Summary (Masterplots II: American Fiction Series, Revised Edition)
Anne of Green Gables recounts, through a series of short episodes, Anne’s girlhood, from her arrival at the village of Avonlea to the time she graduates from Teacher Training College. Based on L. M. Montgomery’s own childhood memories, Anne’s life is shown to be intertwined with the pastoral rhythms of this particular eastern seaboard province of Canada.
The story begins with a middle-aged brother and sister in search of a young orphanage boy to help around their farm, Green Gables. As the result of a misunderstanding, they get a ferociously talkative, red-haired, plain little girl. Matthew, however, takes an immediate liking to her, and Marilla is also sufficiently sorry for her not to send her back. To Anne, the farmhouse, with its little east gable room as her bedroom, is like paradise. Her imagination, already highly trained to overcome the harsh, unadorned realities of her previous existence, is kept busy as she absorbs new sights and situations. Her upbringing proceeds along two domestic channels—school and home. Marilla, a spinster, has severe and old-fashioned notions of rearing a child as austerely as possible, with little encouragement or praise. Her regime, therefore, is in constant conflict with Anne’s natural creativity and love of beauty. All requests for nice clothes or bedroom decoration are turned down. At times, it is a grim struggle on Marilla’s part to teach traditional modes of female behavior and skills to this...
(The entire section is 725 words.)
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Summary (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
Montgomery’s journal for 1904 contains the germ for her first published novel, Anne of Green Gables: An elderly couple intend to adopt a young boy, but the orphanage sends a young girl instead. Spinster Marilla Cuthbert and her brother Matthew decide to adopt an orphan boy to help Matthew with chores. Complications occur when Matthew, a shy bachelor, is completely overwhelmed by the imaginative girl waiting at the train station. Anne talks all the way to Green Gables, explaining how imagination helps her cope with the unpleasantness of life as an orphan; she creates personalities for trees, brooks, ponds, even a geranium at the doorstep, giving each an imaginative name. This love of nature seems excessive to many in Avonlea, but Matthew is charmed, insisting that she remain. Anne declares Matthew the first “kindred spirit” she encounters in Avonlea.
Eventually, Marilla decides Providence sent Anne to Green Gables. She never completely understands Anne, and she has difficulty expressing affection, but Marilla’s pride in and love for Anne grow throughout the novel. Seeing her role as disciplinarian, Marilla allows Matthew to spoil Anne, while she tries to inculcate religious principles, etiquette, and a degree of practicality, but she too insists that Anne have the best life the Cuthberts can afford.
Impetuous and quick-tempered, Anne must learn tact, restraint, and etiquette before she moves from outsider to part of the...
(The entire section is 581 words.)
Anne of Green Gables is a 1908 coming-of-age novel about a free-spirited orphan girl. The book and its sequels have remained in print for over a hundred years, and the stories have been adapted for several film and stage productions.
At the beginning of Anne of Green Gables, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert have decided to adopt an eleven-year-old orphan boy. Matthew is getting old and needs help around the farm, and they think a boy could both work for them and benefit from their home and care. Their friend Rachel Lynde, an outspoken gossip, thinks this is a terrible idea. Matthew and Marilla are brother and sister, an old bachelor and spinster, and they have no knowledge about raising children. Besides, the new child could be a bad seed.
However, Matthew and Marilla make their decision against Rachel's advice, and Matthew goes to the train station to get the boy. When he arrives, he finds a girl instead: a freckled redhead who sits waiting outside on a pile of shingles. She has chosen this spot instead of in the ladies’ waiting room because she finds “more scope for the imagination” outdoors. Matthew is terribly shy and soft-spoken, and he has trouble talking in the presence of any sort of girl. This imaginative, chattering child is more than he can handle on his own. He decides it is best if Marilla explains the situation, and he takes her home. On the way, she exclaims at the beauty of the sights they pass, and she gives fanciful new names to local streets and ponds.
When they reach Green Gables, the Cuthberts’ home, Anne is devastated to learn she is not wanted. She proclaims that she is in “the depths of despair." She cannot eat, so Marilla puts her to bed. Later, Marilla is shocked to learn that Matthew wants Anne to stay. Marilla demands to know what good the girl would be to them, and Matthew says, “We might be some good to her.” Marilla says Anne has “bewitched” him and insists that the girl has to go back to the orphanage.
The next morning, Marilla takes Anne to see Mrs. Spencer, the woman who mistakenly brought Anne to them. On the way, Marilla interrupts Anne’s fanciful chatter (“Wouldn’t it be nice if roses could talk?”) with questions about the girl’s life. Marilla insists that Anne tell the truth without adding in any imagined details. Anne explains that her parents died of fever when she was a baby. They had no relatives, and she was...
(The entire section is 2217 words.)
By modern standards, Montgomery's emphasis on good manners and moral lessons may seem heavy-handed, but Anne's life is far from dull, and most readers see encouraging parallels between themselves and her. Montgomery captures the happy side of childhood: the excitement of finding a "bosom friend," creating a romantic fantasy world, and receiving small privileges. Anne experiences the dark side of childhood as well: the loneliness of the outsider, the sense of being unattractive, and the grief of losing someone very dear. Most of Anne's triumphs follow extreme embarrassment. Her imagination, impulsiveness, and tendency to talk too much lead to one misadventure after another. Still, through a combination of resourcefulness and good luck, Anne manages to avoid any dire consequences.
(The entire section is 119 words.)
Chapter 1 Summary
Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, though published in 1908, remains a popular novel for young adults around the world to this day. The story has been adapted as screen and television movies as well as a television show and an animated series. In Canada, which claims the author as one of its own, Anne of Green Gables—The Musical has broken records as that country’s longest running staged musical. Montgomery’s novel proved so popular that the author decided to write sequels. Several more stories featuring the red-headed, female protagonist soon followed. Today there are numerous Web sites and even a Facebook page for fans of this novel’s captivating main character.
Anne of Green Gables is set in a very small town, Avonlea, located on Prince Edward Island off the eastern coast of Canada. As the story begins, it is early summer some time in the early part of the twentieth century. The town’s gossip, Mrs. Rachel Lynde, sees Matthew Cuthbert driving in his horse-drawn carriage past her home. This surprises Mrs. Lynde for two reasons. First, Matthew is neatly dressed in his best clothes, which signifies the importance of his journey. Second, Mrs. Lynde believes Matthew should be in his fields tending to his crops and not driving about in his carriage. The fact that he is not working suggests to Mrs. Lynde that something must be wrong. To discover what the problem might be, Mrs. Lynde makes her way to Marilla Cuthbert’s door. Marilla is Matthew’s sister. Neither Marilla nor Matthew ever married; they have lived together on their farm at Green Gables all of their adult lives.
Marilla is a little disturbed to see Mrs. Lynde standing at her door. Although the women are friends, their personalities are starkly different from one another’s. Whereas her brother, Matthew, is a man of very few words, Marilla enjoys a good conversation from time to time. But Marilla is wary of saying too much to Mrs. Lynde. Everyone in Avonlea knows that whatever Mrs. Lynde hears is quickly spread around the entire community. Marilla is a very private person and likes to keep her personal business to herself.
