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S01.E02: I Am No Bird, and No Net Ensnares Me

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The departure from the book played out much like I thought it would, in terms of what the goal was:  namely, the series is doing a more critical examination of the whole orphan-fostering system as it existed at this time and the premise of the Cuthberts initially seeking to adopt basically because they want farm labour.  There was a measure of this in the original books -- e.g., when Marilla is sufficiently alarmed by the Blewetts to decide not to pawn Anne off on them -- but this show's ambitions go a ways further than that.  This is really about Anne insisting on being family.

I also liked the more sympathetic side of Mrs. Lynde this time around.  Diana is still just kinda there, but I imagine that'll change as we move past the initial drama of Anne's move to Green Gables and into Anne's social life in the community.  

I do like that, even when this is clearly a much more dramatic take on the premise than is often the case, they don't downplay Anne's grandiose sense of humour, as with the final scene.  The sadder parts lend these moments a bit of a different feel, but they're there.  Also, it's simply very good at being what it's aiming to be, i.e., more of a tearjerker (I totally cried at the ending).

Edited by SeanC
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I put it aside after I got to the part where Matthew was run over by a vehicle in the street and am not sure whether I will bother watching this episode. It was just too Dickensian. I'll probably watch the next episode to see how the infamous "Carrots" episode plays out, but I get the feeling I may be hate-watching from now on.

There is no way that Marilla and Matthew would have sent Anne back to the orphanage unescorted, even if they were sending her back for stealing. And seeing Rachel Lynde trying to calm a hysterical and panicked Marilla was so out of character for both of them.

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I was distracted for one second, and I missed what Diana's parents? said to her at the picnic. I think she was getting up to greet Anne and then quickly sat back down. I got the gist, just wondering about the dialogue. 

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I had a really hard time with the name-change. Having Anne become a Shirley-Cuthbert somehow seems less progressive than the original in which they clearly become a family over time without having to label themselves as one. I guess they needed a dramatic becoming family scene to balance out the dramatic rejection but it felt like something important got lost in the shuffle. 

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1 minute ago, satrunrose said:

I had a really hard time with the name-change. Having Anne become a Shirley-Cuthbert somehow seems less progressive than the original in which they clearly become a family over time without having to label themselves as one.

I can see it either way.  But (and this feels almost weird to say in the sense that a lot of the thrust of this series is approaching the property with a more contemporary perspective on society), I think it makes sense that an assertive Anne Shirley from this era would want that; names meant (and still do, I guess) mean a lot.

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Marilla was white and shaking after Anne fell of the ridgepole of the roof in the novel, so I bought her getting panicky when Matthew didn't come back. And throughout the Anne novels it was suggested that Mrs. Rachel Lynde was one of those people whom were regularly "sent for" when sickness or tragedy happened in a household, and we saw her caring side at the end of the Green Gables novel when you-know-what happens, as well as when Anne gets that bad news near the end of Anne of the Island. So I absolutely bought her being calm and brisk and capable of dealing with a panicky Marilla.

I also appreciated that Marilla dealt with her emotions by vigorous housework, as we saw that in the broach incident in the novel as well as in Anne of the Island when Anne first leaves for college.

I really appreciated that Marilla didn't soften noticeably once Anne came back, although she reached out in her own awkward way. Whoever is writing this not only knows the novels and the characters thoroughly, but is showing some measure of restraint as well.

Much like @SeanC above, I have cried and laughed at these two episodes, often at the same time. For example, when Anne was crying at the thought of writing her name in the Cuthbert family bible (I cried), and then at all the embellishments she was coming up with fo her name (I laughed).

So far, as an Anne fan who's nearly memorized the novels, I'm loving this. Even the original parts feel true to the characters and like something that could have happened had LMM chosen to go that way.

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I am open to change, but what was even more concerning in this episode was how boring it was.  I thought maybe we would get to see a little more of life in a town, or a bit more of orphanage life, but the whole running-away plot was tired and uninteresting, complete with being fleeced by a pawnbroker, being hit by a carriage and pan-handling.  

I did like the idea that Anne didn't feel secure in her stay at Green Gables, but the honesty of that feeling was undercut by the contrived and over-dramatic situation of Matthew and Marilla sending her back to the orphanage with no supervision.  Because of that, I actually could not connect emotionally with Anne and Marilla's conversation at the end, or signing the family Bible.  It's a little too early in the series to see Marilla's emotional side.

So overall, I was really disappointed in this episode.  I feel like I pretty much wasted an hour.  The unfriendly gossipy comments about Anne at the Church picnic would have been a more interesting aspect of life to explore.

