15 Reasons to Celebrate Reformation Day: The Redeeming Value of Celebrating Reformation Day

image of a church door.

Many Christians miss a beautiful opportunity to celebrate our Christian heritage on October 31, which is also known as Reformation Day. It was on this day in 1517 that a priest named Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses (complaints) against the Catholic Church to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany. His bold act opened the way … Read more 15 Reasons to Celebrate Reformation Day: The Redeeming Value of Celebrating Reformation Day

Memorization: Why It Is Important and How It Is Mentally Liberating

Man studying pictures on wall because Memorization is important.

Memorization gets a bad name these days in educational circles (especially those related to the government schools.)  Certainly, rote memorization may not make sense if we think that the information will not be used later on, but what is the brain for? To think! In order to think, one must memorize, review, and build on … Read more Memorization: Why It Is Important and How It Is Mentally Liberating

The Purpose of Christian Classical Education

The Purpose of Christian Classical Education What is the purpose of classical education? I will suggest several goals. First, as the Westminster Catechism states, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” With this in mind, classical education should be pursued with a Christian focus; it should be Christian classical education. … Read more The Purpose of Christian Classical Education

Why Participate in Classical Conversations

I discovered Classical Conversations (CC)  when my friend’s daughter sang a few skip counting and history songs to me.  “Where can I find those great skip counting songs?” I asked. As I looked into Classical Conversations, I loved that you can find a song to learn anything and actually memorize meaningful information! But it is … Read more Why Participate in Classical Conversations

The Power of Christian Classical Education

Image showing a girl reading and enjoying the freedom and sensibility of a Christian classical education.

I first heard of classical education from an eighty-year-old former teacher, whom I had over for tea. She shared her concerns about the current public school system and government-funded homeschool programs and advocated for a Christian classical education. To learn about classical education, I dived into the book The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer, … Read more The Power of Christian Classical Education

14 Reasons To Homeschool

With COVID-19, we’ve all gotten a little taste of homeschooling. You may have been given distance learning options and a curriculum to follow, but maybe you had to come up with curriculum on your own. Either way, it has probably been frustrating since you were suddenly pushed into it. But many of us come to … Read more 14 Reasons To Homeschool

Benefits of Early Childhood Music Education: 11 Reasons Kids Need Music More Than Ever!

image of boy running and carrying a ukelele

Benefits of Early Childhood Music Education: 11 Reasons Kids Need Music More Than Ever! Parents have lots of options when it comes to activities for their children. How’s a parent to choose between Baby Yoga and Toddler Soccer and Mommy & Me Cooking Classes and Musikgarten early childhood music education classes? Here are 11 important ways children benefit from music … Read more Benefits of Early Childhood Music Education: 11 Reasons Kids Need Music More Than Ever!

Robbing Anne of Green Gables

Image of the back of a girl with red hair, Anne of Green Gables

Robbing Anne of Green Gables

It is with sadness that I have learned that Netflix has come out with a new series called Anne with an E “based” on the beloved Anne of Green Gables book series for girls. (Disclaimer: I have not seen the Netflix version, and here is why.) Now we all know that books are better than any movie version of them and that no movie will follow the book exactly, but the 1985 version with Megan Follows is beautiful, virtuous and humorous, a Canadian classic, and at least captures the spirit of the Anne of Green Gables books. Set at the end of the Victorian age, Anne is an eleven-year-old orphan with an irrepressible spirit, who embodies the creativity, joy, foolishness, flightiness, and innocence of girlhood. Despite a flaring temper and tendency towards vanity, Anne demonstrates a strength of character.

