Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

The Anne series by L. M. Montgomery traces the relationship between Anne and Gilbert, from their initial childhood meeting through their education to their eventual marriage. At the same time, Anne repeatedly hears stories of women who have quarreled with fiancés and allowed pride to ruin their lives. How are these stories similar to, and different from, Anne’s story?

Although conforming to conventional social rules of the early twentieth century, Anne seems surprisingly modern, especially in her independence and ambition. Illustrate these personality traits with examples from the series.

When Anne’s impulsiveness gets her into awkward situations, she usually can extricate herself using her verbal skills and ability to gauge other people’s personalities. How do these talents help her gain community acceptance, win respect from her students, and achieve other goals?

Anne’s imagination usually improves her circumstances, but occasionally she carries it a bit too far. Cite examples of both the positive and negative results of Anne’s imagination.

In Anne of Avonlea, Anne is teaching in the village school. How are her students like her schoolmates in the first novel? How are they different? Specifically, how do Marilla’s foster children, Davy and Dora, resemble Anne and Diana?

The Anne series chronicles several of Anne’s life stages. How does Anne change, and how does she remain the same, at the various stages? In what ways does her life resemble Montgomery’s?


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Barry, Wendy E., Margaret Ann Doody, and Mary E. Doody Jones, eds. The Annotated “Anne of Green Gables,” by L. M. Montgomery. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. Revised text of the novel includes illustrations and hundreds of notes. Essays offer background information on such topics as the geography and settlement of Prince Edward Island.

Bolger, Francis W. P. The Years Before Anne. Halifax, Nova Scotia: Nimbus, 1991. This is an account of Montgomery’s life before she established a reputation as a writer.

Bruce, Harry. Maud: The Life of L. M. Montgomery. New York: Bantam Books, 1994. A thorough look at Montgomery’s life and career and the society and culture of her time.

Gammel, Irene. Looking for Anne of Green Gables: The Story of L. M. Montgomery and Her Literary Classic. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2008. This biography focuses on the five years of Montgomery’s life when she was developing the character of Anne, and examines her inspiration for writing the story. Gammel connects events in Montgomery’s life to those in the novel and creates a fascinating portrait of the author.

Rubio, Mary, and Elizabeth Waterston. Writing a Life: L. M. Montgomery. Toronto: ECW Press, 1995. A look at Montgomery’s work, paying particular attention to her children’s fiction and the secret journal that she began in 1889 and maintained until her death in 1942.