Anne Shirley accepts a teaching at an all-girls boarding school in a town dominated by a rich and belligerent family determined to make her life miserable.
Runtime: 50 minutes
Anne of Avonlea - Anne Shirley - Netflix
Anne Shirley is a fictional character introduced in the 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Montgomery wrote in her journal that the idea for Anne's story came from relatives who, planning to adopt an orphaned boy, received a girl instead. Anne Shirley's appearance was inspired by a photograph which Montgomery clipped from the Metropolitan Magazine and kept, unaware of the model's identity as the 1900s Gibson Girl Evelyn Nesbit.
Anne of Avonlea - Reception and legacy - Netflix
“Death, the bloody laws of nature, the tyranny of adults, violence-all poison the sweetness of...Arcadia. And yet the idyllic vision is undercut by what we might call call 'meta-idylls', realized through the forces of magic, fantasy, mass-cultural cliche and language itself. Together, 'menace' and 'meta-idyll' produce subversive subtexts to each idyll”.
Lennie Goodings, a publisher for Virago Press, chose Anne as her favorite fictional character, stating, “The feisty, funny and above all unabashedly passionate Anne of Green Gables...[she] faces the world with absolutely nothing but the sheer force of her personality. I love her.” Actress Christina Hendricks cites the character as the reason for dyeing her naturally blonde hair red since the age of 10. The British scholar Faye Hammill observed that such is the popularity of Shirley that she has overshadowed her creator, L.M Montgomery as license plates in Prince Edward Island bear the slogan “P.E.I Home of Anne of Green Gables” rather than “P.E.I Birthplace of L.M Montgomery”. The actress Mary Miles Minter played Shirley in the 1919 film adaption of Anne of Green Gables later had her career ruined when the film director William Desmond Taylor was murdered in 1922, and her name came up as a suspect, through she was never charged. When Minter attempted a comeback as an advice columnist later in the 1920s, she used the pen-name Anne Shirley in an attempt to restore her wholesome image, which had been ruined by the Taylor murder scandal. The actress Dawn O'Day who played Shirley in the 1934 film adaption of Anne of Green Gables liked the character so much she legally changed her name to Anne Shirley. Montgomery during her youth had experiences of what she called “the flash”-moments of quiet contemplation of the beauty of nature when she was walking alone that gave her emotional ecstasy and what she regarded as the awareness of a higher spiritual power running through nature and her. Despite Montgomery's claim that Shirley was not autobiographical, the moments when Shirley experienced moments of a mystical communion with nature are almost word for word the same as Montgomery's descriptions of “the flash” in her diary. Much of the appeal of the Anne books was due to increased urbanization and industrialization in the early 20th century, which led many people to look back nostalgically to a romanticized rural idyll where people still lived the “simple life”, which was how precisely how publishers marketed the Anne books at the time. In Canada itself, many intellectuals tended to see modernity as a threatening phenomenon, and in turn linked the more unpleasant aspects of modernity to the United States, which was viewed at the time as a rapacious, bullying nation intent upon devouring its neighbors. Much of the appeal of the character of Anne to Canadian critics at the time was as a symbol of the wholesome, friendly quality of Canadian life, where people still retained traditional values, unlike American writers with their obsession with violence and sex in stories set in a depersonalized urban environment. Hammill observed that when some of the younger Canadian writers in the 1920s-30 attempted to ape American writers with unpleasant “realistic” stories focusing on sex and violence in the cities, they were denounced by the critics for their “American” stories with the obvious implication that such stories were not “Canadian”. As urbanization gathered pace in the early 20th century, “regional literature” depicting life in rural regions gained popularity in the English-speaking world, and in the United States, Canadian literature was seen as a type of “regional literature” as Canada with its vast tracts of forests and farmland together with its British heritage, where the people were proud to be part of the British empire, which gave Canada a rather quaint image in the United States as a backward, rustic place, where the traditional values lived on. Having won their independence in the Revolutionary War, for Americans in the early 20th century it was almost incomprehensible that people in English-Canada should want to be part of the British empire, which gave Canada the image of a very conservative society in the United States in this era. Given these views of Canada, many Americans were inclined to share the Canadian view of Shirley as an iconic symbol of Canada. Brennan wrote the Anne books are determinedly Anglo-Canadian as French-Canadians hardly ever appear in the books. Brennan wrote: “Anne's dreams knew more of Tennyson's Camelot than of the rich culture of New France, of its voyageurs, its habitants, of heroines such as Maria Chaddelaine who appeared in Canadian letters (thanks to a young wander from France) when Montgomery's Anne had already firmly settled in home and motherhood. Avonlea was not Péribonka. Yet an artist in words-and Montgomery was that-should