The White Way of Delight – Anne Shirley and the Power of Names

Anne of Green Gables - The White Way of DelightAs I mentioned before, I am sharing some of my favorite Anne of Green Gables quotes this week as part of my week-long celebration of all things Green Gables! I chose this quote because it is classic Anne Shirley. I love how she finds beauty in the most every-day places and the charm and imagination she brings to something as ordinary as a drive down the road.

It also demonstrates something that I find very interesting about Anne Shirley. Whether it is the Haunted Wood or a Lover’s Lane, a Lake of Shining Waters or a little girl who would love to be called “Cordelia,” Anne is very interested in names and will often name (or rename) people, places, and things so that their names align with her vision of them. This fascinates me because in the Romantic literature and fairy stories that Anne loves so much, knowing something’s true name is a powerful form of magic. Even in the Bible stories that she would have studied in Sunday School with Mrs. Allen, major moments are commemorated by someone or some place receiving a new name. (For example, Abraham and Sarah were both renamed after they were told by God that they would bear a son in their old age).

Anne believes in the power of names. She once said:

“I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I’ve never been able to believe it. I don’t believe a rose would be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage”

She even tries to take the opportunity of a new start in a new home to transform herself  with a new name, changing into a Cordelia – who is, by her very name, much more romantic than a plain old Anne – but even after that plan fails, Anne is still very much in charge of her name and identity. Call her Ann – without the e – or (worse!) “Carrots” and you will certainly feel her displeasure.  Still, in the end, Anne does re-invent herself  with a new name, Anne of Green Gables, and in doing so, she marks the transition from unwanted outsider to a loved member of a family and community.

Check back here for more of my thoughts on and quotes from the Anne of Green Gables series. And be sure to check out my Etsy shop to take advantage of my sale on Anne of Green Gables – inspired jewelry!

See you next time!


About Ciarrai

Hi. My name is Kerry but here online I tend to go by the Gaelic version of my name, Ciarrai. I am a woman in my mid-30's who lives on Long Island, NY, with my husband, Rob, several guitars, a Nikon D40, more yarn, beads and books than I care to admit to and a cat who has a million nicknames and quite a few theme songs. I have a B.A. in Psychology and have recently returned to college to pursue a teaching degree so that I can eventually get a job as a High School English teacher. In addition to my major obsessions (Reading, Beading, Knitting, Music and Photography), I also enjoy playing Board Games, going to Renaissance Faires, Museums and Broadway Musicals.
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