The House of Seven Green Gables

by cheri

Just in time to experience my first hurricane (Bill) in August of 2009, I arrived in Nova Scotia, along with my husband, whose desire to visit the location of Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News, prompted our trip to a land wholly foreign to me.

Always one to check for tips about historic locations where authors and poets had lived and written, I waded into the Fodor’s Guide Book and searched the glossary.

” Hmmm…I do not see any reference to Annie Proulx or The Shipping News.”

” Look again, Cheri, it’s there.”

“In fact, dear, the most noteworthy literary reference I can find in Nova Scotia is to Longfellow and his poem Evangeline.”
Several minutes passed as I cross-checked references.

” Newfoundland is the setting for The Shipping News.”

*      *       *      *     *

Newfoundland was not on our itinerary and hotels had been booked, so to Nova Scotia we went!

While in this pristine loveliness for a week, aside from the hurricane in Halifax on the day we were to depart Nova Scotia, where in Carly Simon’s song “You’re So Vain, ” she suggests that Warren Beatty’s visit to New Scotland was  “…to see the total eclipse of the sun…, ” we visited Claire (French Acadian), Digby (English and site of Evangeline’s story), and Cape Breton Island (Scottish).

During that trip we considered traveling across the Bay of Fundy to two other Atlantic Canadian Provinces, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, but we ran out of time, and the hurricane was coming in fast. I wrote and posted several entries during that trip which can be found under the categories of Nova Scotia, Epic of Gilgamesh, and Labrador and Newfoundland.

*      *       *        *

Six years later, and with no hurricane in the forecast (yet), we are on our way to New Brunswick and PEI by car but first we have to escape Boston traffic.

“In terms of literary references in Atlantic Canada, dear, the only one I can find is the House of Seven Gables…”

“Really. My recollection is that we already saw that house in Salem in 1988. Remember, Hawthorne wrote it, correct?”

Upon checking the guidebook, I learn that the House of Green Gables was written on Prince Edward Island.

So much for our literary acumen!

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About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Life, Writing and Teaching and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to The House of Seven Green Gables

  1. The only house with many gables I recall is a bed and breakfast in Monterey with a wonderful fake owl on one of them.

  2. shoreacres says:

    My mother often referred to The House of Seven Grables. If you run into Betty, find out who else is living there with her.

  3. Richard says:

    To err is human.
    One learns by one’s mistakes.
    Unfortunately, there are circumstances where one can afford to do neither.
    Otherwise they are a cause for celebration, a happening I am profoundly familiar with.

    • Richard says:

      PS. isn’t it Anne of Green Gables, or am I committing yet another howler?

      • Cheri says:

        Yes. You are right. Anne of Green Gables…that’s the title. I purposely avoided booking a motel by its location as I understand that is where most of the tourists head once they are on PEI. According the the guide books, many Japanese tourists are goo-goo over all things Anne of Green Gables…I did not read the book and thus, plead ignorance and laziness. I should have looked it up before posting on my blog.

  4. Muni says:

    Hi Cheri, I am not sure if you knew that my mother was born in Glace Bay on Cape Breton Island. We will have to compare notes sometime!

    • Cheri says:

      Hi Muni,
      I did not know your mom was born in Nova Scotia. I want to know how her family arrived there and how she met your dad. Yes, let’s get together so you can tell me the story. We stayed on a different side of Cape Breton Island in 2009, up in the mountains at the Keltic Lodge. The drive was breathtaking; the leaves had just begun to turn. I have always wanted to go back there in late September or early October to see that island awash in the colors of fall.

  5. wkkortas says:

    I would love to visit the land of Ms. Proulx’s novel, but I’d decline the opportunity to re-visit the novel.

    • Cheri says:

      I wonder what you didn’t like about it. Was it that she over-described everything to the most minute detail?

      • wkkortas says:

        That was a good deal of it–actually, my mother referred the novel to me, saying the male protagonist reminded her of me. After reading the novel, I really started to wonder where I had went wrong.