The first thing Mrs. Lynde wants to know is why Matthew is so carefully dressed and where he is going. Mrs. Lynde claims that she hurried to see her friend because she was afraid Matthew might be going out to get the doctor because Marilla was ailing. Reluctantly Marilla tells Mrs....
(The entire section is 544 words.)
Chapter 2 Summary
Matthew Cuthbert is a very quiet man. He is also very shy, especially around women. He spends most of his days in his barn or out in the fields. When he does come home, he seldom enters the upstairs section of the house, leaving those quarters to his sister. As he makes his way to the train station, he enjoys the silence. When he arrives, he avoids the eyes of the young girl he sees standing outside the station.
He is surprised to find that the train has already come and that there is no young boy waiting for him. Matthew goes inside and questions the stationmaster, asking if he saw a Mrs. Spencer get off the train with a child. Mrs. Spencer is the friend who was to bring the orphan child to Avonlea for the Cuthberts. The stationmaster confirms that Mrs. Spencer has come and gone and left the child outside on the platform.
When Matthew goes outside, the only person he sees is the young girl he had noticed before. He looks around but finds no other child. As he ponders what to do next, the girl, who looks to be eleven and is shabbily dressed, puts out her hand and introduces herself. Her name is Anne Shirley and she was beginning to wonder if Matthew had forgotten her. She had already made plans for what to do in case she had to spend the night at the train station. She would have slept in the cherry tree across the way, where she could enjoy the blossoms and the light of the moon, she tells Matthew as they make their way to the carriage.
It becomes quite evident to Matthew that Anne has little fear, enjoys a very creative imagination, and seldom stops to take a breath; she prefers to talk in long, twisting sentences. Although Matthew realizes a mistake has been made, he does not have the heart to tell the young girl that she will have to return to the orphanage because he and his sister had specifically requested a boy.
As they ride home, Matthew is surprised to find that Anne’s incessant talking actually him. She is a very intelligent child, he concludes, and has an unusual way of looking at everything. As they pass various rivers or ponds or fields, Anne feels startled by all the beauty of the island. She does not, however, appreciate the dull names the landmarks have been given. She suggests to Matthew that they call them by different names, which she makes up as they go along. Anne also has a tendency to criticize herself rather harshly. One of the first things she says about herself is how...
(The entire section is 530 words.)
Chapter 3 Summary
When Marilla Cuthbert sees the young, red-headed girl walk into their home, she has no problem stating that a mistake has been made. Marilla discusses the error in front of Anne, who realizes immediately that the beautiful, green-gabled farmhouse will not be her new home. Anne cannot control her emotions as the dreams she has been building in her imagination disintegrate, leaving her with nothing but disappointment. As she sobs, she announces to the Cuthberts exactly how she feels. No one has ever wanted her, she wails—why had she thought things would change? Displaying how dramatic she can be, Anne tells the brother and sister that she has been cast into “the depths of despair.”
The tears soften Marilla momentarily, and she asks the girl what her name is. Anne replies that she would like to be called Cordelia because she finds that name very romantic. She pleads with Marilla to please call her this. When Marilla insists on using the girl’s real name, Anne confesses what it is. She tells Marilla that though she thinks Anne is a very plain name without any imaginative thought behind it, she is glad her name is at least spelled with an e at the end of it; that extra e makes her name more acceptable.
At dinner, Anne is too upset to eat and tries to appeal to Marilla’s good nature, hoping Marilla will feel sorry for her. However, Marilla is a very rational woman and knows that a girl will only mean another mouth to feed. A boy, on the other hand, would be someone who could help Matthew with the farm chores and eventually take over all the duties of the farm. Besides, this young girl is constantly talking and her emotions are out of control. There is nothing Marilla can do for this girl orphan. Whether she cries or despairs, Anne will have to be returned to the orphanage. Marilla will meet with Mrs. Spencer to figure out how the mistake occurred.
In the meantime, Marilla shows Anne to the guest bedroom upstairs. She tells Anne to say her prayers before she goes to bed and to properly fold her clothes and leave them on the chair. After Marilla leaves the room, Anne does neither. She looks around the room and out the window at the beautiful landscape of the farm. This all could have been hers if only she were not Anne Shirley, she thinks. The thought of going back to the orphanage is worse now that she has seen what she might have had. Her misery overcomes her, and she cries herself...
(The entire section is 555 words.)
Chapter 4 Summary
When Anne awakens, she is stunned by the beauty of the flowering plum tree outside the bedroom window. Although the sight of it amazes her, it also causes her some confusion because she cannot remember, for a few seconds, where she is. When the realization returns to her, so does the sadness that none of this will be hers. Again, she must face that Matthew and Marilla do not want her.
However, at the breakfast table, Anne decides that her disappointment will not influence her appetite. The breakfast food smells good, and Anne is very hungry because she did not eat much dinner the night before. Her appetite does not stop her from talking, though. Finally, Marilla, who is used to a quiet home, tells Anne that it is not natural for a child to be constantly chattering. However, when Anne obeys her and stops talking, Marilla is almost as uncomfortable with Anne’s silence as she was with her never-ending talking. Marilla is also disturbed by her brother’s silence. She can tell by Matthew’s facial expressions that he disagrees with Marilla’s wanting to send Anne back to the orphanage. Marilla does not understand why he does not come out and argue in Anne’s defense if he wants to keep the girl.
After breakfast, Marilla tells Anne to go outside and wander around the farm. Although Anne normally loves being outdoors, especially in the midst of such natural beauty as the Green Gables landscape, she refuses to go. Anne tells Marilla that if she were to go out, she would fall in love with Green Gables at an even deeper level than she already feels. That would make it incredibly more difficult when it is time to leave. To save her that greater disappointment, she decides to stay inside.
Anne keeps in Marilla’s company and continues her conversation, though what transpires is less like a conversation and more like a monologue. Anne does all the talking. Even when Anne asks questions, they are mostly rhetorical. Either they do not require answers or Anne does not wait long enough for Marilla to answer them. Instead, Anne just continues along, following one thought after another. Most of what she says has to do with the nature she sees around her and the effect it has on her. She displays her tendency to see everything in a very romantic light. Although this aspect endears Anne to Matthew, Marilla’s disciplined, rational way of looking at everything puts her at odds with the young, imaginative girl. Marilla thinks...
(The entire section is 534 words.)
Chapter 5 Summary
As they ride to Mrs. Spencer’s house, Marilla asks Anne about her family and her past. Anne does not remember her parents, but she knows her parents’ names were Bertha and Walter Shirley, and they were both teachers. Anne was a very young baby when her parents died from a fever. Upon their deaths, Anne was taken in by Mrs. Thomas, who had several children of her own. Anne stayed at the Thomas’s home until Mr. Thomas died. Mrs. Thomas had too many children to take care of, so she gave Anne, who was then eight, to another woman who needed help in raising her own children. What impressed Anne the most about this next household was that the woman had three sets of twins. Anne insists that after those two years she spent at the Hammonds’ house, she was well trained in how to manage children. However, when Mrs. Hammond died, Anne was sent to the orphanage, where she remained until Mrs. Spencer brought her to Avonlea.
When Marilla asks Anne about her education, Anne reveals that she has had very little formal training. However, she was taught to read. It was through her voracious appetite for books that Anne was able to educate herself. Books also developed Anne’s vivid imagination.
