Narcissm in " Anne" of Green Gables

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, January 1995

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Narcissism can be seen throughout the book Anne of Green Gables. Narcissism has been defined by the Oxford Paperback Dictionary as "abnormal self-love or self admiration". Narcissism is also synonymous with vanity, conceit, egotism, self-importance and arrogance. The narcissistic tendencies in Anne seem to change throughout the book and are often displayed through her imagination.

        When Anne arrives at Green Gables she is an orphan and has never learned to love anyone but herself, this changes primarily through her relationships with Matthew, Marilla and Diana. Anne's egotism can be illustrated in the initial chapter's when Anne is meeting Matthew and Marilla she asks them if they will call her "Cordelia" because "It's such a perfectly elegant name." (Montgomery p24) Anne can't seem to find any romance in her name and romance is very important to her. She settles on Anne, but it must be Anne spelled with an e because "It looks so much nicer."

(p25) The "Cordelia" reference also illustrates narcissism through the reference to Cordelia, in Shakespeare's King Lear. In King Lear, Cordelia will not give in to her father's (King Lear) narcissistic demands for love and Anne identifies very closely with this heroine. Anne substitutes her victimizing orphan situation for her imagination and identification with heroines such as Cordelia.

        Anne's first meeting with Mrs. Rachel Lynde lays the foundation for a proper demonstration of vanity. Anne is offended by Mrs. Lynde's comments about her appearance and this causes her to have a terrible outburst of anger. Anne must subsequently apologize to Mrs. Lynde. She puts forth a tremendous display of humility and is very pleased over the thoroughness of her own apology. Marilla sees Anne "... reveling in the thoroughness of her abasement." (p74) Anne comments to Marilla "I apologized pretty well, didn't I?" (p75) Anne continues...