The Worst Fictional Death Ever

I seriously sobbed at this part.  Horrible death.

I seriously sobbed at this part. Horrible death.

The Growth and Change of Avonlea

miss stacy

 

I have always adored Avonlea, with its wholesome nature and simple views. It’s part of what makes this story so enduring. However, in these chapters we start to see major changes within Anne but more importantly within Avonlea itself.

Anne benefits from the teaching methods of Mrs. Allan and Miss Stacy. Education under Mr. Phillips, Marilla, and Mr. Bell, Anne’s former Sunday school teacher, consists of memorizing and reciting facts and moral lessons, which grates on Anne’s imaginative spirit. The more interesting, innovative methods of Mrs. Allan and Miss Stacy fit better with Anne’s learning style. In addition to learning schoolwork more readily, Anne begins to learn the nature of adulthood from her new teachers. When Mrs. Allan comforts her after the cake mishap, Anne begins to think more forgivingly of her own mistakes, telling Marilla that at least she learns from her errors.

Anne’s views about religion and school change because of her friendships with Mrs. Allan and Miss Stacy. Previously, Anne says her prayers to oblige Marilla, but the pretty and kind Mrs. Allen helps Anne see that organized religion need not be painful or boring. For Anne, religion no longer means foreign, dull speeches and rules; under Mrs. Allan’s tutelage, religion becomes interesting, especially because Mrs. Allan allows her pupils to ask questions about it. Similarly, Miss Stacy’s new, liberal form of education allows Anne to enjoy learning for its own sake. When Anne first comes to Avonlea, she advances quickly in her studies in order to irk her rival, Gilbert, but this model of academic success depends largely on the presence of an enemy. Now, Anne can rely on herself alone. She sees that learning can be an exercise of imagination rather than a chore of rote memorization.

Marilla’s affection for Anne continues to grow. When she sees Mr. Barry carrying Anne across the field, she realizes in a flash that she loves Anne more than she loves anything else in the world. Even what seems like unnecessary sternness is simply Marilla’s affection for Anne. For example, when Marilla tries to dampen Anne’s enthusiasm for the tea party, she does it not out of mean-spiritedness, but because she hates to think of Anne’s hopes dashed, and wants to save her from disappointment.

Avonlea is a community caught between tradition and modernity, especially in its views on women. Characters such as Mrs. Rachel hold beliefs that seem to be in tension with one another. On the one hand, Mrs. Rachel feels that women should be given the right to vote—a liberal and progressive view. The Cuthberts, true to their generally conservative characters, oppose Mrs. Rachel in this belief. At the same time, however, Mrs. Rachel believes it “a dangerous innovation” for the Avonlea trustees to hire a female teacher. As women’s roles change, Mrs. Rachel’s contradictory views on women represent the Avonlea community as a whole. She does not wholly support independence and power for women, but she supports it in part. She believes simultaneously in tradition and in progress.

Chapter Challenge: 25-28

Alarming News For Young Readers

readingbedtime

 

How many of us remember the nighttime routine of our childhood?  The time when Mom would crawl into our bed, crack open a book, and the day would just melt away.  It is one of my fondest memories of my childhood.  However, in a recent study, parents are no longer reading to their children every single night.  Read the full report here

This is extremely alarming to me.  I have read a book to my son every single night since the day he was born and still do, thirteen years later.  It is a vital part of our nightly routine and one that I cannot imagine being too busy to accomplish.  There is nothing that could drag me away from that.  It’s just time to jump into imagination and just forget all else for a little while.  Besides, how do parents hope to have future Mark Twains, JK Rowlings, and Shakespeares if they don’t read to their children?  Imagination is not something that is just a given, you have to feed it.

So, dear readers, I say this much to you.  Please read to your children every single night.  Are you honestly too busy to take twenty minutes of your time to devote to your child?  I weep for society.