Anne’s history softens Marilla. She realizes what a difficult childhood Anne has endured in her eleven years. However, Anne is not in the mood to feel sorry for herself. Instead, she tells Marilla that there is always a way to find enjoyment in life “if you make up your mind” to do it. This is not an easy task all the time, Anne says. One must be very firm about doing it. At present, Anne distracts herself by admiring the scenery as they drive to Mrs. Spencer’s. She wills herself not to think about going back to the orphanage. Instead, she spots a wild rose and comments on how lovely it is. The rose is pink—a color Anne declares is the “most bewitching color in the world.” Unfortunately, Anne declares that even though she loves this color, there is no way she could ever wear pink. Her red hair would clash horribly with it. She asks Marilla if she has ever known anyone who had red hair as a child but who’s hair changed to a more agreeable color when she grew up. Marilla is unwilling to play along with Anne’s imagination, so she tells her she has never known anyone whose hair changed color. Anne replies with a sigh and a remark that this is the end of yet another hope. She adds that her whole life has been not much more than a...
(The entire section is 539 words.)
Chapter 6 Summary
When Marilla and Anne arrive at Mrs. Spencer’s home, the women discuss the error that was made. Mrs. Spencer insists that she was told the Cuthberts wanted a girl. Marilla realizes that for such an important task as choosing an orphan to adopt, she and Matthew should have gone to the orphanage themselves. After talking the situation over, Mrs. Spencer comes up with a solution. Mrs. Peter Blewett recently stated that she needed a young girl and was considering adopting an orphan. Mrs. Blewett has several children and needs a girl to help take care of them, Mrs. Spencer tells Marilla. If Mrs. Blewett agrees to take Anne, then the Cuthberts would be free to adopt the boy they need.
Marilla is not very pleased on hearing the name of Mrs. Blewett. The woman has a reputation for being mean and selfish. The reason Mrs. Blewett needs a girl probably has something to do with how difficult it is for anyone to work for her. In addition, after hearing Anne’s history, Marilla cannot bear the thought of turning Anne over to Mrs. Blewett’s care. The child has already suffered enough.
As they are talking, Mrs. Blewett comes to visit Mrs. Spencer. At the sight of the woman, Anne feels very uncomfortable. Marilla notes this and cannot allow Mrs. Blewett to take Anne away. She sees the misery in Anne’s face; she feels afraid that if she were to let Anne go, she would never be able to forgive herself for not helping the child. Still not willing to completely admit that she has conceded, Marilla tells Mrs. Spencer and Mrs. Blewett that she needs more time to think over the situation. She will take Anne home for the time being. She and Matthew have not fully decided whether to keep Anne or give her away. If the women do not hear from her by the next day, they should consider Marilla and Matthew’s decision is in favor of keeping Anne.
As soon as Anne hears this, she begins to hope again. As soon as she is alone with Marilla, Anne wants to know if Marilla really had said she might keep her. Anne worries that maybe she only imagined hearing Marilla say this because she wants so much to hear it. Marilla tells Anne that she needs to control her imagination if she cannot tell the difference between what is real and what is not. However, Marilla says, she did say that she wanted more time to consider the possibility—though no decision has yet been completely set.
Upon arriving back at Green Gables, Marilla finds...
(The entire section is 519 words.)
Chapter 7 Summary
Now that the Cuthberts have decided to keep Anne, Marilla begins what she sees as the moral education of the young girl. This night, Marilla takes Anne to bed and insists that the child say her prayers. Anne responds by stating that she has never prayed before. This startles Marilla. She asks if Anne knows who God is, and Anne repeats the standard answer she has memorized from the little religious education she has received. Although Anne responds without much animation in her voice, Marilla is at least thankful that she does not have a “heathen” living in her house. When pressed further to describe God, Anne uses words such as “infinite, eternal and unchangeable.” However, Anne is more impressed with the sound and the immensity implied in these words than she is with the concept of God.
To make Anne want to say her prayers every night, Marilla suggests that children who do not pray are considered to be “bad.” Anne is not impressed. She answers that when a child has red hair it comes fairly easy to be bad. One of Anne’s former caretakers had once told her that God gave her red hair on purpose, implying that red hair signified something negative and was a punishment. Anne tells Marilla that after she was told this, she decided she did not like God.
Marilla has had enough of Anne’s chatter. She tells Anne that she must say her prayers regardless of any of her past experiences. Anne agrees to do this; she says she will do anything Marilla wants her to do. However, Anne does not know what to say in a prayer, so Marilla will have to teach her. Marilla is about to teach Anne the child’s prayer that begins with the words “Now I lay me down to sleep,” but she hesitates. That prayer is for very young and very innocent children—but this does not describe Anne. Instead Marilla tells Anne she can say anything she wants as long as she keeps in mind the purpose of prayer, which is to thank God for all her blessings and then ask for things she desires. Anne proceeds to thank God for the landscape that presently encircles her at Green Gables. When she comes to the things she wants, Anne says the list is too long for one prayer. She mentions only the first two things on her list, which is to stay at Green Gables and to please let her be pretty when she grows up.
Later when Marilla finds Matthew in the kitchen, she tells him that she will have her hands full in training and educating Anne. She then states...
(The entire section is 481 words.)
Chapter 8 Summary
Marilla decides to test Anne a little further the next morning. She gives Anne kitchen chores, and Anne performs them very well without any complaints. Marilla concludes that Anne is intelligent and obedient, is willing to help out, and is quick to learn. Anne’s only drawback is that she tends to get lost in daydreams, which sometimes causes her to be careless and forgetful of the task at hand until she is reprimanded or causes an accident.
After her chores are completed to Marilla’s satisfaction, Anne pleads with Marilla to tell her of her fate. She can no longer bear not knowing if she is going to stay at Green Gables or be sent back to the orphanage. Marilla finally gives in and tells Anne that if she promises to try to be a good girl and demonstrate her gratitude, she can stay at Green Gables. Anne bursts into tears, which surprises Marilla almost as much as they surprise Anne. When Anne attempts to explain her tears, she enters into a long discussion of choosing the correct word to express her feelings. She tries to say that she is crying because she is glad, but the word glad sounds too trifling for the emotions she is feeling. Anne then tells Marilla that she will try her best to be good, but Marilla should understand that this will be a great challenge for her because she has previously been told that she was “desperately wicked.” Then she asks Marilla to explain why she might be crying. It makes no sense to Anne that she should have so many tears at a time when she feels very happy.
Marilla attempts to calm Anne, telling her that her emotions are all mixed up because of her excitement. Marilla adds that Anne needs to learn to control her feelings; she tends to cry and laugh far too easily. Marilla then discusses the terms under which Anne will be staying at Green Gables. She will begin school in the fall, and they have a lot to do before then, including making proper clothes for her.
When Anne asks what she should call her, Marilla says Anne should merely call her Marilla. Anne wants to call her Aunt Marilla, but Marilla is too rational for this. She reminds Anne that she is not her aunt, so that would be a lie. Anne, however, desires a stronger sense of family connection between them. She suggests that they could pretend they are blood relations, but Marilla refuses to do this. This leads Anne to ask if Marilla has ever imagined that things are different from how they actually were....
(The entire section is 461 words.)
