“Gilbert Blythe” … the very ring is romantic! Despite the fact that he is a Presbyterian, he is probably every Catholic girls first crush – he was definitely mine. He is swoon-worthy, particularly for us Canadians 😉 Not because he is perfect, but because his character is such an example of noble manhood. And, even unconsciously, we girls lap that up. Men, I can see your eyes rolling. Please keep them steadily in place.
The movie series adaptation is very different from L.M. Montgomery’s series, but that doesn’t make them any less intriguing. Jonathan Crombie portrayed Gilbert so splendidly in the Anne of Green Gables 1980’s movies. For most, Jonathan Crombie IS Gilbert (for I have found that the majority of “Anne” fans haven’t read the novels). Tragically, he passed away April 15th. And so, in honour of Jonathan Crombie’s recent decease, Gilbert is the topic of today’s post. Men, stick around and find out why we Catholic girls like Gilbert so much…(No, I won’t be a silly girl about it, I’ll just give you some short and simple facts that may enlighten your understanding of female enthusiasm over the character of Gilbert Blythe):
1. Gilbert has Fortitude – He forcefully grasps’ Anne’s attention: Anne isn’t even introduced to Gilbert before he pulls her braids and calls her “Carrots”. In a child’s world, a boy throws rocks at you when he thinks you are pretty. Naturally, this doesn’t make sense to us girls. We simply cry and don’t understand the purpose of being so mortally wounded and humiliated. BUT… something in this strange course of nature is intriguing, and this boy has forever gained our attention. I’m not saying women like being insulted, I’m saying we like it when a Catholic man decidedly makes an attempt at meeting us. It shows a sense of confidence and manly quality.
2. Gilbert is Just – He is apologetic when he realizes he was unkind: When it is made perfectly clear that his actions were hands-down unkind, he is sorry for them. He only wanted to meet Anne (and in his defence, she is so dreadfully proud, he had to make some sort of impression!!) But nonetheless, it hurt Anne, and he is sorry because of that. This is not to say that we gals want an apology every time you blink wrong. We are more emotional beings then men, and we appreciate the acknowledgement of how your actions (albeit unintentionally) hurt us. Not all girls can be logical and sensible when it comes to emotions, which is a fault. And you probably shouldn’t waste your time with those who don’t work on it. But be patient with them if they are working on it, and in return they should be patient with you for not understanding their emotional reactions.
– He knows all her faults, and loves her despite them: He likes Anne for being different than other girls, for just being herself. She goes against conventional females, and whether it be her fire-ey temper or her empathy towards fellow creatures, he likes her because of it. He never wishes she was anyone or anyway other then exactly who she is.
4. Gilbert is Charitable & Humble – He encourages her to be the best she can be: The point of friendship is to help one another be the best we can be, to grow in virtue and love, and ultimately gain heaven. Gilbert never hesitates to correct Anne when she is in the wrong, to put her in her place, to encourage her when she is down, to praise her when she needs or deserves it. Gilbert doesn’t allow his pride to over-throw his love for Anne. He always puts her before himself, and eventually Anne learns from him to always put Gilbert before herself.
5. Gilbert is Chivalrous – He is the “Knight in Shining Armour”, even when she rejects it: We all love the river scene. Anne ends up in a leaking boat, and climbs onto the leg of a bridge, waiting for help. When Gilbert comes along in his fishing boat, she is sarcastic and snobbish. Despite this, Gilbert faithfully pulls her into safety, and when she demands to be delivered to land, he does so with no sharpe tongued digs. Of course Anne’s treatment of him is wrong, but he nevertheless is meek and true, as St.Joseph would have been, and does his duty to her (undeserving though she may be). As Catholic women, we naturally do not condone Anne’s behaviour, but it is the noble love that Gilbert shines forth in this scene that grabs our attention.
6. Hand-in-hand with chivalrous, he is Sacrificial: He arranges to give up the Avonlea school to Anne and take the out-of-town school instead, so she might stay at Green Gables with aging Marilla and help run the farm while she also does her studies through correspondence.
7. Gilbert has Perseverance – He works hard to achieve his goals: whether it is his noble perseverance of Anne or pursuing his medical dreams, Gilbert works hard for what he wants in life. He doesn’t give up when obstacles are in his way, when one avenue is shut down. Anne foolishly rejects him – he is saddened but never gives up, he endeavors to deserve her love. His father can’t afford medical school – he works as a teacher to save enough money to put himself through medical school. It is a positive trait for a man to be persistent in what he wants.
These are all praise worthy virtues in men that are valued by true Catholic women. Any man who has these virtues (and others) is worth the time of day to get to know. I love Anne & Gilbert’s relationship because at the very start, it was based on camaraderie, a true and good friendship, instead of the desperate relationship status of today’s world. No two characters I know of have as true a devotion for each other as Anne Shirley & Gilbert Blythe. I love that Anne learns so much from Gilbert – he is someone she can aspire to be like, to trust, to confide in, to devote herself wholly to in years to come (the book series shows farther into the years & their souls than the movies do).
So here’s to you, Jonathan Crombie, for portraying Gil as perfectly as you did – for to play a character, one has to have those qualities in oneself.
Let’s remember to keep Jonathan in our prayers.
Requiem aeternam dona ei Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.