First, a digression: Recently I blogged about Jules Verne, Ursula Le Guin, dragons, and giant octopi. I've significantly expanded that into an article about the subtle, hidden, cultural rules of storytelling. You can read it at The Federalist.
L.M. Montgomery's Anne Shirley is so very, very beloved by many readers that I hesitate to confess my ambiguous feelings about her. Each time I return to the novels (which I read several times throughout childhood, and very much enjoyed at the time), I find myself resenting her for being airbrushed and perfect. That might sound like a weird statement, since Anne is presented as a decidedly flawed individual who is always getting into "scrapes." However, every single one of her flaws are of the sort that readers are most willing to forgive. Inclined to daydream? Good, it makes the story better-- besides, our culture admires and encourages dreams, imagination, and originality. Generous to a fault? How sweet. Passionate tempered? Adds drama, and fits our desire for feisty heroines. Anne has flaws, but they are all romantic flaws. That is rather different from having the unattractive, wart-like flaws that tend to beset us real humans.