Edited by Camera One
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9 hours ago, Miss Dee said:

Marilla was white and shaking after Anne fell of the ridgepole of the roof in the novel, so I bought her getting panicky when Matthew didn't come back.

Quote

At that moment Marilla had a revelation. In the sudden stab of fear that pierced her very heart she realized what Anne had come to mean to her. She would have admitted that she liked Anne--nay, that she was very fond of Anne. But now she knew as she hurried wildly down the slope that Anne was dearer to her than anything else on earth

"Mr Barry, what has happened to her?" she gasped, more white and shaken than the self-contained, sensible Marilla had been for many years.

First of all, Marilla is described as shaken, not shaking. The only outward sign that she is upset is in being pale and gasping. And the revelation that she loves Anne so much is earned, because by that point Anne had been living at Green Gables for several months. I agree with Camera One:

 

6 hours ago, Camera One said:

It's a little too early in the series to see Marilla's emotional side.

And I think that Marilla's emotional side should still be focused and practical, not hysterical and wailing about what if something bad might hypothetically have happened and now it's all her fault.

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10 hours ago, SeanC said:

I can see it either way.  But (and this feels almost weird to say in the sense that a lot of the thrust of this series is approaching the property with a more contemporary perspective on society), I think it makes sense that an assertive Anne Shirley from this era would want that; names meant (and still do, I guess) mean a lot.

 

11 hours ago, SeanC said:

The departure from the book played out much like I thought it would, in terms of what the goal was:  namely, the series is doing a more critical examination of the whole orphan-fostering system as it existed at this time and the premise of the Cuthberts initially seeking to adopt basically because they want farm labour.  There was a measure of this in the original books -- e.g., when Marilla is sufficiently alarmed by the Blewetts to decide not to pawn Anne off on them -- but this show's ambitions go a ways further than that.  This is really about Anne insisting on being family.

I also liked the more sympathetic side of Mrs. Lynde this time around.  Diana is still just kinda there, but I imagine that'll change as we move past the initial drama of Anne's move to Green Gables and into Anne's social life in the community.  

I do like that, even when this is clearly a much more dramatic take on the premise than is often the case, they don't downplay Anne's grandiose sense of humour, as with the final scene.  The sadder parts lend these moments a bit of a different feel, but they're there.  Also, it's simply very good at being what it's aiming to be, i.e., more of a tearjerker (I totally cried at the ending).

Considering Anne was talking so much about wanting to be part of a "real" family and we talk so much about how the foster care system is a complete mess, I'm not surprised by this.  Kids in her situation have always wanted to be part of a "forever family," and by living with the Cuthbert siblings, she IS.  It's a critique of how the system is STILL a mess, some, what 125-130 years later (when was Anne set?  1880s into the 1890s?  It HAS to be after PEI joins Confederation, which was 1873 (I looked)).

Note:  What is Anne to Matthew and Marilla, exactly, on "paper,"  anyway?  

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1 hour ago, PRgal said:

(when was Anne set?  1880s into the 1890s?  It HAS to be after PEI joins Confederation, which was 1873 (I looked)).

The preponderance of evidence from the books indicates that Anne was born in 1865, so this takes place in the summer of 1876 (Montgomery tracked Anne's age throughout the novels, but didn't give any years or events from which to assess things until the sixth novel, Rilla of Ingleside, which opens with the beginning of World War I; everything is backdated from that).

Edited by SeanC

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12 hours ago, PRgal said:

Note:  What is Anne to Matthew and Marilla, exactly, on "paper,"  anyway? 

Everyone uses the word adopted in the books, even though there is no formal legal adoption and Anne doesn't call Marilla her mother. In the book, after Marilla tells Anne they will keep her, they discuss what Anne is to call her.

Quote

 

"Yes, you can stay here and we will try to do right by you. You must go to school; but it's only a fortnight till vacation so it isn't worth while for you to start before it opens again in September."

"What am I to call you?" asked Anne. "Shall I always say Miss Cuthbert? Can I call you Aunt Marilla?"

"No; you'll call me just plain Marilla. I'm not used to being called Miss Cuthbert and it would make me nervous."

"It sounds awfully disrespectful to just say Marilla," protested Anne.

"I guess there'll be nothing disrespectful in it if you're careful to speak respectfully. Everybody, young and old, in Avonlea calls me Marilla except the minister. He says Miss Cuthbert--when he thinks of it."

"I'd love to call you Aunt Marilla," said Anne wistfully. "I've never had an aunt or any relation at all--not even a grandmother. It would make me feel as if I really belonged to you. Can't I call you Aunt Marilla?"

"No. I'm not your aunt and I don't believe in calling people names that don't belong to them."

