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hgarey71 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Anne Shirley is the title character of L. M. Montgomery's 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables. There are eight books in the series. 

Anne Shirley is an orphan who comes to Prince Edward Island to live with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert. She is an immediate disappointment because they wanted a boy to help with chores around the farm, but she is lively, intelligent, talkative and engaging. She charms Matthew on the ride home, but Marilla requires more convincing. 

Anne has wild red hair and has the temperament often associated with redheads. She is a very spirited individual. She's strong willed, though she wants to be obedient. She is happy and grateful, but she is given to fits of temper. She is a good friend, though many of her peers are a challenge and a burr to her. It is this combination of paradoxes that makes her believable and sympathetic as a character. One of her catchphrases is "fodder for the imagination," and Anne can find this in almost anything. She is highly imaginative. 

She doesn't have the same upbringing as her peers and it is difficult for her to assimilate into the nuanced social customs of the people of Prince Edward Island, and so she makes many mistakes. But, she is always penitent and eager to learn the right way to behave. This flawed nature and desire to do the right thing have, in my opinion, made her one of the most beloved characters in literature for over one hundred years. 

As the series progresses, Anne changes and matures into a young woman, which mellows her passions and changes her perspectives. But at her core, she remains the good-natured, curious and lovable Anne Shirley we first meet on the road to Green Gables. 

sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Anne comes to Green Gables she is 11 years old.  Prior to that she had been bounced around from home to home to orphanage.  Anne is an emotional young girl.  It sounds negative to say that she is moody or has mood swings, but she really does.  When she is happy, she's on top of the world; however, she is not the kind of person that can be happy no matter the situation.  She has a tendency to get angry at the smallest provocation.  She will then stamp her feet heavily in an angry huff.  

Despite her range of emotions, she genuinely wants to do well at Green Gables.  She struggles to learn all of the things that the other children have grown up learning their entire lives, but she keeps at it. That shows that Anne is a driven young girl.  She is determined.  Maybe it would be described as stubborn, but that's up to the reader. 

She also has an active and vivid imagination, usually focused on beauty, elegance, riches, etc.  No problems there, but unfortunately she frequently imagines a world and herself in ways that are far beyond reality. What that means for Anne is that she is unhappy with how she herself looks (hair, skin, etc.).  That mellows as she gets older, which makes sense.  Most people gain more self confidence as they get older and more mature. 

lorettawatts | Student

Anne is presented as a young girl of 11 years old who has found herself get caught up in many unfortunate situations. She is a orphaned girl whose childhood has been determined by whichever household, be it orphanage or family home, she has been attached to.

Anne shows a natural love for literature, but, up until the point of arriving at Green Gables, she had struggled with finding the space to allow her "scope for imagination" to materialise.

Anne childhood, once she arrives at Green Gables, becomes speckled with many situations, mishaps and accidents that are relateable to the average person's childhood. She accidently dyes her hair green, becomes infatuated with a "bosom friend" and receives a gift that is considered high fashion and would equate her to feeling like a 'princess' in today's modern society. Equally, her life skills are shown to outwigh those of her similar aged peers, meaning that she was able to come to a child's rescue and show a more mature side to her character than would be obviously visible from her outward appearance.

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Anne of Green Gables

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