  6. Christopher says:

    If Newfoundlanders are anything like us British Columbians, you would have found them as ignorant about Annie Proulx and The Shipping News, as apparently are Nova Scotians.

    Seeing as we are all now denizens of the world-wide American Empire, we therefore swim in the same contemporary cultural and literary waters.

    Need I say more?

  7. Cheri says:

    You are awfully rough on your fellow Canadians ( Canadien in Quebec ). By the way, I just started Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa’s 2015 collection of essays titled “Notes on the Death of Culture.” The first chapter, in which he begins to lay his argument out by way of deconstructing T. S. Eliot’s argument, along with George Steiner’s and others’, is stunning. I had to order the hardback and it took several weeks to arrive at my door.

    • Christopher says:

      I read a number of reviews on the internet of “Notes on the Death of Culture.”, plus a quite long extract from it. So I feel I don’t now have to read the whole book because I think I get what Vargas Llosa is saying, which is that western culture – courtesy of the unlettered many not piping down and shutting up – is in a very, bad way, will get worse still, and won’t likely get better.

      I think that the 80 year old Vargas Llosa is simply raging against the dying of the light – his light. He sees his imminent demise, but is assuaging his fear of it by projecting it onto the culture of society at large – particularly the low-brow culture of the unlettered many.

      Vargas Llosa seems not to get that the intrusiveness of the low-brow culture of the unlettered many is a necessary consequence of having a predominately middle-class society.

      High-brow culture has always been the bailiwick of the refined few. Nothing will change this. If you belong to these refined few, and wish not to be disturbed by the unlettered many, well, just tune them out. Today’s technology allows you to do this.

      I, myself, am all for the unlettered many – to whom I belong – having today, as never before, the opportunity, courtesy of the technological revolution, to enter into and explore the Aladdin’s Cave of cultural riches.

      Most of the unlettered many won’t likely be interested in entering this Cave, and so will remain unlettered. That is their choice. But many will enter, and will become lettered, and will be admitted to the sanctuary of the refined few, with the consequent benefit to the general culture.

      As for the death of culture, I suggest that as long as books are written, and poems created, and music composed, and songs sung, and pictures painted, and films produced, culture will never die – although it’ll inevitably change, perhaps as much as technology has changed, and continues to.

      So, I’m not worried………..

  8. Cheri says:

    Greetings from New Brunswick, Christopher! Thank you for doing some advance prep-work for me regarding Llosa’s latest book. I cannot react to your points until I read the book. I’ve read the compelling first chapter but then, since I am on vacation, I switched to fiction. Am absolutely enthralled with Lily King’s big hit and award winner ( a love triangle that references Margaret Mead, I think…) entitled Euphoria. Maybe you would like that one!

    My preliminary reaction to some of your comments is that I agree that a “lettered” person often has no more knowledge or common sense than an “unlettered” person.

    What we need to establish is an agreed definition of “culture,” don’t you think?

    • Christopher says:

      I’m intrigued by references to Vargas’s novel, “Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter” – that I think I’ll put on my “to read” list. The fiction of any writer is, after all, of more lasting value that his/her essays or polemics.

      And I think I would like “Euphoria”, which I’ll put on my “to read” list too.

      In the matter of “low culture” vs “high culture”, I have the feeling that Vargas Llosa would look down his cultured nose at the reading of illustrated comic books, which are very much “low culture”. And whenever I think of comic books, I always think of this *short scene* from the film “Getting Straight” – a film I’ve previously made you aware of.

      Illustrated comic books are little different from short films. They have the same essential characteristics, after all. So, if it’s OK watch films, shouldn’t it also be OK to read illustrated comic books? I suggest that if children become hooked on reading comic books, they’ll eventually want to read books more challenging, and will do so.

      Have fun in Nova Scotia.

  9. Christopher says:

    The link to the scene from “Getting Straight” seemed not to work.

    Maybe this will:

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