me and my household

"Choose this day whom you will serve... ; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.’ Joshua 24:15

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Anne with an E

Not much happening on the foster care front. Apparently the referrals they've recently had for long term fostering have all been teenagers, so we would not be suitable. We're twiddling our thumbs a little and wondering if we should consider short term care. We want to actually be useful...

On another note, I have just finished watching the first series of Anne with an E. The first few episodes I was pretty annoyed with it. So totally not Anne of Green Gables. Very loosely based, but not a thing like the one from the 80's we all know and love.

But then I read an article that turned me around a bit on it. So drawing on that, and on my own observations, here is my take on Anne with an E.

*Beware spoilers ahead*

Basically throw out all you think you know about Anne, and think of her as a child who lost her parents as a newborn. Then she found herself in state care, followed by a number of families who I guess could be considered foster carers. Not by today's standards. They provided her shelter in exchange for work. Actually it's probably more like slavery than foster care. But it has the same sense of not belonging and possibly being turfed out at any moment. She was exposed to alcoholism and domestic violence, and was the subject of physical abuse (I don't think we see that in the book). Finally she finds herself adopted out with an older brother and sister couple.

Now here's where things get pretty different. We get to see the consequence of growing up with trauma. We are presented with an Anne with an overactive imagination, but it is explained to the viewer as being a coping mechanism for horrible experiences. They do this by means of flashback sequences that she hastily covers over with new imaginings.

Her inability to relate to peers is also explored. She has a desire to be in a close relationship with Diana immediately upon meeting her - a child craving intimacy. We see her imaginary reflection friend Katie as another way of her craving company in the face of extreme loneliness and misunderstanding.

Some of the story lines that I think are most un-Anne-like are the ones that I think explore the more difficult consequences. In trying to make friends she overshares her knowledge of all thing sexual, seemingly knowing far too much for a child her age. I kind of am ok with this, but I think they forget that these kids are farm kids. There would be no surprises in that department I would think. But what they are trying to do is paint an image of an oversexualised child due to her upbringing. This is made very clear through Matthew's response of recognising that she knows far too much because of her upbringing and how terrible that is for her. Rather than responding like the other adults and judging her.

Then we have the storyline of her dealing with her first period. Here we have a child who while knowing too much in some areas, is unprepared for the world in other areas.
Behind all of this is the response of others to this child - an outsider of questionable background and morals. We have children bullying, adults judging and parents not wanting their children associating with such a child. Even Marilla is ostracised by the other women because of her association with Anne.

Edited to add * I think the episode dealing with school refusal is really brilliant. It has Marilla responding to Anne out of anger after receiving excellent advice from Rachel Lynde. This forces the hand of Anne into disobedience. She is subsequently caught out, but Marilla comes to see that she painted her into a corner. As an aside, I think Rachel gets the role of the minister and his wife in this adaption. Disappointingly they treat the minister as a dolt, and we see no sign of his wife at all. But Rachel goes from spurned to an amazing friend who Marilla can confide in, and who has wonderful advice.
Oh, but don't get me started on the feminism, etc of the series. Way overstated compared to the books. *

I think this is an excellent series exploring the impact of trauma on a child. They use a familiar childhood story to do this.

Is it a faithful remake of Anne of Green Gables? Not at all.
Is it an interesting retelling of Anne of Green Gables? I think it is.

I love that it doesn't make out things to be all roses and sunshine for all as soon as she is taken in by a stable family. I love the casting. The cinematography is stunning. I love how the characters slowly learn to relate to one another and love one another. And that you see a gradual healing of Anne as she adapts to her new environment.
It's not perfect, and there's bits I really didn't love. And I'm really not sure about the ending and where it's going. It's just moving too much into teen drama for my liking. But the first few episodes were really interesting.


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