This series was originally shared in my Substack newsletter. As I learn to look for the fruit of the Spirit in different areas of life I was struck by the way various literary heroines displayed the fruit. It was incredibly difficult to narrow down the list. Maybe someday I will explore more literary heroines!
Joy: Anne Shirley By L. M. Montgomery
How Anne Shirley sees past her difficult circumstances
Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive–it’s such an interesting world― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
The eternal optimism of Anne Shirley is one of her most endearing qualities. Overcoming situations of being unwanted and mocked, Anne comes to each new situation with hope. However, she is no Pollyanna, as Anne is often one who has lived in “the depths of despair!” Despair is hard, but necessary to learn joy. In these depths, Anne learns where true joy is found. All of us also can learn joy from the darkness. Looking beyond the loneliness of certain moments, or the ways in which we made awful mistakes is part of embracing a life of joy.
“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Throughout her life, Anne learns to apologize for mistakes, but never for being who she is, a passionate lover of beauty. She is also compassionate, making connections with other lonely folks and helping them to find hope for life. Joy has a way of reaching into the darkest corners of the world and finding the sparkle. I find that the most joyful people are far from immune to struggle and pain. What they have learned is that wallowing in despair leads to great bitterness.
Anne embodies joy. She looks at tomorrow with hope because there are no mistakes in it yet.
Literary Heroine Links
You can find many beautiful editions of the Anne of Green Gables books on Amazon.
I grew up watching the Megan Follows version of Anne, and have not yet watched the series on Netflix. I trust Haley Stewarts’ review enough to leave it alone, but that is your decision.