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Elements that Inspired L.M. Montgomery's Stories

newspaper clipping, poem, lover's lane photosOne of the tales Sara Stanley tells in The Story Girl may have been inspired by an early magazine piece Montgomery cut out and pasted into her scrapbook. The scrapbook story, "When Kissing Came into the World," tells of the Greek shepherd Kisthanese and his love Claudia who essentially invent the "Kis." Kisthanese cannot use his hands because he is holding a frightened Claudia so tightly in his arms. He must take with his lips a precious shiny stone from between her lips where she has carried it safely when being pursued. In Montgomery's novel, Sara Stanley found the story in one of Aunt Olivia's old scrapbooks. Sara calls it "How Kissing Was Discovered." In Montgomery's story the shepherd is named Glaucon and his love is named Aglaia.

One of Montgomery's favorite images and expressions was "the bend in the road." For this reason, when the L.M. Montgomery Institute created a CD-ROM about Montgomery's life and work, the Creative Team gave it the name The Bend in the Road: An Invitation to the World and Work of L.M. Montgomery. Montgomery talked frequently in her stories about the surprises around this bend. She also captured "the bend" as a favorite image in her photographs. The very last chapter of Anne of Green Gables is entitled "The Bend in the Road" and the next to last sentence of the novel shows Anne thinking "And there is always the bend in the road!" (329) The scrapbook shows an early poem entitled "The Bend of the Road," that captures some of the delight Montgomery also found in the image.

The scrapbooks show several photographs of and souvenirs from Montgomery's favorite haunt "Lover's Lane," in Cavendish. It may be that she learned something about framing and shaping images by taking photographs--or it could be that her natural ability to frame and focus led her to photography. Whichever way, the techniques that enhanced her pictures and attracted her to images to preserve in her scrapbooks are also ones that she used in the descriptions in her novels. Look at these images of Lover's Lane and compare them with the keyhole of light that she describes after Anne's rapturous response to the White Way of Delight in the early pages of Anne of Green Gables:

Overhead was one long canopy of snowy fragrant bloom and far ahead a glimpse of painted sunset sky shone like a great rose window at the end of a cathedral aisle (19).

In the writing Montgomery was able to supply the vivid colors she could only suggest through shape and shadow on black-and-white film or in a cyanotype.

go to LM Montgomery Institute at UPEI Website go to University of Guelph Website go to Lucy Maud Montgomery Birthplace Website go to Virtual Museum of Canada Website go to Confederation Centre of the Arts Website go to National Library of Canada Website go to English Home Page go to French Homepage magazine clipping magazine clipping of poem The Bend of the Road magazine clipping of poem The Bend of the Road photo of curved road cyanotype of lane bordered by trees photo Lover's Lane