Monday, September 15, 2014

My Literary Heroine

As I stated a few blog posts ago, I've been re-reading the Anne of Green Gables series with my good friend (and rock star editor/only person to have read part of the novel sequel), Kiera. We're currently a couple of books into the series and I'm loving it. There is one curious thing about this re-read though; I've come to realize that I am Anne Shirley. This got me thinking about something: we gals tends to either identify with or try to emulate literary heroines we admire. Furthermore, who have I chosen as my ideal literary heroine? Someone I identify with or someone I want to be like?

I'm a Janeite through and through. I've been a member of JASNA and JASNA-SW. I own all the novels and mini-series DVDs. I can tell you the stories of the heroines and the heroes as if they were my own stories. Some of my closest friends (who are also Janeites) have nicknamed me "Jane" after Miss Jane Bennet, eldest daughter of the Bennet family in Pride and Prejudice. She's quiet, reserved, doesn't show her emotions readily (even to her closest sister, Elizabeth), and feels deeper than she shows. However, I have never fully identified as a Jane.

I am quiet and reserved... but most of the quietness fades when I get to know someone well enough to let my silliness through. I don't share my feelings so easily with everyone but I am getting better about sharing them with the people who mean the most to me. I do feel deeply but I also know that people can just take one look at me and know what I'm feeling. So, no, I'm not really Jane. I'm a "combination of Jane Bennet (quietness and reserve), Catherine Morland (imagination and innocence), Anne Elliot (steadfastness and loyalty), and Elinor Dashwood (practical and sensible)" as one close friend says. Still, even a combo isn't really close to how I am. I don't see myself in any of them... even the combo. As much as these women are awesome heroines, I don't choose them (or any other Austen heroine) as my preferred literary heroine. That honor goes to Anne Shirley.

Anne is an INFP, just like me. Anne had a fiery temperature as a child that eventually gets reigned in as an adult. I certainly have a bit of a temper when I'm pushed beyond my limit (who doesn't?) but instead of breaking a slate over someone's head, I get quiet. I internalize things instead of arguing with someone... and I will get over it within minutes. Anne had nothing at the beginning of the series. She was orphaned and she initially wasn't wanted but she was eventually taken in by the Cuthberts, received an education, and even graduated with a B.A. which was rare for a woman to do in the Edwardian era. I wasn't orphaned (I didn't experience the loss of a parent until I was 24 years-old) but I do come from a socioeconomic background in which the odds were stacked against me from the beginning. Neither of my parents went beyond a junior high education, no one (brothers nor sister) graduated from high school, and college never entered anyone's hopes and dreams. Like Anne, I put my B.A. dreams on hold for a couple of years when there was an illness in the family but, also like Anne, I don't regret that decision. Now I'm nearly 2/3 through my second degree with a brighter future than I could've ever dreamed for myself.

Most of you might not know this (since the majority of you have only known me as an adult), but I used to get in trouble in school for talking. A lot and often. My report cards (some of which I still have) used to have "talks too much in class" comments. However, as I got older, I became less talkative.
"There were other changes in Anne no less real than the physical change. For one thing, she became much quieter. Perhaps she thought all the more and dreamed as much as ever, but she certainly talked less."
This was the exact passage that made me realize that Anne was the literary version of myself, more so than all the Austen heroines combined. I definitely become quieter around middle school and it's stayed that way since. I have a lot of thoughts bouncing around in my head but I just write them down. My best friend growing up started giving me notebooks as birthday presents when we were teenagers for this very reason. He noticed that I always writing and/or dreaming up things (much like Anne) so he gave me notebook; I went through them quickly, too.

All of these things (and many more that would be too long to list) are part of why I chose Anne as my literary heroine. I see my faults in her faults. I see my strengths and weaknesses in her own. I notice things I don't like about her and realize that those are the same things I have to work on. All the things that I admire about her, I've come to accept (with reluctance, lol) as things that I also possess. I know she's not real; I know she's partially a figment of L.M. Montgomery's imagination. Still, isn't it great to find a "kindred spirit" that helps you grow as a person... even one that only lives in pages and imaginations?

A few weeks ago, I confided in a good friend that I was thinking about giving up writing because I didn't think what I wrote made a difference in anyone's life. He reminded me that the authors that I admire have made a positive impact on me... and that they would never know it. I thought about Jane Austen and agreed that it made sense but it wasn't until I re-read the words of L.M. Montgomery that my friend's word really hit me. Just as I have chosen Anne as my literary heroine, I hope that someday my literary heroines (like Lina Zamora) will be someone else's literary heroine, even if I never find out. And, again, no, Lina is not entirely based on me though we do share certain similarities. I think I'm more Anne Shirley than I am Lina Zamora, to be honest. My friends will have to be the judges here. lol.

I just wanted to share this because I've seen a big surge in Anne of Green Gables readers amongst us in the (female) Catholic world lately.  Oh! And, out of curiosity, who are some of YOUR literary heroines and why? I'd love to know. :)

Anyway, I should get back to studying. I have three exams in the next week (one on Friday and two next Monday) and I really want to do well so I'm going to be focusing on that and homework this week. If I don't get a chance to write again until after my last exam, have a great week! :D

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D

1 comment:

Emily Ann Putzke said...

Oh, I love this post! Anne is definitely one of my literary heroines, too. I've written down quotes from the books and thought, "Yes, that's me!"

I can't wait to read your book, Will and Lina! I got it the other day! =)