The Essence of Belonging

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The Essence of Belonging To belong in a society means to be accepted for your individuality and, in turn, to be accepting of your community. Susan Drain claims in her article, “Community and the Individual in Anne of Green Gables The Meaning of Belonging,” “belonging actually means conformity” (Drain, 15). This statement is not necessarily true because, in L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, Anne is able to belong to the greater community without conforming to the behaviour of the typical Avonlea girl. Drain was essentially accurate in affirming that adoption is directly associated with personal and social adaptation. Adaptation, however, is not synonymous with conformity. In Anne of Green Gables, Anne effortlessly acknowledges her surroundings and instantly makes Avonlea her home. On the very first day she arrives in Avonlea, Anne creates a place for herself by renaming the town landmarks and picturing her future self in the community: “Other people may call that place the Avenue, but I shall always call it the White Way of Delight” (Montgomery, 20). Anne could not have known that Marilla and Matthew would have a conversation that very night about sending her back to the orphanage. Anne’s assumption that she already belonged to Marilla and Matthew establishes the fact that she was ready to belong somewhere and was determined that Avonlea was that place: “Oh, it seems so wonderful that I’m going to live with you and belong to you. I’ve never belonged to anyone – not really” (Montgomery, 14). Anne proved her adaptability early in the book by seeing the community in a new light, not by changing who she was and conforming to society. Conformity can never directly result in truly belonging because that would be a lie. If Anne changed who she was in order to “belong” to the group she would not really belong, she would only seemingly fit in. The most

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