A couple of years ago, I suddenly realized that I have grown up to become Anne of Green Gables (or maybe Anne of Avonlea, or Anne of the Island): an idealistic, stubborn, red-haired teacher and writer whose imagination gets her into and out of all kinds of weird predicaments. And I’m OK with that: just call me Maura of Montclair. So, you can imagine my dismay when I learned recently that Jonathan Crombie, the actor who played Gilbert in the Anne made-for-TV miniseries, had passed away. Fortunately, for generations of girls (and boys) to come, the character of Gilbert lives on in the books (and in the miniseries). In this article, Hadley Freeman explains why Gilbert is so important. 7 letters: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. It’s such a rare trait in literary characters. Lucy Maud Montgomery got it just right.

Gilbert Blythe

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