Onward to episode 3! As expected, it covers Anne's first (and second) days at school, which includes one of my very favourite incidents in the book. (And maybe a bit concerning, because it involves a form of physical violence. Oops.)
My thoughts are on the fuzzy side, because I caught the flu and haven't been feeling so well. =(
EXPECT SPOILERS BELOW
But What Is So Headstrong as Youth? focuses on Anne's first and second days at school. Anne is anxious at meeting new friends, making a positive impression, and just thrilled at the idea of being in class and learning. While Matthew and Jerry focus on working on the farm, Marilla gets an invitation to join the Progressive Mothers' Sewing Circle.
If you've ever heard the expression "the nail that sticks out gets hammered down," Anne and Marilla get at a lot of that this episode. Anne and Marilla have no idea what they're in for.
Anne sets off for school, going through the forest, practicing greetings and compliments, and adding wildflowers to her hat. She gets to school... and already, things aren't looking so great. Diana is there, of course, to show her all the ropes. But the other girls that Diana hangs out with (Jane Andrews, Josie Pye, Ruby Gillis, and Tillie Boulter) are already a bit leery of Anne, especially Josie (who is just looking for excuses to be mean). And all the boys say nasty things to Anne being a dog (because she's an orphan) - Diana tells Anne to brush it off because boys are ridiculous, except for one. Then there's all the social expectations (sharing lunch), seeing how all the younger students already know long division (Anne doesn't have a clue and is already worried she can't keep up), and witnessing a private moment between Prissy Andrews (Jane and Billy's sister) and the teacher, Mr. Phillips (they're touching hands). The last event gets out of hand very quickly - Anne suggests to Diana that something more illicit is going on between Prissy and the teacher. While it seems scandalously funny at first, the other girls are quickly disgusted when Anne rambles on about what she knows about "intimate relations" (i.e. sex) from her experience living with the Hammonds. Diana tries to help Anne out on the way home, telling her to talk less and definitely stop with anything relating "intimate relations". Anne takes the hint, but is definitely less cheery about school, despite acting as though the day went very well when she gets home from school. It's another indication of how Anne copes with unpleasant experiences - she covers it up with cheerfulness and optimism.
Meanwhile, now that Marilla is caring for a young girl, Mrs. Andrews and a number of other women invite her to join the Progressive Mothers Sewing Circle. They have tea, talk about books, and the education of young girls. They seem very keen on the idea of their daughters attending college and options for girls who don't marry (or can't get married). Marilla seems a bit overwhelmed by the experience, Rachel wants to know all about it, but in the end, Marilla decides it's a good experience because she needs to open her mind more when it comes to raising Anne. Only, she doesn't get a second invite and discovers it's because of Anne telling the other girls about "intimate relations" and suggesting that Prissy and Mr. Phillips are having "intimate relations". Marilla is horrified that Anne would be saying such things, until Matthew reminds her that Anne is a child and has no control over what she has been exposed to nor has she been given the knowledge to understand what she has been exposed to. Marilla tries to talk things over with Mrs. Andrews, who is understandably angry at the slander against Prissy, but she refuses to accept Marilla's apology or explanation. Marilla gives a glorious smackdown - while Anne needs to be held responsible for what she said about Prissy, it's unfair to judge Anne on things she's been exposed to and Marilla is grateful that Anne is now in a safe environment, and while the PMSC is all about being progressive, they don't seem to have a lot of compassion. Basically, I'll quote my brother: "Marilla - that was a sick burn!"
Day 2 at school for Anne. Billy Andrews tries to attack her on the way to school over Prissy. A boy comes over and interrupts, stopping Billy. Anne's wary and runs off to school as the boy tries talking to her until she finally introduces herself. It's pretty adorable for a first meeting. But poor, poor Anne can't catch a break at all on day 2. The boy is Gilbert, the most popular boy in school, the girls are ticked off at Anne for stealing Gil away because Ruby called dibs on him, and Gilbert hasn't a clue why the cute new girl who's really good and invested at reciting poetry refuses to talk to him or accept his apples. This culminates in Gilbert throwing chalk at Anne and finally just walking across the aisle, yanking her braid, and calling her "CARROTS." Oh, boy, we know where this is heading...
SMACK. Gilbert still manages to be snarky and charming after taking a slate straight to the face so hard that it cracks (his comeback to Anne's "I'm not talking to you!" is "You just did"), oh, but like I said, day 2 is a very bad day for Anne. Mr. Phillips punishes (humiliates) her by making her write lines (Ann without the e) and making an example of her. Except Anne can't take all the bullying any more. She walks right out of the schoolhouse with a thousand-yard stare and runs back to the Green Gables, right into Marilla's arms.
They've both had a very bad day. Who knows what tomorrow is going to look like (still fresh with no mistakes in it)?
This was a difficult episode, emotionally for Anne and Marilla. They're still adjusting to huge changes in their lives and then it seems like everyone is rejecting Anne. They both needed a lot of hugs. Gold stars Matthew this episode, for giving Marilla the perspective she needed for dealing with Mrs. Andrews, and also a moment with Jerry, who seems rather accepting of the fact that he's going to have to work to support his family, you have to wonder if he wanted more of a chance to learn. Oh, and he still has a bad habit of listening in Anne's conversations with Belle the mare. I loved the introduction of Gilbert - it felt very natural; he's just the right amount of being a bit too smug, so I'm hoping Anne will be able to take him down a few notches in the future.
Next time: will Anne go back to school? (Probably, but who knows?)
So, what are everyone's thoughts?