In the peaceful, fictional plains of Avonlea, a red-headed orphan captured the hearts of readers from around the globe. Published in 1908, Anne of Green Gables is regarded as a classic Canadian children’s novel, and upon its publication, the author of the book, Lucy Maud Montgomery, would grow to become one of Canada’s greatest female authors.
Montgomery’s Canadian identity shone through Anne of Green Gables. She was “fiercely passionate about Cavendish, her childhood home base” in Prince Edward Island (pg. 24). Throughout her literary career, Montgomery captured the beautiful essence of Canada. What was only a small province, became home to a symbol of love and loyalty.
Starting at a young age, Lucy Maud Montgomery was a dreamer. Growing up in her grandparents Macneill’s house after her mother’s death, Montgomery didn’t get a lot of emotional support from the beginning. Numerous times in the loneliness of her childhood, she kept herself company with wild fantasies and imaginary friends. Montgomery searched and devoured every book in the Macneill home library, which was not a lot. In her household, fiction was frowned upon as reading material for children, but Montgomery knew she was destined to express herself through writing. She poured her heart and soul into every journal entry, relentlessly scribbling down thoughts and goals for the future. While others had loved ones willing to listen, Lucy Maud Montgomery had her journal and poems.
After finishing her local high school, Montgomery aimed for a teaching degree at various universities. She didn’t want to become a regular old housewife as what was expected during the time. Montgomery was convinced that further education at the prestigious Dalhousie University would boost her writing career. Many of Montgomery’s relatives disapproved of her ambitious dreams. They wondered what in the world Maud needed with more education?
While Montgomery displayed a cheerful and rational persona towards the public, chronic depression plagued the author’s life. As she aged, her mental state only worsened. The loss of many close friends, her unhappy engagements, and growing childhood mood swings took a toll on Montgomery. To cope with the ongoing battles in her mind, writing was her escape route from reality. Despite Montgomery’s broken mentality, she breathed life into her characters. The iconic young protagonist, Anne Shirley, is a symbol of acceptance, innocence, and imagination. She was “the dearest most lovable child in fiction since the immortal Alice” quoted 73-year-old Mark Twain. As Montgomery argued, “fiction is the art of transformation, […] it allows for happy reconciliations they cannot achieve in life” (pg 105).
Today, Lucy Maud Montgomery is a national treasure to Canada. She embodies the loyalty that we Canadians poses for our homes and backgrounds. Montgomery established a title for Prince Edward Island, drawing attention from all around the world to the little landmark that is historically noted to this day. The government created a national park around the Macneill house, the home where Montgomery grew up in. She was “happy that an authentic Prince Edward Island farmhouse would be preserved and the lands protected” (pg 134 ).
From a young dreamer to a world-renowned author, little did we know a legacy was born from Canada’s smallest province. Lucy Maud Montgomery’s fictional world created through the love of her Canadian identity became her house of dreams.