Thursday, July 9, 2009

Anne of the Green Gables

Anne of the Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery, is usually interpretated to be one of the classic romance novels. Ironically, it is also a great story that supports Marxism and it's main point on "accidental nature". In his text, Marx states that "the difference between the individual as a person and what is accidental to him, is a conceptual difference of a historical fact." [p.2]. The main character, Anne, and the supporting characters throughout the story examplifies this statement because they are all shaped by their family's history. They are all placed to be their class or family all by a "productive force" [p.2] that was beyond their control.

Anne is an orphan who was adopted by Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, owners of a farm. She is born into an orphanage when other characters such as Diana or Gilbert Blythe, were not. They were born into loving families that cared for their education and future since the beginning of their lives. Anne is so full of spirit but lacks manners that normal kids have because she was never taught by parents. She causes trouble often and even got her best friend Diana drunk. She is misunderstood to be just a troublemaker and nobody believed her potential. Later on in the story, it shows that Anne is just as smart and capable of succeeding as all the other kids that were born with privileges. She was able to get into Queen's Academy like Gilbert Blythe and also attains Avery schloarship. However, Matthew Cuthbert has a heart attack and passes away which made Anne stay back and refuse her offer. This ending fully supports Marxism whereas she was born into her life by accident, and also forcefully stays within her life because of her family's past. "The division between the personal and class individual, the accidental nature of the conditions of life for the individual, appears only in emergence of class."; Anne is just as or even more capable than her classmates to achieve a higher education level, but the only thing that stops her is the family that she is placed with by a force beyond her control. A Marxist would agree that this story is a great example of the concept on historical fact and accidental nature.

This story is also a great example of Gramsci's marxist point of view on intellectuals; he states that "all men are intellectuals, one could therefore say; but not all men have in society the function of intellectuals"[p.2]. He believes everyone is smart and skilled in their own unique way. However, the society creates their own rules of defining intelligence and their uses; "there does not exist any independent class of intellectuals, but every social group has its own stratum of intellectuals" [p.5]. This is the same case in the novel as well because all the characters are all uniquely smart but is hard to value all of them equally. Anne is viewed to be naturally more spirited and smarter than Diana. Anne is recognized by her teacher and gets into Queens Academy with a schloarship. In that society, Anne fits the definition of intelligence. On the contrary, Diana is more skilled at presenting herself as a lady and has great manners, which Anne lacks. It is the society that decided Anne is smarter. Despite their differences of intellect, they are still best friends. In marxist view, Anne and Diana are best friends because they are equals even though the society would define Anne to be more intelligent.

1 comment:

  1. Good. Keep working at tying the text to the theory--it's still a bit of a strain to see the connection, and would be very hard for a reader not familiar with our class, to catch (for example) what you're up to in the last paragraph. One way to help is to come back to the gramsci, summarizing your point about the two girls, but discussing how the society recognizes them only in the way that they fit their roles. And remember that as we go along you'll want to quote directly from the imaginative work as well (in this case, from Anne of Green Gables)