The search for belonging | Sunday Observer

The search for belonging

11 June, 2017

Anne of the Island is the third novel in the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery. It revolves around Anne Shirley’s university life at Redmond College in Kingsport, where she is reading for the degree of Bachelor of Arts, along with her friends Priscilla Grant, Gilbert Blythe and Charlie Sloane.

The novel begins with Anne’s departure from Green Gables, where she lived with Marilla and Mathew Cuthbert who adopted her when she was 11 years old. Anne has a vivid imagination and she often daydreams in order to escape the harsh reality of being an orphan. Anne constantly searches for belonging, and she makes imaginary journeys to the “the land of heart’s desire” and “the land where dreams come true” where illusion enables her to find temporary solace.

However, Anne’s imagination misguides her into refusing Gilbert Blythe, the man who truly loves her, and she gets involved with the wrong man, Roy Gardner. Anne’s friend Phillipa Gordon tells her, “You don’t know love when you see it. You’ve tricked something out with your imagination that you think love, and you expect the real thing to look like that.” Finally, Anne dispels the illusion of Roy Gardner, and she realizes “what the bond was that held her to Gilbert”, and that they belong to each other.

The novel explores the challenges faced by an orphaned girl, as she learns and develops into a mature, independent woman.