The Netflix version is a series that departs far from the books, delving into Anne’s life before she is adopted by Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author, only alludes to Anne’s early childhood. There is a reason she leaves out what might not be beautiful, for little girls – and big girls for that matter – don’t need to hear the ugliness of an unloved little girl’s life. But according to reviews and comments of other viewers, the Netflix version, which is directed by Moira Walley-Beckett, portrays a gothic, gritty glimpse of Avonlea where people act as strangers rather than the warm, if flawed community of the books. Anne suffers from disturbing flashbacks, which show her supposed appalling abuse at the hands of the Hammonds and in the orphanage, and there is a scene where Anne explains sexual matters to Diana by describing how Mr. Hammond had a pet mouse in his front pants pocket.  Instead of rising above her past, Anne is unkind and bullies the hired hand, Jerry. Other characters are quite different too: when Marilla thinks Anne has lost her brooch, she sends Anne back to the orphanage. Diana is the daughter of wealthy English immigrants rather than the home-grown farm girl, and Gilbert must go to work in the shipyards of Charlottetown when his father dies and leaves him an orphan. Other scenes portray a mugging, attempted kidnapping, attempted suicide, pedophilia, homosexuality, financial ruin, and other light-hearted, age-appropriate topics – NOT! Over it all, is a loud cry of feminism from both Marilla and Anne. If Wally-Beckett wanted to delve into psychological and emotional issues that were not part of a post-Victorian culture and turn Anne into a feminist heroine, why not just set it in modern times in an inner city? Instead, Wally-Beckett spent much care in creating the details of the early 1900s on Prince Edward Island (apparently with striking cinematography) to make viewers think they were getting the same Anne, and yet, she completely changed the plot and robbed us of the dear Anne of L.M. Montgomery. Why?! L.M. Montgomery did not give us the grim and tragic worlds of Charles Dickens (think Oliver Twist) or Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and that is why pre-teen and teen girls love her books; they are beautiful, good, and full of hope.

Image of the back of a girl with red hair, Anne of Green Gables

I recently read the authorized version of Anne’s early years called Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson to see if it was appropriate for my daughter, since it is in the adult section of the library. I decided it wasn’t time for my daughter to read this. While it handles Anne’s early years with grace, it is still not the charming, pleasurable story of L.M. Montgomery’s books. In this version, Anne does not experience abuse, but she is neglected and treated essentially as a slave and a burden. Yet, there are characters who show her love along the way – an older daughter of the Thomases, a man who sells eggs and teaches her new vocabulary, a teacher, and a midwife who also helps the Hammonds. If Walley-Beckett wanted to explore Anne’s pre-Green Gables years, she could have used this lighter version, which still holds a sense of hope.

Do such reinterpretations pushing a modern agenda really help us dwell on what is lovely and pure? Does a new dark, feminist twist on the story and modern agenda reflect truth and joy? While the original books may seem a bit too naïve in regards to the emotional baggage an orphan comes with, there is nothing wrong with our little girls enjoying a Victorian moral heroine. Even as an adult, in reading the Anne books together with my children, Anne has reminded me that I once was a whimsical child and has given me a better appreciation of my creative but irresponsible daughter. I’d much rather my daughters read about Anne and see her grow into a responsible, family-loving woman than have them grow attached to some of the popular “heroines” of late. Think of Miley Cyrus, who seemingly innocent during her Hannah Montana years, has since pursued all sorts of lewd displays of “entertainment” and immoral behavior. Also, though I appreciate her sentiments about kindness and body image, Olympic gold medal gymnast Aly Raisman is no one to be emulated either, for she recently posed topless and stated: “I think being a role model is about being a kind person… Women do not have to be modest in order to be respected.” Sorry, I disagree, for in God’s kingdom, modesty and morality are important in glorifying and enjoying Him. But the point is, it is okay for our young daughters to enjoy seeing the world through the rose-colored glasses of an ever hopeful and joyful heroine like Anne. Why rob us of that in this new version and forever spoil our image of Anne, who wishes to be called Cordelia and to be loved?

So I have no intention of watching this new Netflix version of Anne of Green Gables and fill my mind with these images. Instead, I prefer to stick with not just Victorian, but biblical values, and think on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. And I look forward to watching the 1985 version with my daughters!


Jus’ Classical is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Anne Of Green Gables movies (1985)

Anne of Green Gables book series

See also:

Homeschooling: Why We Home Educate

Why We Educate Classically: The Power of Christian, Classical Education

Why We Participate in Classical Conversations

The Purpose of Classical Education

Memorization: Why It Is Important and How It Is Mentally Liberating

11 Reasons Kids Need Music More Than Ever

15 Reasons to Celebrate Reformation Day