Monday, March 22, 2004

I finished reading Anne of Ingleside on Sunday afternoon. Lucy Maud Montgomery, the creator of the Anne series, was a Presbyterian, and she married a Presbyterian minister, which makes for some great jibes at the Methodists across the way, as well as some satirical portrayals of ministers and churchgoers, Methodist and Presbyterian alike, as well as a few Episcopal and Catholic nods thrown in for good measure. Of course, since I read L.M. Montgomery's stories as a child, I never caught on to the vast majority of theologically significant comments. Of course, there are numerous references to Providence (my first encounter with the word was through her books) and references to Christians as being "the race of Joseph," but I never fully understood what they were referring to until recently. And I've read all her books at least twice, but I haven't read some of these later Anne books since I was about 12. This sixth in the series sets Anne in the village of Glen St. Mary on P.E.I. She is married to Gilbert Blythe (hope that didn't ruin it for anyone who hasn't read the books) and they have a horde of children. Ingleside is the name of their home.

Three thoughts worthy of mention:

1. Old Hymns. In one of the funnier village anecdotes, the women tell a story about a funeral in which the "dearly departed" actually walks in through the front door during the service. It was all a strange mix-up (no one actually ever found out the dead person's identity) and everyone was so overcome with joy at seeing someone they thought was dead, that the organist changes the music to "Sometimes a Light Surprises." Since I had never heard that hymn until I was in college, I never knew it was real. I only picked up on it this time.

2. Children. In this book, Anne has six living little darlings, and the outrageous stories they tell and the zany experiences they have make me believe Lucy Maud must've culled them from her own mischevious kids. They are too funny NOT to be true! In one, her daughter Nan gets into some theologically muddy waters when she makes bargains with God so that he will answer her prayers. Some of her "penances" involve crawling backwards around the barn and walking through a moonlit graveyard at night by herself. She was only 8.

3. Big words. Following off the last point about the things her children get into, there is an incident with one of her sons. Jem, I believe it was, gets into an argument with one of his school chums and attempts a put-down he found in the dictionary. In trying to think of a particularly horrible and high-sounding insult, he comes up with, "You're a transubstantiationalist!"

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