This is one of those addictive, binge-worthy series that sucked me in so hard that I had to finish it all in one day. I literally cried through the entire first two episodes of this show. As a caveat, I have not read the original book by L.M. Montgomery, or seen the 1930’s movie by the same name, so I can’t speak to the series’ comparison to the original. But I was immediately taken by the compelling story of a rather plain orphan girl with a strong imagination trying to fit in after she is taken in by hardworking and aging farmers who were expecting to adopt a boy to help out.
But more than an emotional journey of a young girl seeking love and acceptance after a harrowing life, “Anne with an ‘E’” is a metaphorical commentary on the competing beliefs of judging humans by their utility versus accepting others solely based on their intrinsic worth. In primitive cultures, those among us who lacked the ability to “do things,” and instead were born with creative imaginations, were given a place: as shamans, medicine men/women, spiritual healers—known to their people as quirky and socially awkward but held in high regard nonetheless. But post-modern society doesn’t hold that space for artists and freelancers, a.k.a. “leeches on society.” Instead, like our protagonist Anne, their imaginations are only acknowledged subsequent to the great works that they are responsible for—like when Anne’s sharp mind finds a solution for a baby with croup or a raging housefire. Einstein is another example.
Anne’s journey for acceptance continues on when she attends school and attempts to become just another person in the community. She finds that sometimes she must subjugate her peculiar nature and hide who she truly is just to assimilate. How much she allows her true self to shine through versus how hard she works to conform to society’s expectations is the enduring theme throughout.