“‘It just makes me glad to be alive—it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination, then, would there?’”
Anne, who has just met Matthew, explains why she asks so many questions. Her words reveal an intense desire to learn about the world, but they also reveal that imagination is very important to Anne.
“‘Oh, I don’t mean just the tree; of course it’s lovely—yes, it’s radiantly lovely—it blooms as if it meant it—but I meant everything, the garden and the orchard and the brook and the woods, the whole big dear world. Don’t you feel as if you just loved the world on a morning like this?’”
On her first morning at Green Gables, Anne admires the view out of the window in the east gable room, where she slept. Anne’s words reveal her love of nature and her optimistic personality, and they make Marilla wary of having to tell her she cannot stay at Green Gables.
“‘A bosom friend—an intimate friend, you know—a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul. I’ve dreamed of meeting her all my life. I never really supposed I would, but so many of my loveliest dreams have come true all at once that perhaps this one will, too.’”
Anne is asking Marilla if she thinks Diana Barry might become her best friend. Anne, as an orphan, has never had a chance to develop a close friendship with another little girl, a girl who might completely understand her and be a “kindred” friend. Living at Green Gables has brought Anne a lot of things she has always wished for, and she hopes she will find her best friend while living there, too.
“‘I hate you,’ she cried in a choked voice, stamping her foot on the floor. ‘I hate you—I hate you—I hate you’ a louder stamp with each assertion of hatred. ‘How dare you call me skinny and ugly? How dare you say I’m freckled and red-headed? You are a rude, impolite, unfeeling woman!’”
When Anne meets Mrs. Lynde for the first time, she is deeply offended when Mrs. Lynde frankly remarks on Anne’s red hair and freckles, features that she hates having. Anne’s outburst reveals her temper for the first time, but it also reveals her tendency to be honest about what she thinks. Anne has no problem standing up for herself when she feels threatened.
“‘Oh, I am grateful,’ protested Anne. ‘But I’d be ever so much gratefuller if—if you’d made just one of them with puffed sleeves. Puffed sleeves are so fashionable now. It would give me such a thrill, Marilla, just to wear a dress with puffed sleeves.’”
When Marilla presents Anne with three new dresses, Anne is disappointed. She has never had pretty clothes and longs to be fashionable, while Marilla believes clothes should be merely practical. Anne’s romantic views conflict with Marilla’s no-nonsense views about clothing.
“‘There’s such 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.’”
Anne is speaking to Diana about how she can be dreamy one minute, and very competitive and focused the next minute, especially where Gilbert Blythe is concerned. Anne’s tendency to get into embarrassing scrapes is likely due, she feels, to her imagination, but she would rather have imagination than not.
“At that moment Marilla had a revelation. In the sudden stab of fear that pierced to her very heart she realized what Anne had come to mean to her. She would have admitted that she liked Anne—nay, that she was very fond of Anne. But now she knew as she hurried wildly down the slope that Anne was dearer to her than anything on earth.”
After Anne falls off of the Barry house and breaks her ankle, Marilla’s alarm leads her to realize that she loves Anne, even if her taciturn personality keeps her from actually admitting her love aloud or outwardly expressing her love.
“‘Don’t give up all your romance, Anne,’ he whispered shyly, ‘a little of it is a good thing—not too much, of course—but keep a little of it, Anne, keep a little of it.’”
Anne has sworn off romantic notions after her portrayal of Elaine goes awry when the boat sinks and Gilbert Blythe rescues Anne. She is telling Matthew and Marilla that she is grown up enough now—and she has learned plenty of lessons about indulging her imagination too much—that she is ready to be more sensible. Matthew, however, knows that Anne’s romantic views make her uniquely Anne, and he cautions her to keep a little romance.
“‘Well, I don’t want to be any one but myself, even if I go uncomforted by diamonds all my life,’ declared Anne. ‘I’m quite content to be Anne of Green Gables, with my string of pearl beads. I know Matthew gave me as much love with them as ever went with Madame the Pink Lady’s jewels.’”
When Anne waited for her turn at the White Sands Hotel recital, she was intimidated by the fine clothes and jewels of the guests and other performers, but after her triumphant performance, that lack of confidence vanished. On the way home, as the other girls talk about the riches of other people, Anne counsels them that riches are found in other things, like the people who love you and the places where you feel safe.
“‘Oh, I’ve dozens of plans, Marilla. I’ve been thinking them out for a week. I shall give life here my best, and I believe it will give its best to me in return. 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.’”
When Anne gives up plans to attend Redmond in order to stay at Green Gables to look after Marilla and teach at Avonlea School, she views her change of plans with the same optimism and eager mind that she brought to Green Gables when she first came.
Ann of Green Gables : Top Ten Quotes