I am an L.M. Montgomery fan.
I believe I’ve read every single book she wrote,
and loved them all,
in spite of their flaws
(orphan syndrome, sometime suffering from Victorian effusiveness,
similarities in plots).
That caveat aside,
I was doing some serious thinkering today about common heroines
in current YA literature,
and comparing them to Anne Shirley from “Anne of Green Gables”.
They just don’t match up.
Let’s take the current contender for the most popular/well-known
heroine of today:
- Two dimensional.
- Places all of her worth on a boy/man/Sparkly Pants McVampire.
- Is an ass to her dad without cause.
- Places her intelligence consistently and constantly below everyone else.
- Does not grow.
(The Oatmeal says it best…he usually does)
Anne Shirley, on the other hand?
- Comes from a background of poverty and abuse, and rises above it.
- Refuses to play the victim card.
- Works her ass off for everything.
- Is dramatic and often temperamental, but does everything she can to exert self-control over this.
- Does not place her worth on a man.
- Ridiculously intelligent–but this is developed through the books–she doesn’t start out as a genius.
- Goes to college, succeeds through hard work and determination during a time in which higher education was NOT approved of for women.
- Marries Gilbert not because he completes her, but because he makes her want to be a better human being.
- Marries a man who loves her for her intelligence, beauty, character, and because she makes him want to be a better human being.
- Never loses herself when she has children (which is a truly awesome trait that Montgomery invests in her, especially in light of the Victorian Era in which Anne was created).
- Her relationships with Marilla, Diana, and Leslie Moore are beautiful
and real–they have disagreements, fights even, but they come out of them better. There is no cat-fighting bitchery here.
- She grows up.
Through seven books, Anne continues to mature and develop as a fantastic heroine–she is the kind of woman who would come running if you needed her.
a character created in the Victorian Era is a better speaker for the rights of women
than a 21st century “liberated” teenager.)
Let me put it this way:
Who would you rather have on your side in The Zombiepocalypse?
Bella Swan would be too busy crying over Pretty Fangs O’busive Boy
to actually, you know, wield something useful, but then again,
she claims to be clumsy–easy Zombie fodder with one simple untied shoelace.
She saves babies from croup, man.
I have no problem believing in her ability to wield a shotgun
all over some zombie ass.
(also? I TOTALLY have rights to the Zombie version of “Anne of Green Gables”. Just sayin’.)