Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Contribution to the Arts in Canada

17 Jan

lucy-maud-montgomery

Who is Lucy Montgomery?

Lucy Maud Montgomery was a best-selling author whose claim to fame was through the Anne of Green Gables series, which to date has sold 50 million copies. She was born in Clifton, Prince Edward Island (PEI) on November 30, 1874. She was a creative person who had written several short stories for local newspapers before writing her first novel, Anne of Green Gables, which was written in 1908. Three years later, she married Presbyterian Minister Ewan Macdonald and they had three sons, one of which was stillborn. Macdonald was slowly deteriorating, physically and mentally, which led Montgomery to depression. For quite a while, writing was her only escape from her bleak reality. Lucy died on April 24, 1942, however, her cause of death still remains a mystery because of a mysterious note found on her bedside table, written on the night of her death.

What was her early life-like?

After Lucy’s mother died when she was 21 months old, her father was so stricken with grief that he gave custody to Lucy’s maternal grandparents. When she moved to Saskatchewan at the age of 6, she went to live with her grandparents, who brought her up in a strict fashion. Lucy also did not have any friends until she started going to school in 1853, which allowed her to develop her creativity because of her imaginary friends and the worlds she created. From 1890-1891, she lived with her father and her step-mother in PEI, where she wrote her first work, a poem about Cape LaForce, which made it into a local newspaper. Lucy then returned to Saskatchewan to complete her grade studies. Afterwards, she obtained her teaching license at Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown, after completing a two-year program in one year. She then went on to study literature in Halifax between 1895-1896. The knowledge gained from her academic studies improved her future literary works.

What were her hardships as an author in Canada during this time period in history?

If I were to guess what her hardships were, I believe the fact that she was a woman really affected her vision of Canadian culture because women in PEI were still gaining basic rights and  did not have the right to vote until 1922 in the province of PEI. During her lifetime, important events ,such as women gaining the right to vote  influenced her outlook and her writing. Lucy was able to go to school which benefited her not only academically but also creatively. However, her marriage took a toll on her as she was not able to produce literary work like before because of her depression.

What impact did Lucy have during her era and now on Canadian society?

Lucy’s books are easy to relate to because the main character is a very genuine and convincing girl, who faces realistic challenges that result in usually positive outcomes. The books also illustrate what life was like during the nineteenth century in PEI.  Lucy’s novels combine history and innocence together to create a believable story, which children and adults read to this day. The books are also appropriate for young children because lots of history involves cruelty, so to find a historic resource that also is enjoyable and innocent, makes this an overall classic series. Even now, PEI is a popular tourist destination, especially for Japanese fans of the series. Tourism from Anne of Green Gables fans generates revenue for the PEI government and local businesses, which shows how such a simple series can create such a large impact on people today.

What influence did  her books have on film and television?

Due to the success of Anne of Green Gables and its status as a classic, it has received a plethora of different television, film, and stage adaptations. The most notable ones include: the 1985 4-hour miniseries on CBC, Akage no An (Red-Haired Anne), a 1979 anime adaptation which has seen huge success in Japan, a prequel series made in 2009, and many others. I believe that Anne of Green Gables also inspired the author of one of the most popular books (and later the mini-series) to date, Little House on the Prairie, which was published in 1932. While Lucy focuses on Prince Edward Island in the early 1900s, Laura Wilder focuses on farmers on the Midwest region of the United States of America, during the 1930s.

Akage No Anne

Anne of Green Gables (1985)

Sources:

“Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery – Prince Edward Island.”Tourism Prince Edward Island (PEI) – Canada – Official Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2013. <http://www.tourismpei.com/anne-of-green-gables&gt;.

“History of Women’s Rights | Nellie McClung Foundation.” Home | Nellie McClung Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2013. <http://www.ournellie.com/womens-suffrage/history-of-womens-rights&gt;.

“Prairie – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prairie&gt;.

“Lucy Maud Montgomery – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2013. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucy_Maud_Montegomery&gt;

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3 Responses to “Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Contribution to the Arts in Canada”

  1. David February 3, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    Nice little biography Isaac, a definite piece of the Canadiana mosaic 🙂

  2. David February 7, 2013 at 1:11 am #

    Do you have an opinion on this Isaac? They are saying the author would be against this makeover – what do you think? – http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/story/2013/02/06/pei-anne-blonde-reaction.html

    • socials10idesign February 7, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

      The Anne of Green Gables cover, in my opinion, does not bring justice to the original character because the original character was an empowered woman, not a romanticized Wild West Barbie.

      Thank you for your comment, what do you think?

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