a household. I have been reflecting on those moments recently and have found inspiration in knowing that Gilbert, Marilla, and others do see her and work hard to help. It reminds me that this is the case for me also, although it may not feel that way.
I will admit, this post is slightly more morose than I would have expected when I started out. But truly, Anne Shirley Blythe is truly a character that is so real and so easy to relate to that you truly do feel as if you can do “it” because Anne did it.