Chapter 9 Summary
Anne has been living at Green Gables for about two weeks when Mrs. Rachel Lynde finally comes to visit. This was an uncommonly long time for Mrs. Lynde to stay away from important news in the community—the arrival of Avonlea’s newest member—but she had been ill and under doctor’s orders to not leave home. As soon as she is released from this order, she rushes up to Green Gables to inspect the orphan girl, Anne Shirley.
When Mrs. Lynde arrives, Anne is out in the orchard. This gives Mrs. Lynde time to speak with Marilla alone. She tells Marilla that she was shocked when she heard that Marilla and Matthew were keeping the girl. Mrs. Lynde says they should have sent the girl back to the orphanage because it was all a mistake. In part, Marilla agrees with Mrs. Lynde, and she admits she did consider it. But Marilla adds that she and Matthew took a liking to the girl, despite some of Anne’s faults. Now, the house would seem empty without Anne, Marilla says. Marilla even goes so far as to compliment Anne, calling her “a real bright little thing.” From Mrs. Lynde’s expression, Marilla realizes too late that she has said more than she should have. She can tell immediately that Mrs. Lynde does not approve of what they have done.
Mrs. Lynde points out that neither Marilla nor Matthew has any experience in raising children. Also, they cannot possibly know much about Anne’s background and character, so there is no telling how Anne will turn out. They do not know the true nature of Anne’s disposition or personality. Mrs. Lynde then states that she does not want to discourage Marilla. Marilla tells her friend that she has not been discouraged. She has, however, made up her mind to keep Anne, and once a decision is made, she sticks with it. So Mrs. Lynde can meet Anne, Marilla goes to the door and calls to Anne, telling her to come into the house.
Upon seeing Anne, the first thing Mrs. Lynde says is, “Well, they didn’t pick you for your looks.” The woman then continues to inspect Anne and vocalize her criticism. She says Anne is too skinny, very homely, covered in freckles, and has hair the color of carrots. As Anne listens to these remarks, she is filled with anger. Without considering the consequences, Anne exclaims to Mrs. Lynde’s face that she hates her. She says Mrs. Lynde has no right to say all those mean things to her. She tells Mrs. Lynde that she is a “rude, impolite, unfeeling woman.”...
(The entire section is 582 words.)
Chapter 10 Summary
The next morning when Marilla tells Matthew about what Anne said to Mrs. Lynde, Matthew is far from feeling disappointed with the girl—he applauds her, stating that it was time someone spoke up to the “meddlesome old gossip.” This annoys Marilla, who believes Anne should be punished. Matthew says he agrees that Anne should have a small punishment but urges his sister not to be too harsh with the girl. He reminds Marilla that Anne has not had very good training in social graces. Marilla says Anne will have to stay in her room until she decides to apologize to Mrs. Lynde, but Marilla will not make Anne miss any meals. Marilla will take the time to carry Anne’s meals up to her room.
For three meals that day, Marilla must take a food tray to Anne’s room because the child is too stubborn to give in. So when Matthew sees Marilla leave the house to walk to the fields to bring the cows home, he takes advantage of his sister’s absence and goes upstairs to talk to Anne.
Matthew says he wants to make sure Anne is doing all right after spending the entire day in her room. Anne reports that she is a little lonesome, but she might as well get used to it, insinuating that she might be confined to her room for a long time. Matthew points out that eventually Anne will have to apologize because Marilla is a head-strong woman who never backs down from anything once she sets her mind to it. He suggests, if an apology is inevitable, why not do it and get it over with as soon as possible so she can get out of her room? Anne says she thinks she can do that, at least for Matthew’s sake. She adds that she would not be exactly lying when she apologizes because she is truly sorry for what she said. The only problem is that it would be very humiliating to say this to Mrs. Lynde. She would rather stay in her room than do that. However, if this is what Matthew wants, Anne says she can do it for him.
When Marilla returns to the house, Matthew is already out in the barn, afraid that she might catch him interfering in the raising of Anne. He told Anne not to tell Marilla that he spoke to her, which Anne promised to do.
Later, Marilla and Anne walk down to Mrs. Lynde’s house. Anne has prepared her speech, which she delivers with a dramatic flair that includes getting down on her knees. She tells Mrs. Lynde that she is “so extremely sorry” and could not express her sorrow even if she used all the words in the...
(The entire section is 539 words.)
Chapter 11 Summary
Marilla has made three new dresses and presents them to Anne, asking for her impressions of them. Anne responds by saying she can “imagine” that she might like them. Marilla asks Anne what is wrong with the garments. Anne admits that they are not very pretty. Marilla tells Anne that she did not make them to be pretty; she made them to be “serviceable.” The dresses are good and sensible with no frills, and they are the only clothes Anne will get for the summer. Marilla reminds Anne that she should be grateful she has received any new clothes at all. She expects Anne to keep them clean and tidy. Anne says she is grateful—but she would be even more grateful if Marilla had made just one of them with puffy sleeves, which is all the fashion for a young girl’s dresses.
Later, when she is in her room, Anne remembers that she had prayed for at least one fancy white dress. However, she expects that God does not have time to listen to the prayers of an orphan girl. She consoles herself by deciding to pretend that one of the dresses is white with puffy sleeves.
The next morning, Marilla awakens with a headache and cannot go to church. She tells Anne to go to church with Mrs. Lynde, who will tell her what to do; this is the first church service Anne will attend. As she walks toward Mrs. Lynde’s house, Anne bemoans the fact that not only is her dress plain but her straw hat is, too. Most girls have ribbons on their hats. To remedy the situation, Anne stops to pick some wildflowers and attaches them to the brim of her hat. By the time she reaches Mrs. Lynde’s house, the woman has already left. So Anne proceeds on her own.
When Anne returns home, Marilla asks about her experience at church. Anne tells her that the preacher was so boring she almost fell asleep. To keep herself awake, she looked out at the fields and the lake and thanked God for all the beauty. She also informs Marilla that when she went to her Sunday school class, she noticed that all the other girls had dresses with puffy sleeves. She then tells Marilla about the teacher, Mrs. Rogerson, who did all the asking even though Anne had many questions of her own. When Mrs. Rogerson asked Anne if she could quote any passage from the Bible, Anne said she could not, but she could recite a poem. The poem was so “sad and melancholy,” Anne told the woman, that it could be considered a religious poem. Mrs. Rogerson declined to hear it.
(The entire section is 508 words.)
Chapter 12 Summary
The next day, after returning from a visit with Mrs. Lynde, Marilla calls Anne into the kitchen. She has heard from Mrs. Lynde that Anne went to church the previous day with wildflowers stuck in her hat. Anne admits that she did this and apologizes for mixing the exotic colors. However, Marilla is not annoyed with the colors. Rather, she objects to Anne’s having put real flowers on her hat. Anne does not understand this. Other girls had real flowers pinned to their dresses, she tells Marilla. She wants to know what the difference is between having flowers on one’s dress and having them on one’s hat. Marilla cannot find a decent answer to this question, so she tells Anne that she is not to talk back. Then Marilla informs Anne that everyone thought she looked very silly and talked about her “something dreadful.” Marilla is embarrassed and fears that everyone in the community might think the flowers were her idea.
Anne is still confused. Other girls had artificial flowers on their hats, and the flowers she chose were much more beautiful. In spite of this, Anne apologizes and tells Marilla maybe it would be better if she sent her back to the orphanage. Anne is afraid that she might be too much trouble for Marilla. Marilla responds by telling Anne that what she is saying is nonsense. All Marilla wants from Anne is for her to act like other girls her age.
