Understanding these Anne of Green Gables quotes is essential to understanding the rest of the novel. They examine the various characters, themes, and motifs in the story in the author’s own voice.
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"It's all very well to read about sorrows and imagine yourself living through them heroically, but it's not so nice when you really come to have them, is it?" (Chapter 4)
This quote drives home a theme that Montgomery repeats again and again throughout the novel, that although imagination can lend zest to life, it also has its downsides. Anne realizes this in different ways as she matures. In this quote, which she says towards the beginning of the novel, Anne realizes that imagining sorrows romanticizes them, but actually living through them is much more difficult.
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“I’d rather walk calmly along and do without the flying and the thud." (Chapter 17)
This quote, said by Marilla, accurately describes the main difference between Marilla and Anne. Anne’s personality is an impetuous one, one that consists of flying through life. Filled with imagination, optimism, and limitless energy, she dreams big. The downside of this personality, of course, is the “thud," or the moment that reality hits home and she realizes that her dreams do not mesh with reality, or that her optimism was unfounded.
Marilla, on the other hand, plods on through life calmly, never dreaming of anything beyond the here and now. Although that saves her from the pain of life’s disappointments, it also deprives her of the excitement that Anne feels over every experience.
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"It is ever so much easier to be good if your clothes are fashionable. At least, it is easier for me. I suppose it doesn't make such a difference to naturally good people." (Chapter 29)
This brings out an important motif in the novel. Fashion and looks are discussed several times throughout the novel, as Anne seems to place an enormous amount of weight on both of them. We see from this quote that she even goes far enough to decide that being fashionable and being morally good are tied up together. As she thinks that she is neither fashionable nor “good," Anne uses one as an excuse for the other.
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"When I left Queen's my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don't know what lies around the bend, but I'm going to believe that the best does." (Cha
At the end of the book, Anne makes a brave decision – to stay with Marilla, turn down her scholarship to Redmond, and teach in Carmody instead. This decision is selfless, an attempt to keep Marilla’s eyesight strong and to stop her from having to sell Green Gables. In this quote, Anne explains her optimistic reasoning for making such a selfless choice: just because something has always been her dream, doesn’t mean that it is necessarily the best path for her to take.
These Anne of Green Gables quotes are just a selection from many, many more throughout the book. Understanding the significance of each quote can help you more deeply understand the novel.