10 Rooms Inspired By Books

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes

Harry Potter

Harry Potter

Peter Pan

Peter Pan

Jane Austen

Jane Austen

The Hobbit

The Hobbit

The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland

The Wind in the Willow

The Wind in the Willow

Fictional Best Friends

bestfriends

The Desensitization of a Generation

navyyard

There has been breaking news in the last few hours of a mass shooting at a Washington, DC Navy Yard.  Now, you can find the details elsewhere and I don’t believe in reporting what I personally don’t know.  I am not aware of the details and I don’t believe most news agencies are either, to be honest.  Therefore I will not feed the flames of conspiracy theorists with misinformation.  No, the reason for my post today was a personal realization that I had this morning.

Over the course of my lifetime, I cannot even count the times that there has been a mass shooting somewhere.  High schools, middle schools, colleges, elementary schools, malls, movies, and military bases.  Over and over and over again the headlines are the same.  Sure the location may change and the shooters’ names change but otherwise they are the same thing.  Lone gunman walks into a crowded space and for reasons unknown starts killing everyone in sight.  It is always the same and the pictures are always the same.  Scared crowds, frightened pedestrians, hard nosed cops.  Basically, what I am attempting to say is that I have become numb from it.

I have been desensitized by violence and it sickens me to my very core.  This should effect me.  I should be upset that someone dared to dishonor our military personnel.  I should be upset that right now families are getting word that a loved one isn’t coming home.  But I am not.  I honestly and sincerely am not upset.  I have gone about my morning as if nothing has changed and that our nation’s capital was rocked this morning.  This is full on sincerity and honesty here.

What terrifies me is that we are now raising an entire generation under these headlines.  If I am desensitized now, what will the future look like?  What sort of world will my son being raising his children in?  At some point in time, the desensitization and self preservation will kick in and these headlines will cease to upset anyone.  It will just be another day another shooting.  The very thought chills me to my marrow.

There’s no possible way that I am alone in this and I don’t even know who to blame for it.  Is it the media’s fault for putting it out there all the time?  Is it the self preservation?  Is it possible that I am able to ignore the headline in order to allow myself to feel even a tiny bit safe when I enter a crowd?  I don’t know what the answer is and I don’t know how to change it.  I just hope that I am not alone.

Marilla Realizes How Much Life Has Changed

marilla

 

The anniversary of Anne’s arrival at Green Gables corresponds with signs of Anne’s development as a young woman and a full member of Avonlea society. Anne digests her old experiences and uses them to improve herself, a process central to a child’s development into adolescence and adulthood. In an instance of Anne’s increasing maturity, she manages for the first time to make a heartfelt, effective apology. In contrast to her overblown apologies to Mrs. Rachel and Marilla in past chapters, Anne’s apology to Aunt Josephine, in Chapter 19, is delicate, sincere, and immediately successful. She has learned to curb her temper and put her eloquence to good use.

Anne applies old lessons to new situations not only when making apologies but also when saving Minnie May. Although Anne disliked caring for Mrs. Hammond’s twins, she is able to use the knowledge she gained in the Hammond household to save Minnie May’s life. Previously, Anne’s unorthodox background and unusual behavior have made her the town laughingstock, but in these chapters respectable people like the doctor compliment her for learning from the unusual experiences of her past.

Anne and Gilbert’s rivalry grows increasingly heated. Anne is “as intense in her hatreds as in her loves,” an intensity apparent in her enduring hatred for Gilbert. She will not even speak Gilbert’s name, as if trying to deny his existence altogether. When Mr. Phillips writes their names on the board in Chapter 17, the image of Anne’s name underneath that of her enemy suggests both a flirtation between the two of them and her failure to best him in school, and Anne cringes at the sight. However, just as Anne’s unorthodox manner of speaking wins her the approval of Aunt Josephine, her unusual talent for holding a grudge works in her favor in some respects. Because she loathes Gilbert and wants to triumph over him, she works harder in school than she otherwise might, even given her natural love of learning.

