There are so many wonderful scenes in the world of books, but one of my favorites includes the darling Anne of Green Gables and her yearning for a dress with puffed sleeves.
I read Anne of Green Gables when I was twelve at a time when I could most relate to wanting to be like the other kids. With my stunningly bad perm and gorgeous buck teeth, I always felt somehow that I came up short. But if Anne could find a way to fit in, maybe, just maybe, so could I.
“Puffed sleeves, Marilla,” Anne says dreamily in the scene when the dress she had always wanted materializes, thanks to Matthew, in her midst. I was so happy for Anne, who finally, finally gets something nice. Something that will make her feel pretty, like she belongs, like she’s as good as the other children even though she’s an orphan with red hair and freckles.
Oh, it’s a beautiful scene, but it only works because of the one a few chapters before it, when we learn about Anne’s yearning.
In it, Anne marches like a trooper to Sunday School all by herself. Until then, she is able to imagine that at least one of the clean, neat, serviceable dresses that Marilla has made for her has puffed sleeves, but when confronted with the nine other girls in her class who actually have puffed sleeves, her powers of imagination fail her.
While Marilla thinks she is overreacting, I am utterly in agreement Anne’s feeling that “life was not really worth living without puffed sleeves.”
When Marilla chides her for indulging in her own vanity, Anne’s take on the situation is brilliant. “I would rather look ridiculous when everyone else does than plain and sensible all by myself.”
Oh, Anne, you deep-thinker, this phrase explains so much about humanity. And also about me.
What are some of your favorite literary scenes? Please share in the comments. 🙂