Monday, September 12, 2011

Chapter 26: Anne gets her writer on

The concert has passed, but its touch lingers in Avonlea. There's Anne's take:
"Perhaps after a while I'll get used to it, but I'm afraid concerts spoil people for everyday life. I suppose that is why Marilla disapproves of them. Marilla is such a sensible woman. It must be a great deal better to be sensible; but still, I don't believe I'd really want to be a sensible person, because they are so unromantic."
And the wider repercussions:
"To be sure, the concert left traces. Ruby Gillis and Emma White, who had quarreled over a point of precedence in their platform seats, no longer sat at the same desk, and a promising friendship of three years was broken up. Josie Pye and Julia Bell did not 'speak' for three months, because Josie Pye had told Bessie Wright that Julia Bell's bow when she got up to recite made her think of a chicken jerking its head, and Bessie told Julia. None of the Sloanes would have any dealings with the Bells, because the Bells had declared that the Sloanes had too much to do in the program, and the Sloanes had retorted that the Bells were not capable of doing the little they had to do properly. Finally, Charlie Sloane fought Moody Spurgeon MacPherson, because Moody Spurgeon had said that Anne Shirley put on airs about her recitations, and Moody Spurgeon was 'licked'; consequently Moody Spurgeon's sister, Ella May, would not 'speak' to Anne Shirley all the rest of the winter. With the exception of these trifling frictions, work in Miss Stacy's little kingdom went on with regularity and smoothness."
Shall we count the elements of awesome in that passage?
  • All the schoolroom drama
  • The quotes around "speak," because anyone who's been a preteen girl knows that not speaking to someone is not the same think as not "speaking" to them.
  • The fact that a minor battle was fought over Anne's honor (and she can even cherish the romanticism of it, because Gilbert wasn't involved!)
Incidentally, Moody Spurgeon MacPherson, who's just about always referred to by both his first names, is the namesake of notable nineteenth-century ministers Dwight Moody and Charles Spurgeon. (In a couple chapters, we'll see Mrs. Rachel make a point of that.)

Now that it's time to sort out post-concert life, Anne decides it's the right moment to get up a story club with the other girls. There's some fun stuff in there, but one line from Anne gives you the Cliffs Notes version of the club:
"Miss Josephine Barry wrote back that she had never read anything so amusing in her life. That kind of puzzled us because the stories were all very pathetic and almost everybody died. But I'm glad Miss Barry liked them."
Raise your hand if you wrote stories like that as a kid!

1 comment:

CLM said...

Yes, for a long time I wrote tragic stories where everyone died or tragic stories where the heroine was betrayed, but eventually lively rip-offs of Norma Johnston.