not be held at fault for silence about a culture so unlike her own”. Brennan noted that the Anne books reflected the “quiet conservative society” that was Prince Edward Island in the Victorian age with the characters being Protestants of English and/or Scottish extraction, and Anne supporting the Conservatives “simply because her beloved Matthew voted Conservative”. In 1912, Anne of Green Gables was translated into Polish and published in a pirate edition in Warsaw with the book being credited to “Anne Montgomery”. The book was extremely popular in Poland and during the Second World War, the Armia Krajowa resistance group issued editions of the book to remind its members what they were fighting for. For a time, Anne of Green Gables was banned in Communist Poland, and the book circulated in samizdat editions as Anne was seen as a symbol of individualism and an unwillingness to submit to authority, making her a popular heroine for those struggling against the Communist dictatorship. The Canadian scholar Mary Henley Rubio mentioned visiting Warsaw in 1984, where she saw a version of Anne of Green Gables being performed in a local theater, and that when the audience learned she was from Canada, she found herself mobbed by the audience who all wanted her autograph as she came from the same land as their beloved Anne. Akage no An (Red Haired Anne), as Shirley is known in Japan, is an extremely popular cultural icon in that country. From the time of the Meiji Restoration until 1945, the Japanese educational system (which was run jointly by the Army and Navy ministries) was designed to indoctrinate the students into Bushido (“the way of the warrior”) as the fierce warrior code of the Samurai is called as the purpose of schools in Japan from the Meiji Restoration until the end of World War II was to train the boys to be soldiers. The Japanese educational system unabashedly glorified war as the highest form of human activity and the idea that the Emperor of Japan was a living god, with the boys being taught it was the greatest honor to die for the Emperor while the girls were taught it was the greatest honor to have sons to die for the Emperor. Alongside the militarism of the educational system went a mood of marked xenophobia and outright racism with Japanese teachers during World War II telling their students that the Anglo-American “white devils” were cannibals whose favorite food was Asians. As part of the educational reforms during the American occupation (1945-52), it was decided that Japanese students needed something somewhat less militaristic and xenophobic to read than texts glorifying Bushido and Anne of Green Gables was made mandatory reading in Japanese schools in 1952. Additionally, as part of the educational reforms in Japan, there was an effort to reduce the previous rampant xenophobia that characterized Japanese teaching until 1945, and it was felt the wholesome, loveable character of Shirley would provide Japanese students with an example of how people in the West were not “white devils” as their government had told them during the war. As there were many orphans left over from World War II in 1952 Japan, the character of Shirley instantly caught on in Japan and has been one of the most loved characters in Japan since that time. Much of the appeal of Akage no An lies in her ability to rise above any situation due to her pluck and her willingness to challenge “that most formidable of Japanese dragons, the bossy older matron.” Shirley is so popular in Japan that there is The Anne Academy in Fukuoka that teaches girls how to speak English with a Maritime accent while in Okayama there is The School of Green Gables, a nursing school that teaches young women how to behave like Shirley. Hanako Muraoka, the Japanese woman who translated Anne of Green Gables into Japanese, has become a celebrity in her own right solely for translating the book, and in 2014 NHK aired a television mini-series titled Hanako to Anne about Muraoka's life and her struggle to get Anne of Green Gables translated and published in Japan. Hanako to Anne which aired between March-September 2014 was a great rating success, getting an average of 22% viewership in the Kanto region (the most populous part of Japan), and caused a doubling of Japanese tourists to Prince Edward island. The series, which starred Yuriko Yoshitaka as Muraoka, suggested that there were many parallels between Muraoka's life and Anne's, and thus was a sort of retelling of Anne's life in the late Meiji, Taishō and early Shōwa periods of Japanese history. In 1993, a theme park called Canadian World opened in Hokkaido whose most popular attraction was a reproduction of Green Gables. In 2010, the Globe and Mail wrote: “It could almost be declared that Anne's true home isn't rural Prince Edward Island any more. It's Japan, where Lucy Maud Montgomery's tale of Anne and her pigtailed innocence remains so popular that it has become ingrained in the national consciousness since the book's original Japanese translation as Red-Haired Anne in 1952.” In 2014, the Japanese diplomat Eiji Yamamoto told a journalist from the Toronto Star: “Even though she's an orphan, Anne is a free spirit, she says anything she wants. In the years after World War II, the Japanese people were poor. There were many orphans. And people had lost hope. They were anxious. Anne is an optimist. She helped people get courage.” The Canadian scholar Janice Kulyk Keefer noted the character of Shirley as depicted in film and television is sanitised compared to the book, writing:
Anne of Avonlea - References - Netflix