Then Marilla announces that Diana Barry, a young girl who lives close by, has come home. If Anne would like, she can come with her when Marilla goes to visit the family. At this announcement, Anne says she is frightened. She is worried that Diana might not like her. If that proves true, Anne says, it would be the most “tragical disappointment” of her life. Marilla says it is not Diana about whom Anne should be worrying; she should worry more about Diana’s mother. If Mrs. Barry has heard about Anne’s rude outburst over Mrs. Lynde’s assessment of her or of the buttercup flowers Anne wore around her hat to church, Anne might not get a chance to develop a friendship with Diana.
When Anne is introduced and Mrs. Barry asks her how she is, Anne says she is well physically but her spirit is quite rumpled. This is because she is so excited about meeting a new friend. Later when Anne and Diana are alone, they make an oath to be bosom friends forever. They plan to build a hideout in the woods the next day. On their way home, Anne tells Marilla that she is...
(The entire section is 453 words.)
Chapter 13 Summary
Anne has learned that the church is sponsoring a picnic on the following Sunday. At the picnic there will be homemade ice cream, which Anne thinks will be the best thing she has ever tasted. She begs Marilla to please let her attend. Marilla has no intention of not giving Anne permission to go to the picnic, but she is disturbed that Anne is more than a half-hour late coming home. Anne explains that she had to stop by the barn and tell Matthew all about the church picnic. She adds that Matthew has a very good habit of being a good listener.
When Marilla tells Anne that she can attend the picnic, Anne becomes even more excited. She does, however, have one concern. She says she does not mind going to the picnic in one of her plain dresses, although all the other girls will have dresses with puffy sleeves, but Diana has told her that every girl must bring a packed picnic basket. Anne reminds Marilla that she does not know how to cook. Marilla eases her fears by telling Anne that she will prepare the basket for her. When Anne hears this, she runs to Marilla and kisses the woman on the cheek. It is the first time Marilla has ever been kissed by a child, and it thrills her. However, Marilla is also embarrassed by her emotional reaction and quickly brushes Anne to the side, reminding the child that she has chores to do.
The specific chore for that afternoon is sewing a patchwork pattern, which Anne finds extremely boring. For the next ten minutes—Marilla actually keeps track of the duration of Anne’s speech on the clock—Anne talks nonstop. She talks about how much she despises sewing patchwork patterns, and this topic bleeds into the next, which involves how much she likes playing with Diana.
Diana does not have as much imagination as she does, Anne says, but that is Diana’s only flaw. The two girls have created their hideaway, which Anne has dubbed Idlewild. She thinks it is a “poetical” name. She stayed up most of the night to think of it. In the hideaway, the girls have taken chipped plates and cups from Diana’s house. They use big rocks for chairs and have placed a board between two tree limbs for their table. Anne continues her discourse, adding information about a book she is reading that involves a heroine who has five lovers, a rainbow shard she and Diana found that they call “angelglass,” and all the creative names they have given to various local lakes and streams. Anne ends her monologue...
(The entire section is 465 words.)
Chapter 14 Summary
Marilla asks Anne if she has seen her amethyst brooch, which Marilla wore to church the previous Sunday. Anne had made several remarks about the pin, and Marilla thought maybe she had played with it. Anne admits that she had seen the brooch earlier in the day when Marilla went out shopping. The pin had been on the top of Marilla’s dresser, and Anne had gone into the Marilla’s bedroom to take a closer look at it. Marilla wants to know if Anne touched it. Anne confesses that she even pinned it to her dress to see what it would look like on her. This angers Marilla, who tells the girl she has no right to mess around with things that do not belong to her. Then Marilla asks where Anne put the brooch. Anne tells her that she put it back where she found it. She did not know it was wrong to try it on, but she will never do it again.
Marilla, however, is not in a very good mood. She accuses Anne of mislaying the pin. The brooch is not where Marilla left it. She has looked everywhere and cannot find the brooch. Because Anne was the last one to see it, Anne must be the culprit. Marilla insists that Anne tell her what she did with it. Anne continues to claim that she is innocent. She admits touching the pin, but she did not take it out of Marilla’s room.
Marilla tells Anne to go to her room until she is willing to confess. When she is alone, Marilla realizes that Anne might have taken the pin in all innocence. She might have lost it and is now afraid to tell her the truth. But it is shameful that she might not be able to trust Anne any more.
When Marilla discusses the situation with Matthew, he tries hard not to lose faith in Anne. However, he realizes that the circumstantial evidence does not bode well for the young girl. Marilla continues to insist that Anne will be confined to her room until she confesses.
Later, Marilla visits Anne in her room and is disappointed when the child refuses to admit she has lied. When Marilla reminds Anne that she cannot leave her room, Anne realizes this might mean she will miss the picnic. She cannot believe Marilla would do that. She begs Marilla to at least allow her out for the affair, but Marilla will not give in. Anne will definitely not be going to the picnic or anywhere else until she tells Marilla what she has done with the brooch.
In desperation, Anne confesses. She tells Marilla that she took the pin outside to play with it but lost it in the creek....
(The entire section is 568 words.)
Chapter 15 Summary
School starts for Anne, but it begins less smoothly than Marilla had hoped. The walk to school is fun for Anne because she is accompanied by her new best friend, Diana. They take the long way to school and make up new names for every path and dip in the fields. Again Anne thinks the names she conceives are much more imaginative than Diana’s are, but this does not diminish her liking of the young girl. On their way to school, Diana offers advice to Anne about the other students and their teacher. She also tells Anne to make sure she studies as hard as she can.
After a few days in class it becomes obvious to the other students that Anne is very intelligent, but there is a boy in their class who could take the title of smartest student. His name is Gilbert Blythe, and most of the other girls find him very handsome. Even at this young age, many of the girls flirt with Gilbert and hope to win his affection. Anne does not. She admits he is cute and smart, but she wants nothing to do with him or any of the other boys.
One day Gilbert, who seems attracted to Anne in spite of her aloofness toward him or maybe because of it, makes the mistake of tugging on one of Anne’s bright red braids and calling her “carrot.” Until that moment, Anne had controlled her temper in class, but Gilbert’s remark is too much for her to handle. This remark is personal and hits one of Anne’s tender spots. Upon hearing the name, Anne stands and walks over to Gilbert. She is holding her writing slate in her hands; she raises it and breaks it over Gilbert’s head.
Anne’s teacher, Mr. Phillips, has previously shown absolutely no favor toward Anne, and now as punishment he commands Anne to spend the rest of the day standing in front of the class. There is very little appreciation shared between Anne and her teacher. Anne has criticized Mr. Phillips for spending most of his time with an older female student who is studying to go to teacher college. Mr. Phillips has a crush on this young girl and gives her special attention at the expense of the remaining students.
When Anne returns to school the next day, she and a group of boys are late coming into the classroom. Instead of punishing all of them for their tardiness, Mr. Phillips singles out Anne to admonish. He then insists, for further punishment, that Anne sit next to Gilbert rather than share her desk with a girl per the usual arrangement. This infuriates Anne, who...
(The entire section is 508 words.)