"But we could imagine you were my aunt."

"I couldn't," said Marilla grimly.

 

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1 minute ago, SomeTameGazelle said:

 In the book, after Marilla tells Anne they will keep her, they discuss what Anne is to call her.

That's the only thing from the book in this episode.  50 minutes into the episode, Anne asks Marilla if she could call her Aunt Marilla and the above conversation occurs.  

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Considering the orphanage was fine handing Anne over to a brother/sister from Prince Edward Island sight unseen, I have a feeling the legality at the time was pretty informal. Basically nobody gave a shit about these kids...you were willing to take one off their hands, hey, less mouths to feed. You know a couple in another province who want a home girl? Sure, here's one! Just sign this paper! Off you go!

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These questions about the legalities of 19th century adoptions are really interesting! I popped over to Wikipedia and found out that until about the time Anne was being written (early 1900s), there really wasn't much of a practical or legal difference between indenture (being unpaid labour for a set time) and adoption. It really was a crap-shoot whether an orphan ended up with the Cuthburts, who raised the child as their child, or Mrs Thomas/Hammond/Blewett. I've also read that in the official Home Child program, the kids were supposed to be educated, but no one really checked up on them after they were placed so many weren't. Plus, the home child type programs were originally established in part to deal with staggering numbers of children living on the streets. It's horribly sad what these kids had to deal with through no fault of their own.

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Yep. Basically, anytime before the 20th century (and honestly, right up into the present day), if it's said in a story that someone took in a child and raised them as their own, they really were saving that child from what was most likely a terrible and inevitable fate.

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I'm going to need to start hydrating before every episode if this show is going to keep making me cry.

It was a bit Dickensian, yes, what with showing us so much of the dangers that children faced in this era. Come to think of it, it's about the same time period as Dickens, isn't it? I don't even want to think about what would have happened if she went with that creeper at the train station.

I would imagine there will be less Dickensian stuff going forward as Anne settles into life at Green Gables. It's going to be a bit much if Anne has a flashback to some horrible childhood trauma every episode.

I hope the show will show a little more restraint when it comes to repeating flashbacks. It annoyed me a little to get that gang of bully girls with the dead rat flashback again. I get it already, sheesh! Also, did people really say "shut your face" back then? I've been wondering that since last episode and that flashback reminded me again!

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1 hour ago, Bec said:

I hope the show will show a little more restraint when it comes to repeating flashbacks. It annoyed me a little to get that gang of bully girls with the dead rat flashback again. I get it already, sheesh! Also, did people really say "shut your face" back then? I've been wondering that since last episode and that flashback reminded me again!

That was the most annoying flashback from Episode 1 so I had the exact same reaction when they replayed it again.  

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I forgot to say that I'm loving these episode titles. I want to go out into the middle of a lonely field and recite them all dramatically.

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All I think when I see this is...not Megan Follows who is sooo Anne...they changed a lot from the first movie as well

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I read these recaps and sometimes I think, "I would like to see that show," but no info is given as to channel, day or time. Please include.

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4 minutes ago, SFoster21 said:

I read these recaps and sometimes I think, "I would like to see that show," but no info is given as to channel, day or time. Please include.

If you are in the US, all episodes are now on Netflix (as of today!)

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Made it through the first two episodes but I really did not like the deviation from the book. I am not even against things being added though the source material is so rich I don't see the need, but I just thought it was all so ridiculously over the top that it took me completely out of the story.

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1 hour ago, biakbiak said:

Made it through the first two episodes but I really did not like the deviation from the book. I am not even against things being added though the source material is so rich I don't see the need, but I just thought it was all so ridiculously over the top that it took me completely out of the story.

I found that really began in the second episode.  I would describe the events there to be over the top for sure.  The first one was mostly faithful to the events of the book.  After all the hoopla in the press about the dark flashbacks, they really weren't that traumatizing.  They were so brief that I found them to be almost forgettable and didn't have enduring impact.

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I haven't read the books in awhile, and I totally forgot what a Drama Queen Anne can be :) Granted she has plenty of reasons to have reactions, but everything is so huge even in just day to day thing, probably due to her fantasy life. No wonder mom always said was like her!

I cant say I knew anything about the adoption system back then, but it seemed like a total nightmare. More buying a small indentured worker than adopting a kid, and no one seemed to really care about their well being very much. Its just insane that it was totally legal to just hang kids around like that. I know, it was a different time and harder to keep track of things, but still! And everyone talks about Anne being an orphan like she personally murdered her parents or is some kind of plague carrier who will cause other people to catch her Orphan Cooties. Did everyone just watch The Orphan over the weekend and get freaked out?!?!

