Saturday, September 08, 2007

Kilmeny of the Orchard

Kilmeny of the Orchard

L.M. Montgomery

Date: 1910   —   Book

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Fiction, Children's

This early novel of Montgomery's is charming despite the fact that the plot is bizarrely contrived. Unusually for Montgomery, the protagonist is male... a young, rich graduate who takes on a rural teaching position as a favor to an ailing friend. While there, he surprises a beautiful girl playing violin in the orchard and starts to court her.

This is where it gets strange. Kilmeny is mute, and resists him because she feels unworthy of anyone's love. The reason this is strange is that apparently, her inability to speak is purely psychological— a term which they didn't even have at that point, so there's discussion of "the sins of the parent being visited on the child" and all of that. Literally, it's decided that she can't speak because her mother refused to. And Kilmeny is convinced that she is ugly. And unworthy. And just not suited to a man who obviously knows what he's doing.

Well, since this is a Montgomery novel, one knows it will all come right in the end, with the craziest of deus ex machinas, but hey. It's fun.

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