Where is the Boy?
You would be hard pressed to find any fictional people who are as upstanding and noble as the Cuthberts. These people are down right saintly. Here, before Marilla, stands a girl. The one sex of child they had no desire to bring into the house and instead of sending her right back, they do the right thing. They were expecting a child that would help in the fields and help the aging Matthew. Instead they are given this wonderful little package that is a spunky, naive, and imaginative little girl. The real kicker for Marilla is the fact that Matthew sees absolutely nothing wrong with the arrangement. Really Anne is quite lucky that Matthew was around to help her case.
It is interesting to me how Marilla views the situation. She views an orphan as a set of hands to help tend the farm. There to assist with Matthew’s aging and nothing more. The child, in her view, is hardly more than a helping hand. The child has no feelings and emotions of their own. This demonstrates how little knowledge Marilla has of children and how much work they really are. This earlier determination of Marilla’s character also helps to lay the groundwork for how much Anne really is turning their world upside down.
Personally, I feel the best Anne moment in these two chapters comes when she asks the Cuthberts to call her Cornelia. It’s just such a deliciously lovely scene. It is when Marilla really does get a taste for this child’s mind and I believe it is when she realizes that she is not like other little girls. It begins this wonderful dichotomy between Marilla and Anne and also helps to demonstrate how much learning they both have to have. Anne is the proper etiquette of a lady in that era and Marilla in the raising of a spirited child. You see, also, that unlike her brother, Marilla is stern and pulls no punches. Anne could probably walk all over Matthew but she won’t get so far with Marilla.