It seems like they're moving super fast through the book, why do that? There's plenty of book to fill a season, unless they're planning on doing a bunch of new stuff later on.

Edited by tennisgurl
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20 hours ago, tennisgurl said:

I cant say I knew anything about the adoption system back then, but it seemed like a total nightmare. More buying a small indentured worker than adopting a kid, and no one seemed to really care about their well being very much. Its just insane that it was totally legal to just hang kids around like that. I know, it was a different time and harder to keep track of things, but still! And everyone talks about Anne being an orphan like she personally murdered her parents or is some kind of plague carrier who will cause other people to catch her Orphan Cooties. Did everyone just watch The Orphan over the weekend and get freaked out?!?!

 

You're right, TENNISGIRL. Adopting a chid in the Victorian era was all about free labour in most cases. Here in Canada, there was even a program where orphans from England were shipped by the boatload to live and work on Canadian farms. The (very Victorian) idea was that hard work in the great outdoors was the best way to raise healthy and productive adults (working class, the rich stayed out of the sun and avoided manual labour like the plague) and Canada had both in abundance back then. The 'orphan cooties' thing was also very real. I know when I was first reading about orphans, I always thought of them as kids like Anne, but they were actually more like kids involved in the foster care system today. There was an epidemic of street kids in all major centres after the industrial revolution. Some would have been kids born out of wedlock to working moms, some might have had married parents but the mom died and dad ran off, some were kids whose families had to go to the workhouse (where families were separated) and still others were abandoned by parents who couldn't afford to care for all of them. Any of those cases were considered moral failings on the part of the parents back then and it was believed that 'bad character' would be inherited by the child too. 

 

*backing away from my history teacher hat and returning you to your regularly scheduled commenting.*

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Am I losing my mind or were the Newsies shouting whilst selling papers in the town scene, "Scientists predict greenhouse effect"?! 

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3 hours ago, Juneau Gal said:

Am I losing my mind or were the Newsies shouting whilst selling papers in the town scene, "Scientists predict greenhouse effect"?! 

I didn't understand that either. 

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33 minutes ago, mbutterfly said:

I didn't understand that either. 

My extensive research (just kidding, I went to Wikipedia) says that the term greenhouse effect was first used in 1901.

Edited by LeafontheWind · Reason: Fixed date!
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I was conflicted about the name change probably more than the rest of the episode because it didn't happen but it is a nice moment where Anne gets to formally mark her place in the family. That's something Anne never got in the books and I liked that she got it here. But I personally so identify with my name more than other things (my gender ect) that I find the changing of her name to be a bigger change than something else (and I know that it is just a me thing being hyper sensitive about my name).

But then I decided to take it as part and parcel with the rest. Anne Cordelia Shirley Cuthbert is a similar but slightly different person than Anne Shirley. And I think that I can a little more disassociate her from the books because they are saying, "hey, look... this is the same person but different for better and for worse."

And really, I was pretty giddy about Anne getting to have Cordelia as a middle name.

Edited by bybrandy
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Well, I'm a purist and don't like this series much at all.  Why not write an original series about orphanages, adoption, etc. at the turn of the century rather than using familiar and beloved characters in this way? I like the way LMM wrote her books.  The tragedy of Anne's life pre-Green Gables was quiet apparent in them.  I preferred the Megan Fellows series. 

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16 minutes ago, luvmylabs said:

Well, I'm a purist and don't like this series much at all.  Why not write an original series about orphanages, adoption, etc. at the turn of the century rather than using familiar and beloved characters in this way? 

Much less marketable.  Plus, even in this series, a lot of the "charm" of Anne comes from the lines, expressions and anecdotes from the LMM book.  Without that, would this story be as engaging or unique?

Edited by Camera One
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15 hours ago, Camera One said:

Much less marketable.  Plus, even in this series, a lot of the "charm" of Anne comes from the lines, expressions and anecdotes from the LMM book.  Without that, would this story be as engaging or unique?

I put this series right up there with the Little House on the Prairie television program.  Used some of the book story lines and made up a whole lot more of their own fiction.

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On 3/27/2017 at 7:21 AM, SeanC said:

The preponderance of evidence from the books indicates that Anne was born in 1865, so this takes place in the summer of 1876 (Montgomery tracked Anne's age throughout the novels, but didn't give any years or events from which to assess things until the sixth novel, Rilla of Ingleside, which opens with the beginning of World War I; everything is backdated from that).

I thought somewhere on the show they'd said she was 13, so even if you use book math to get a birth year, that doesn't necessarily nail down the timeframe since they've clearly fiddled with the age. So I think it's possible they're doing what they want with years.