Chapter 16 Summary
The differences in the ways Anne and Marilla look at the world are presented as Anne expresses her strong emotions for the beauty of fall. Anne walks into the house with her arms loaded with branches decorated in the red leaves of a maple tree, and she tells Marilla that she is going to take them to her bedroom to brighten up her room. Marilla thinks that the branches will only create a mess. She tells Anne that bedrooms are for sleeping, not for decorating with “out-of-doors stuff.” Anne reminds Marilla that bedrooms are for dreaming, too. Having beautiful things around her bedroom help Anne dream much better. Marilla is not convinced. Although she allows Anne to take the maple leaves to her room, she tells Anne not to drop any of the leaves on her way upstairs.
When Anne returns, Marilla tells Anne that she will be going out for the day. If she wants, Anne can invite Diana to the house for the afternoon. Anne is delighted and begins immediately to make a list of foods she might serve for tea. As Marilla listens, she adds to Anne’s list, telling the girl that there is a bottle of raspberry cordial in the cupboard that Anne might serve along with some cookies.
After running over to Diana’s house and then pretending to be older women going to tea, Anne and Diana make it back to Green Gables, where they set up the table for tea. Anne is especially excited about serving the raspberry cordial, as she thinks that any food that sports the color red is more delicious than food of any other hue. Later, as they eat their cookies, Diana appears exceptionally absorbed in the raspberry cordial and asks for several glassfuls. Anne is not as thirsty as Diana is, so she graciously suggests that Diana drink as much of the cordial as she wants.
As she drinks, Diana comments on how good the cordial tastes. She has never drunk anything so delicious. Diana had tasted Mrs. Lynde’s raspberry cordial, but she says it was not as nearly as nice as Marilla’s—as she once again refills her glass with the red liquid.
Anne becomes engrossed in a long conversation as she sits with her friend. She tells Diana stories of Marilla’s cooking as well as some of her own travails in the kitchen. When she finally stops to take a breath, Anne notices that Diana has a strange expression on her face. When Diana attempts to stand up, she wobbles as if she were dizzy. Diana tells Anne that she must go home because she feels very...
(The entire section is 555 words.)
Chapter 17 Summary
The next morning, Anne sees Diana signaling for her to come outside. Anne rushes to her friend’s side only to learn that Diana’s mother has forbidden her to speak to Anne. Diana tells Anne that no matter how much she protested and cried, her mother would not relent. In Anne’s dramatic fashion, she begins poetically of how much she loves her friend. She asks for a lock of Diana’s hair before they part. When Anne returns to her house, she tells Marilla that she knows she will never have another friend. Even if she does manage to find a new friend, it will not be the same thing as her relationship with Diana. She then announces that she does not think she will live much longer—and she hopes that when Diana’s mother sees her cold corpse, she will regret having kept her apart from Diana. Marilla can take no more of Anne’s lamenting and tells her she sees little chance that Anne will die of grief as long as she keeps talking like she does.
The next morning, Marilla is surprised to find Anne dressed and ready for school. Anne has determined that if she can no longer enjoy her friendship with Diana, she will focus all her energies on her education. She will try to become a model student, Anne tells Marilla, although she suspects there will be little fun in this endeavor. She remembers her teacher pointing out that Minnie Andrews, a fellow classmate, was an example of a model student, although Anne found Minnie to be very unimaginative and boring.
However, when Anne arrives at school, she is surprised that most of her classmates are very excited to see her. They have missed her, they tell her, especially her imaginative games at recess, her singing voice, and her dramatic ability when reading a book aloud in front of the class. Other girls in her class are eager to share special treats with Anne at lunch. They offer her gifts of empty perfume bottles and other pretty items from home. After school, Anne tells Marilla that even though she is still sad by the loss of Diana, it was nice to be so appreciated.
Anne studies so diligently that she is soon tied with Gilbert Blythe for having the best grades in the class. Both Anne and Gilbert are promoted to a higher level of studies. This impresses Anne, but it also brings challenges. Anne believes geometry is the greatest hurdle she has ever faced. She tells Marilla there is nothing imaginative about geometry and even Diana’s grades surpass hers in this...
(The entire section is 542 words.)
Chapter 18 Summary
As Anne struggles with her geometry homework one night while Marilla is away, she breaks her concentration to have a discussion with Matthew. One of the many questions she asks is if Matthew ever went courting. Matthew responds that he does not think he ever did. Anne tells Matthew it might prove to be a very interesting thing to do. According to her school friend, Ruby Gillis, courting is fun. Ruby has told Anne that when she is old enough to date, she is going to have as many boyfriends as she can gather. Ruby is going to make sure all the boys are “crazy” about her, too. After pondering this, Anne concludes that having a lot of boyfriends might prove too much trouble. She thinks she might prefer having just one, provided he is “in his right mind.” Anne then tells Matthew that Ruby has more experience than she does when it comes to understanding boys and dating because Ruby has many older sisters from whom she has learned. So maybe Ruby has the right idea.
The thought of courting leads Anne to think of her teacher, Mr. Phillips. Rumor has it that Mr. Phillips goes to Prissy Andrews’s house every night to help her study for her entrance exams into college. However, there is another student, Miranda Sloane, who is also preparing to go to college. Mr. Phillips does not go to Miranda’s house, though Anne believes Miranda needs extra help a lot more than Prissy Andrews does. After this reflection, Anne admits to Matthew that there are a lot of things in the world she does not understand.
As Anne continues to force herself through her geometry problems, she hears footsteps outside. She goes to the door and finds Diana standing there. Diana looks frightened. Diana quickly tells Anne that her little sister, Minnie May, is very sick with the croup. Diana has been babysitting while her parents are away, and her sister is coughing terribly.
Upon hearing this, Matthew prepares to go for the doctor and Anne rushes to join Diana as they run toward Diana’s house. Diana is crying by the time they arrive, but Anne tells her not to worry. Anne has quite a few years’ experience taking care of young children. She consoles Diana by telling her that she knows exactly what to do with croup.
By the time Matthew and the doctor arrive, Anne has stabilized Minnie May. Later, when talking with Diana’s parents, the doctor commends Anne for her bravery and knowledge in caring for Minnie May. He tells them that...
(The entire section is 512 words.)
Chapter 19 Summary
After Matthew persuades her, Marilla gives Anne permission to spend the night at Diana’s house. Diana’s family is expecting several other guests, including an old aunt named Josephine.
Before Aunt Josephine arrives, the family attends a concert and a debate at the local hall. Gilbert has the task of doing a reading, which Anne is so determined to ignore that she opens a books she has brought with her and reads it all through Gilbert’s recitation. Anne has still not forgiven Gilbert for calling her “carrot,” and she promises that she never will. Afterward, Diana informs Anne that Gilbert stared at Anne throughout his performance.
It is late when the family arrives home. Diana’s mother sends the girls off to bed without personally escorting them to the guest room. She has promised that they can use this special room for the night. Aunt Josephine is expected in the morning, and she will then take over that room. However, for now, the room belongs to Anne and Diana.
The girls are so excited at the prospect of having a slumber party in the guest bedroom that they run into the room, and together they jump on the bed. Having not turned on the light, they are surprised to find that someone is sleeping in the bed. This scares them so much that they jump off the bed quicker than they had jumped on and then run out of the room.
