The Canadian Home Front
LM Montgomery's Reflections on the First World War
Internationally-famous Atlantic Canadian writer, Lucy Maud Montgomery penned 24 books in the period 1908-1942, most significantly the iconic Anne of Green Gables (1908) about the red-haired orphan who finds a home on Prince Edward Island. Montgomery also kept detailed journals throughout her life which offer insight into the mind of this prolific writer and reveal her often strong opinions about current affairs. The First World War erupted early in her writing career, and her journals demonstrate her worries, concerns, and emotions surrounding this devastating war. From her home in Leaskdale, Ontario where she moved from Prince Edward Island in 1911 to be the wife of Presbyterian minister Ewan Macdonald, this astute reader of culture diligently followed and recorded the war news and responses to it. She also wrote the first novel in Canada to celebrate the home front: Rilla of Ingleside (1921). Montgomery’s fiction and journals depict ongoing daily life, women’s traditional and newfound labour, the technology that shaped war news, a new understanding of global politics and geography, and the devastating pressures on men. Perhaps most importantly, Montgomery underscores the bravery and fortitude of the girls and women at home who carried on in the face of a far-away war.