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The Impact of Anne of Green Gables

Released in 1908, Anne of Green Gables is hailed as a classic. It is one of the best-selling books worldwide and has been adapted into musicals, films, and several television series and animated series. The book is often credited with putting Canadian province Prince Edward Island on the map, educating international readers about the island that they had never before heard of. 

Written by LM Montgomery, her descriptive writing and idyllic prose has captivated the minds and imaginations of readers for over a century.


The story of Anne of Green Gables follows Anne Shirley, an 11-year-old orphan who is sent to live with aging, unmarried siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert. The Cuthberts had originally wanted to adopt a boy, hoping he would assist Matthew on the farm, but Anne is sent instead due to a mix-up from the orphanage.

The book and its seven sequels follow Anne’s journey through life, and the various adventures and mishaps that occur along the way.

About the Author 

Lucy Maud Montgomery was born on Prince Edward Island in 1874. Her early life was not easy, her mother died of tuberculosis when Montgomery was still a baby, and in his grief, her father left her in the care of her maternal grandparents. Although he initially stayed nearby, he ultimately left PEI for Saskatchewan when Montgomery was only seven years old. 

Montgomery’s upbringing was a lonely one, and she created imaginary friends to cope. This allowed her creativity to flourish, and by the time she was 13, she knew that despite the hardships she had faced, she was destined for greatness. As a teenager, she had some of her poems and stories published in the newspaper, and she continued writing as she grew up, and even after she became a teacher, she used her spare time to write. 

Her connection with nature is not only what inspired her to write but is partially what has captivated so many readers. She would often find inspiration while on long walks around where she lived and would write while sitting next to a large window so she could enjoy the view. 

Finally, in 1908, she published Anne of Green Gables to immediate success. Her relationship with Anne was a complicated one, as many people often compare her to Anne, when the similarities are actually far less abundant. Anne is imaginative, dramatic, opinionated, and deeply flawed. But she is also idealistic and prone to a happy ending. Montgomery gave Anne optimism, something that Montgomery often found herself lacking. She initially did not want to continue Anne’s story after the first two books, but eventually conceded, going on to write the other six, giving Anne the happy ending she wished she could have had in her own life.


Anne of Green Gables is a timeless story. While the time period the story was written in has now long passed, Anne’s thoughts, feelings, and characterization are something countless generations relate to. The way she’s written makes her feel so real. She expresses her emotions openly and unapologetically in addition to introducing the idea that imperfection is something to be celebrated, and happy endings are not granted, but rather something one has to work for. 

She invites girls and young women to embrace their true selves, and is an early example of feminist literature, with a strong female lead who does not conform to the expectations of silence and kindness that are usually placed on women. The story also contains a lead male character who learns and grows from his earlier treatment of her and comes to respect Anne for her intelligence and abilities, something that many might say is rare even today. 

Anne’s interactions with her friends and classmates remind many readers of the people they may know in their own lives, all while taking place on a backdrop befitting a fairytale.

Despite Montgomery’s opposition to it, one of the reasons Anne resonates so well with readers around the world is because of her optimism and her happy endings. Many people find themselves reading the books and learning that they are worthy of happiness without having to sacrifice themselves to find it. 

Lily Frances | Staff Writer

Spring 2024

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