Monday, December 14, 2009

Reader's Diary #553- Lucy Maud Montgomery: Aunt Cyrilla's Christmas Basket

With only a passing familiarity with Lucy Maud Montgomery I might have suggested that her stories are a little on the quaint side. Usually they have a rural setting and deal with issues of morality and old timey values akin to a Norman Rockwell painting. But the more I get to know of her, the more I think I'd been judging her unfairly.

Her characters have more depth than Rockwell's naively innocent smiles. And likewise, there are larger issues at play behind her Sunday school picnic facade.

Interestingly, I think my Montgomery bias is captured quite well in the Lucy Rose character of "Aunt Cyrilla's Christmas Basket" and I was thankful that she'd made me address a side of myself I thought I'd long since made peace with: my snobbery versus my upbringing. Like Lucy Rose, and a lot of maturing kids everywhere, I went through the embarrassment stage. I moved to the big city of St. John's from a small outport community in Newfoundland, and went home on the weekends to make fun of the way my parents spoke. I was an ass. Sometimes now I'll get someone who thinks they're offering me a compliment by saying, "Oh you're from Newfoundland? I couldn't even tell." A part of me regrets having lost what I have, while another part of me questions whether or not it was inevitable.

But enough about me, my point is that Lucy Maud Montgomery's characters can awaken such emotions. Two dimensional characters cannot. The fact that they are placed in humble surroundings means diddly squat.

(Did you write a post for Short Story Monday? If so, please leave a link in the comments below.)

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Teddy Rose said...

I just copied the story to read later. I'm not usually into X-mas stories but this sounds good.

I also voted for you again. I'm glad you put that little graphic at the bottom of your post to remind me.

Melwyk said...

I'm glad you've given LMM another try. I know what you mean about the perceived quaintness of her writing, but I agree that her characters are more than simply stereotypes. That's why she has lasted so long as a Canadian icon I suppose. I didn't remember this story, though -- thanks for recalling it to my memory!