Anne displays her fanciful and unshakable imagination yet again in pretending with Diana that the woods between their houses are haunted. There is nothing scary about these woods, but Anne simply decides that she wants them to evoke a particular emotional reaction. Because she believes so strongly in this fantasy, she actually alters her perception of reality. Though she herself has created the idea that the woods are scary, she nevertheless comes home nervous with fright. This ability to get lost in fantasy and think creatively about the world differentiates Anne from Marilla, who initially cannot even fathom that Anne could be useful at Green Gables.

Chapter Challenge: 21-24

Famous Fictional Female Red Heads

Anne-anne-of-green-gables-2534021-748-928

While reading Anne of Green Gables last night, I got to thinking about other fictional female red heads.  Some of them are the most endearing characters ever written.  Here are 10 more of my favorite fictional red heads.  If you can think of any that I missed, please feel free to post them on this thread!

ariel

Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. She’s spunky, innocent, and has moxy. Everything a Disney Princess should be.

Little Orphan Annie.  I was completely obsessed with this movie as a child.  Even to this day I sing "The Sun Will Come Out" whenever my day is going badly.

Little Orphan Annie. I was completely obsessed with this movie as a child. Even to this day I sing “The Sun Will Come Out” whenever my day is going badly.

Not only was Brave the best Disney movie released in recent years (let's face it, it all went downhill after Beauty and the Beast) but Merida is just a fantastic princess.  She's absolutely what I would want a daughter of mine to be!

Not only was Brave the best Disney movie released in recent years (let’s face it, it all went downhill after Beauty and the Beast) but Merida is just a fantastic princess. She’s absolutely what I would want a daughter of mine to be!

Like you didn't know she would be on the list.  She's a fantastic character!

Like you didn’t know she would be on the list. She’s a fantastic character!

How can you not love Pebbles Flintstone?

How can you not love Pebbles Flintstone?

While I still hold to the belief that Pippi Longstocking is just a knock off of Anne Shirley, I do love her!

While I still hold to the belief that Pippi Longstocking is just a knock off of Anne Shirley, I do love her!

In Kindergarten I was Raggedy Ann for Halloween.  My aunt had bought me a HUGE doll and I was able to wear her clothes as my costume.  From that point on, I've loved Raggedy Ann!

In Kindergarten I was Raggedy Ann for Halloween. My aunt had bought me a HUGE doll and I was able to wear her clothes as my costume. From that point on, I’ve loved Raggedy Ann!

Oh I adore Madeline.

Oh I adore Madeline.

I cannot even begin to explain to you how much I adore Strawberry Shortcake.  She was a HUGE part of my childhood!

I cannot even begin to explain to you how much I adore Strawberry Shortcake. She was a HUGE part of my childhood!

Making grown men swoon over a cartoon, now that's some red head power right there!

Making grown men swoon over a cartoon, now that’s some red head power right there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday James Alan McPherson

James Alan McPherson

James Alan McPherson, the first black man to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction, is born in Savannah, Georgia.

McPherson overcame the crushing poverty of his childhood and ultimately attended Harvard Law School. At age 25, he entered a short story contest sponsored by The Atlantic and won. The following year, he became a contributing editor to the magazine. In 1969, his first collection of short fiction, Hue and Cry, appeared. McPherson became a writing teacher, working at Morgan State University in Washington, D.C., and later at University of Virginia. His second story collection, Elbow Room, was published in 1977 and won the Pulitzer Prize the following year. McPherson was the first black man to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. He also won a $192,000 MacArthur “genius” grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Despite his success, McPherson’s life began to unravel. His interracial marriage collapsed, and a bitter custody battle over his daughter followed. A favorite student killed himself. McPherson spent a year teaching at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop but stopped publishing his work. More than 20 years passed before he published his next book, Crabcakes, a memoir about his journey to Japan to escape the burden of racism.

Cat Gets Caught in the Act of Barking

barkingcat

It is my belief that cats are simply the smartest creatures we choose to spend our life with.  They are independent and just when I think I have ours figured out they go ahead and throw a wrench into the deal.  This, I think, is why I find this YouTube video so hilarious.  It’s just so typically cat!  Enjoy.