At the breakfast table the next morning, Diana’s mother asks the girls about their night. She then apologizes for not informing them the night before that Aunt Josephine arrived early. When Diana’s mother says she hopes the girls will be very respectful toward Aunt Josephine, Anne sheepishly looks at Diana, and both girls try to hide their giggles. After breakfast, Anne does not waste any time leaving for home. Later that day, Anne learns from Mrs. Lynde that Aunt Josephine is very upset. She was almost frightened to death by the girls descending on her in the middle of her sleep. She is so angry that she has rescinded her offer to pay for Diana’s music lessons and refuses to stay in Avonlea for even one more night.
Anne goes to find Diana to see how her friend is taking the news. Diana is not very disturbed. In fact, she is rather happy that her old aunt is leaving. However, Diana is a little disappointed that she will not be able to study music. Because Anne feels responsible for Diana’s punishment, she insists on talking to Aunt Josephine. Anne...
(The entire section is 510 words.)
Chapter 20 Summary
Anne has always felt proud of her fertile imagination. It is the one gift about which she feels very confident. However, one night when Marilla asks Anne to walk over to Diana’s house to borrow a pattern from Diana’s mother, Anne becomes agitated. She tells Marilla she would rather go the next morning, if that is possible. When Marilla insists that she needs the pattern that night, Anne agrees to go, but she says she will have to walk along the road, which will take an extra half-hour. Marilla finds this incredible and asks why Anne cannot merely walk through the wood that connects their houses. At first Anne says it is too dark. Marilla points out that it is only twilight. There is enough light remaining in the sky to help her see clearly. Anne continues to refuse. She begs to be allowed to wait until the morning, promising that she will rise with the sun. Then Anne implores Marilla to not insist that she go through the “Haunted Wood.”
On hearing Anne refer to the small patch of trees as the Haunted Wood, Marilla stops talking and stares at Anne. She asks Anne if she is crazy. Marilla wants to know which part of the woods is haunted. Anne tells her it is the spruce tree near the brook. Marilla cannot believe what she is hearing. She demands that Anne tell her who has been filling her head with these strange ideas. Anne finally confesses that no one has been telling her stories—except herself and Diana. They have spent hours making up tall tales to pass the time. Everything around Avonlea, Anne says, is so ordinary that she and Diana decided to pretend differently. They told one another stories that frightened them so much that now they are afraid of going in the woods.
Marilla is beside herself. She cannot believe Anne has duped herself. Marilla tells Anne that she has always questioned all the time that Anne has wasted indulging her imagination. Now Marilla demands that all this talk must stop. She insists that Anne march right over to Diana’s house without any further delay. Not only does she have to go immediately but she must go through the woods. This will teach Anne to not let her imagination take over her life.
Marilla takes Anne to the edge of the woods and waits for Anne to go forward. When Anne asks how Marilla would feel if a ghost snatched and took her away, Marilla responds dryly that she will deal with that when and if the time comes. When Anne finally reaches the other side of the...
(The entire section is 466 words.)
Chapter 21 Summary
A new minister and his wife have come to Avonlea, and all the people in town are talking about them. Marilla listens to Anne’s evaluation of both the old minister who is leaving and the new one who has just arrived. The new minister is a newlywed, and his wife has been assigned to teach Sunday school classes. The minister’s wife has thrilled Anne most of all.
Anne tells Marilla that the old Sunday school teacher asked all the questions and never allowed any of the students to ask their own. However, Mrs. Allan, the new teacher, has said that she does not think it fair to keep children from asking questions, so she invites them to pose any question they like. When Ruby Gillis heard this, she asked if there would still be a church picnic come summer. Mrs. Allan was nice enough, Anne tells Marilla, to answer Ruby’s question, though Anne did not think Ruby’s inquiry was appropriate because the picnic had nothing to do with the lesson they were learning.
Anne describes Mrs. Allan to Marilla, stating that the minister’s young wife has the most exquisite dimples she has ever seen. Anne wishes she had dimples, too. Mrs. Allan also impressed the children in her class to try to influence people for good. Anne claims that Mrs. Allan talked so very nicely about everything that it made Ann realize for the first time that religion could be a “cheerful” thing. Previously, Anne thought all people involved in a church were rather melancholic.
With so much talk about the minister and his wife, Marilla decides it would be proper for her to invite the couple to dinner. She knows that almost everyone else has had Mr. and Mrs. Allan to their homes already. However, Marilla makes Anne promise not to tell Matthew about the invitation. If Matthew knew in advance, he would find some excuse to be away from home. Matthew has trouble meeting new people, Marilla tells Anne, especially women.
Upon hearing that Marilla is planning a dinner, Anne asks that she be allowed to make the dessert. She would like to bake a cake, she says. Marilla gives her consent. For much of the morning before the dinner for Mr. and Mrs. Allan, Anne is busy preparing her dessert. She is worried most about the cake rising. As Anne brings the cake out of the oven, she sees how tall the layers have risen and feels much impressed with herself.
After dinner, Anne proudly carries the cake to the table. When Mrs. Allan declines to have...
(The entire section is 580 words.)
Chapter 22 Summary
Anne is very excited when she receives a letter in the mail inviting her to tea with Mrs. Allan. Anne feels as if Mrs. Allan is another kindred spirit. After the disaster of the cake, Mrs. Allan was tremendously sympathetic with how bad Anne felt, understanding how much Anne had wanted to please her.
The night before the tea, Anne can hardly sleep because she is so excited. The only damper is Matthew’s prediction that it might rain the next day. Anne is hoping for sunshine. The next morning, however, proves Matthew wrong. There is not a cloud in sight. Before Anne leaves for the Allans’ house, she tells Marilla that there is something inside her that she cannot explain. All she knows is that it makes her feel like she wants to love everyone. She then wishes that she were invited to tea every day so she would feel this good all the time. If that would happen, Anne thinks it would be very easy for her to be a model child. Anne then worries about the tea; she wonders if she will know all the proper etiquette. She is so afraid that she will do something silly. Marilla tells Anne to relax and to stop thinking about herself all the time. Marilla suggests that Anne think of Mrs. Allan instead—Anne should think of what she might do to make Mrs. Allan’s day most agreeable. Anne finds this advice very helpful.
When Anne returns home after the tea, she tells Marilla that after having experienced such a wonderful time, she believes she has not lived in vain. Anne so admires Mrs. Allan that she thinks she might want to be a minister’s wife when she grows up. She thinks a minister probably would not care whether his wife had red hair. However, Anne remembers that a minister’s wife should be naturally good, and she questions whether she is capable of this. Being good all the time is as difficult for her as calculating geometry, Anne says.
Anne rambles on, telling Marilla that she believes that loving someone like Mrs. Allan or Matthew is very easy. Loving someone like Mrs. Lynde, on the other hand, is a great challenge. Anne knows she ought to love everyone, but sometimes she forgets to love people who require too much effort.
Next, Anne relates how Mrs. Allan took time to talk to her alone before she left the tea. During this time, Anne gave Mrs. Allan the details of her past. She also added the information about her troubles with geometry. Anne was completely surprised and pleased when Mrs. Allan...
(The entire section is 543 words.)