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Hi here:

The controversy of episode 2 is that it is not in the book, nor in any previous version of Anne.

My view is that I like this new insertion into the story because it was no small event for Anne to be called a liar and a thief by Marilla, and that controversy truly needed to be expanded for emphasis.

In the book as in other versions this event is gone through quickly as if it were not such a big deal as it deserves to be.

This was a time when Marilla needed to outgrow her old prejudice and stop viewing Anne as just an orphan or as an outsider and start seeing Anne as a person, which is thereby why it follows with their official adoption ceremony.

The episode 2 also demonstrated a huge turning point for Anne because in this she made the huge big decision to not go back to the orphanage, and she was going to live by her own wits from that point onward. The fact that Anne has already decided that she would never go back to the orphanage plays a significant role later in episode 7 when she tells Marilla that it is okay if the Cuthbert's were not going to keep her because she was already free from the old strings.

Another significant point in E2 is when Matthew sells his family watch, because by doing this Matthew was choosing Anne above his old family ties.

Anyone else here have any insights or opinions then please do share?

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On 3/29/2017 at 0:29 AM, Miss Dee said:

I forgot to say that I'm loving these episode titles. I want to go out into the middle of a lonely field and recite them all dramatically.

Hi Dee ~ I tried to look up a link to E2 S1 by searching the title name = "I Am No Bird, and No Net Ensnares Me" and instead of finding AnnE then the search took me to "Jane Eyre" because the title is a quote from the book Jane Eyre.

That was a surprise to me and now I suspect that the other titles probably come from Jane Eyre too.

I like this connection to Jane Eyre, and it implies that AnnE might have formulated her peculiar imagination by reading that book which was first published in 1847.

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On 3/26/2017 at 9:45 PM, SomeTameGazelle said:

There is no way that Marilla and Matthew would have sent Anne back to the orphanage unescorted, even if they were sending her back for stealing.

Sending a 13 year old unescorted on a trip is not so unusual, and since the Cuthberts were upset at AnnE then they might not care much about her safety or security.

The far more significant point is that she was sent back to the Orphanage instead of sending Anne to the Blewetts, because that would have been more cruel.

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On 2017-12-27 at 8:50 AM, MrHammondsGhost said:

Hi Dee ~ I tried to look up a link to E2 S1 by searching the title name = "I Am No Bird, and No Net Ensnares Me" and instead of finding AnnE then the search took me to "Jane Eyre" because the title is a quote from the book Jane Eyre.

That was a surprise to me and now I suspect that the other titles probably come from Jane Eyre too.

I like this connection to Jane Eyre, and it implies that AnnE might have formulated her peculiar imagination by reading that book which was first published in 1847.

And you were right.  Well caught.

I remember the movies of Jane Eyre but I don't remember IF I ever read the book.  Movies are not so conducive for highlighting the kind of quotes they used for these titles, so thanks for pointing that out.

Now I wonder if there is a greater underpinning of Jane Eyre in the re-creation of this story by Moira Walley-Beckett than just the the quotes as titles?

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4 hours ago, Anothermi said:

Now I wonder if there is a greater underpinning of Jane Eyre in the re-creation of this story by Moira Walley-Beckett than just the the quotes as titles?

It makes one wonder why she didn't adapt Jane Eyre instead.  Jane with an E.

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16 hours ago, Anothermi said:

Now I wonder if there is a greater underpinning of Jane Eyre in the re-creation of this story by Moira Walley-Beckett than just the the quotes as titles?

Since Anne quotes "Jane Eyre" several times, including at the very beginning on the train, then I would say so - that yes a far greater underpinning..

I had never read "Jane Eyre" but I am now 3/4 way through that book as it turns out to be a very interesting book. Jane Eyre was an orphan who was first unjustly mistreated and later redeemed, and it has strong moral message along with suspense and romance which would indeed inspire a young impressionable person like Anne Shirley. 

I really say that this is a very clever interpretation of "AnnE" because it is saying that the book "Jane Eyre" could have been the source of Anne's peculiar attitude and personality.

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I hated this episode. It is not canon and was so grim. When Anne almost got taken by the man in the train station (who I assumed was a pedophile) I nearly gave up watching. And then when she wises up and gets free we see him going to prey on two other children? Yeesh! Are some of these flashbacks and horrible circumstances realistic for the time period and the life of an orphan? Sure. But they just aren't in keeping with the original story.

I think I could just maybe get behind all this if this was meant to be a some kind of gritty reboot of Anne's story if the Cuthberts had sent her away, but since it's not, this is just a bizarrely depressing detour from the optimistic and uplifting story I grew up with.

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