Tuesday, 1 July 2014
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery
This was written in the days when the where the story is happening was more important than what is happening. However, all is not as it seems with this opening that begins with setting. At first glance, the setting may be regraded as a drawback with its overdose of semicolons, but there is some nicely written prose here. More importantly, this opening takes advantage of the setting to introduce and establish the character of Mrs. Lynde,which is not a technique one reads every day.
The opening line begins idyllically enough until the stream reaches Mrs. Lynde's house. I like how the stream and perhaps all of nature, must behave according to Mrs. Lynde's sensibilities with due regard for decency and decorum. Adding that the stream must be conscious of where Mrs. Lynde is as she is a gossip and busybody. By making the river a character that is perhaps afraid of Mrs. Lynde, tone is established, subtly hyperbolic, much like one might find in a Harry Potter novel.
Right away we are made aware of the stark contrast between character and setting. The beautiful countryside of Prince Edward Island amidst the strictness of the Victorian age; this motif continues throughout the opening pages.
So, in this long sentence that sort of cheats with all the semicolons, we get some foreshadowing of conflict in that Mrs. Lynde is not the kind of person one can have much fun with and any child that comes in contact with her or those of her kind will suffer. Indeed, the next few pages are written, it seems, with only one purpose in mind: to drive the fear of Mrs. Lynde and perhaps adults in general into the hearts and minds of readers.
First thing said:
"I'll just step over to Green Gables after tea and find out from Marilla where he's gone and why."
So says Mrs. Lynde.
When Mrs. Lynde learns that Marilla's husband has gone to pick up an orphan to work on the farm, Mrs. Lynde expresses her fear of orphan children. Enter Anne.