Anne of Avonlea
September 12, 2019 9:05 PM - by L. M. Montgomery - Subscribe

In which Our Heroine has matured into a “tall, slim girl, “half-past sixteen,” with serious gray eyes and hair which her friends called auburn”; LLM introduces 2 more characters, Davy and Paul Irving, in order to keep the supply of disasters and whimsy steady; the Avonlea Village Improvement Society achieves variable success; a romantic subplot is resolved; a number of spinsters are met.

Davy, budding psychopath, body count: platter, conch shell, 2 pies, caterpillar, chickens, grub, jar of plum jam, Dora’s nice clothes, Dora’s composure, everyone's peace of mind.

Heaven - location of; divine preserves, made in

Inhabitants of Crone Island, temporary and permanent: Marilla Cuthbert, Mrs Rachel Lynde, Charlotta the 4th, Mrs. Harrison, Misses Eliza and Catherine Andrews, Marjory White (aspiring widow), Miss Lavender Lewis, Miss Sarah and Martha Copp, Mrs. Morgan.

Racism, against French and First Nations: check

Scrapes, Anne: breaking the Blue Willowware platter; falling through the Duck House roof during a rainstorm; greeting unexpected guests with a face full of down feathers and red dye, etc.

Vocabulary, Surprising: ‘hymeneal altar’
posted by bq (6 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Let’s talk about Davy, budding psychopath. I was pretty shocked that after the ‘maybe Dora fell down the well’ episode, Anne’s main disappointment in him seems to be that he lied about locking Dora in the shed. The fact that he was deliberately cruel to his sister and that he watched three distraught adults search for her desperately for hours seems not to be a concern. Basically every time he does something naughty, he makes a comment afterwards about how fun it is to see everybody yell and jump around in distress, and this is never corrected, which leads me to suspect that the viewpoint of the book is that it actually is great fun to torment people and animals. So, what’s up with that, is this just a modern sensibilities thing? Also, as a parent who doesn’t use physical discipline, I would have spanked the pants off of any six year old who did that and that would just be the start, although I appreciate that Anne and Marilla aren’t able to restrict screen time.

He is right about Paul Irving being insufferable though.
posted by bq at 9:18 PM on September 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

I tired for a while to find any depiction of the hideous blue that the Hall got painted, and this is the only one I found.
posted by bq at 10:49 AM on September 13, 2019

I remember when I first read this, I had trouble imagining how a blue barn could possibly go so far as to be "hideous." Now I think of it every time I see a building painted a hideous blue (which is far from never).
posted by redfoxtail at 7:25 PM on September 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Davy's behavioral issues sort of make sense given the lack of parenting in his early years. Dead father, mother with extended illness, etc. Empathy is a learned behavior, not innate, so it's actually sort of interesting that a book from the early twentieth century got this sort of right. I do think there's also a case of old fashioned sensibilities going on; animals back then did not enjoy the same rights and people didn't think of them with the sentiment that we do now. There's also a slight edge of misogyny to Davy's mischief, especially where girls/women are concerned, and sadly, that too would have been less remarked upon then. Future books seem to indicate he turned out ok, fortunately.
posted by katyggls at 10:34 PM on September 15, 2019

LMM also seems to have had a thing about how disciplining boys is completely different from raising girls. In this one, she doesn't get on Anthony Pye's good side until she properly hits him with a switch, and then that seems to earn her respect.

I think there was another short story in which two single women try to raise adopted boy(s) and everything's a disaster until the male love interest uses the switch on him (them). Can't remember which one. I think the big joke was that the protagonist was a single female psychiatrist/psychologist who wrote about how to raise children properly.
posted by toastyk at 2:24 PM on September 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

That's "Penelope Struts Her Theories", which appears in Road to Yesterday/The Blythes Are Quoted.
posted by orange swan at 6:18 PM on November 25, 2019

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