Weaving a Tapestry of Beauty: Anne Shirley as Domestic Artist

Kathleen A. Miller

Abstract


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In L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Ingleside, readers encounter the beloved heroine of Anne of Green Gables, Anne Shirley, now Anne Blythe, as a middle-aged wife and mother of six. As she contemplates her role as matron, she thinks, “she would hold all the threads of the Ingleside life in her hands again to weave into a tapestry of beauty” (55). Anne’s ability to weave the threads of life, to create a beautiful tapestry of connected human experience from the lives of the individuals surrounding her, serves as proof of her domestic artistry. Even as a young girl, in Montgomery’s classic canonical children’s novel Anne of Green Gables, Anne Shirley weaves her life tapestry through the power of imagination. Earlier considerations of Anne of Green Gables and Anne as artist-figure have focused on her imaginative skills and her talents as a self-conscious dramatic artist and writer, and scholars such as Gillian Thomas, Nancy Huse, and T.D. MacLulich have noted the “decline” of Anne’s artistry as she matures throughout the series. I contend, however, that if readers examine Anne’s role as a domestic artist who weaves the social fabric of the Avonlea community through her ability to imagine, appreciate, and create beauty, they encounter a self-fashioned heroine who yearns for membership in family and community while remaining “other-interested” or, in this case, invested in artistic creation.

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