Chapter 23 Summary
A week or so before school is to start, Diana invites Anne and a few other friends to her birthday party. The gathering is fun, but toward the end the girls grow a little bored and decide to play a game called Dare. This game has gained popularity in Avonlea that summer, spreading through the boys’ groups and eventually making its way to the girls, such as those at Diana’s party.
First Carrie Sloane dares Ruby Gillis to climb an old willow tree. Ruby, who worries more about tearing her dress than falling down, accomplishes the task to Carrie’s dismay. Then Josie Pye dares Jane Andrews to hop on one foot all the way around the garden without stopping or putting her other foot down on the ground. Jane fails at this feat. When Josie starts to gloat about her victory over Jane, Anne defends Jane by daring Josie to walk along the top of the board fence that circles one of the fields. Josie completes her dare successfully—and she does it with the air that the challenge was barely worth her time. When Josie climbs down from the fence, she is met with reluctant applause. Josie is not one of the more popular girls at the party. However, she has just accomplished a feat most of the other girls at the party could not have done.
Sensing a building tension between herself and Anne, Josie looks defiantly at Anne, waiting for Anne’s approval. Instead, Anne states that walking a board fence is a simple dare. She has known many girls who have accomplished it. Anne implies that it would take more than that to impress her. To make this point clear, Anne declares that she knew a girl who walked the ridgepole of a roof (the horizontal beam across the top of a roof). Josie immediately says she does not believe this. In fact, Josie does not believe anyone could do that, especially Anne.
This infuriates Anne. “Couldn’t I?” Anne retorts. Instead of answering her, Josie responds by challenging Anne to do so right then. Anne cannot back down; she feels she must prove that she is better than Josie is. However, when she climbs up to the top of the roof, she realizes the difficulty of the dare. She is much higher off the ground than she thought she would be, which makes her feel slightly dizzy. On top of that, once she starts tiptoeing across the top, she acknowledges that no matter how big her imagination might be, it will not help her in this situation. Anne tries her best, but upon losing her footing, she tumbles down the...
(The entire section is 514 words.)
Chapter 24 Summary
Anne is not disappointed with her new teacher, Miss Stacy. She finds her bright and very sympathetic. Miss Stacy easily wins the hearts of her students by bringing out the best in them, both morally and mentally. Every day after school, Anne talks about Miss Stacy to Marilla and Matthew. Marilla feels a little skeptical of Miss Stacy and her nontraditional ways. For instance, she heard from Mrs. Lynde that on a school outing to one of the farmers’ fields, boys from the class climbed a tree under Miss Stacy’s urging. Marilla cannot understand why the class was outside rather than in the classroom or why the teacher had the boys climb a tree. Anne explains that Miss Stacy wanted the students to study a bird’s nest, which was perched high in the tree. They have one field day each week, Anne tells Marilla. Afterward, the children write essays about what they have learned. Anne boasts that her essays are always the best; Miss Stacy has told her so.
Miss Stacy comes up with an even more ambitious plan for November: she asks her students to put together a concert performance for Christmas night. Anne has never been so excited about a school project, although Marilla thinks it is all a waste of time. Miss Stacy, Marilla says, is filling the students’ head with nonsense. The children should be focusing more on their regular lessons. Performance makes children too vain, Marilla thinks.
Trying to soothe her, Anne asks Marilla if she might be proud of her if she distinguishes herself on Christmas night at the concert. Marilla says she only hopes that Anne behaves herself. Since the talk of the performance, Marilla claims, Anne’s head has been “stuffed full of dialogues and groans.” On top of this, Anne has been more talkative than usual; Marilla wonders how Anne’s tongue is not completely worn out.
Anne feels discouraged by Marilla’s disapproval and lack of appreciation, so she goes out to the yard, where she finds Matthew splitting wood. As she talks to Matthew about the concert, she hopes he will have a sympathetic ear, and he does. Matthew tells her he thinks it will be a very good concert and that he expects Anne will do a great job of any task set before her. This makes Anne smile. Over the past couple of years, Anne and Matthew have become best friends. Hardly a night goes by that Matthew does not give thanks that Anne has come into his life. He is also thankful that he is not responsible for...
(The entire section is 462 words.)
Chapter 25 Summary
Upon arriving at home one December evening, Matthew discovers Anne with a group of her friends rehearsing for their Christmas assembly. As Matthew watches the girls, he notices that somehow Anne looks different from the rest. He cannot quite put his finger on what makes that difference, but it continues to bother him for the rest of the night. It is not until he has smoked several pipes of tobacco that it finally dawns on him: the other girls in Anne’s group are better dressed. Once he realizes this, Matthew reflects on other memories he has of Anne and the other girls. Anne has always been more poorly dressed than her friends. Marilla has kept Anne clothed in plain, dark dresses that are all made from the same pattern. Although Matthew is not well versed in women’s fashions, he is able to detect a major difference in the sleeves of Anne’s dresses. The other girls also wear bright colors, like red, blue, or pure white. Matthew concludes that Marilla must have her reasons for dressing Anne so conservatively. However, he sees no harm in Anne’s having at least one pretty dress. Matthew decides to buy Anne a present of a new dress.
The next day, Matthew drives into town and goes to Samuel Lawson’s store. Unfortunately, when Matthew enters the store, he finds that the owner has hired a lady clerk. The woman is nicely dressed and wears several bracelets that glitter and “tinkle” with every movement of her wrists. All of these elements confuse and frustrate Matthew. When the woman asks what Matthews needs, he stammers before asking for a garden rake. This is a strange request (it is the middle of December) but the female clerk obliges Matthew by going to the back of the store and pulling out a rake from storage. After requesting the rake, Matthew asks for some hayseed and then twenty pounds of brown sugar. Matthew is so rattled by the woman that he leaves the store without purchasing Anne’s present.
The next day, Matthew decides that it is not a man’s place to buy a young girl’s dress. So he goes to Mrs. Lynde and asks her to please choose and purchase a nice dress for him to give to Anne. Mrs. Lynde agrees to do this. Matthew asks Mrs. Lynde to make sure the dress has puffy sleeves, like the ones the other young girls are wearing. Mrs. Lynde is excited about her task. She thinks Marilla has been negligent in providing decent dresses for Anne. Mrs. Lynde adds to the gift an extra ribbon for Anne’s hair, and...
(The entire section is 472 words.)
Chapter 26 Summary
When Anne turns thirteen, she thinks everything in the world seems different. Being a teenager makes life seem more interesting. Anne is also glad that people will not laugh at her when she uses big words, now that she is a teen.
In school, Miss Stacy has assigned the children to write a story of fiction. Diana is concerned about the assignment. She claims she does not have the imagination to make up a story. Anne has already completed her story. The main character is a woman with purple eyes. Anne tells Diana that she read the story to Marilla, who found it full of nonsense. However, after Matthew heard the story, he told Anne that he liked it. Anne says she likes Matthew as a critic far more than she likes Marilla as one.
To ease Diana’s fears of writing and to help broaden her friend’s imagination, Anne suggests that she and Diana and several other girls from school form a story club. No boys are allowed, and each member has to write one story each week. They can practice their writing and critique each other’s stories. Later Anne tells Marilla about the story club, which Marilla easily dismisses as being frivolous. Anne says the club is very interesting. Each girl reads her story out loud; afterward, they discuss it. They will each preserve their stories in a file so that when they are older and married, they can read them to their children. Before the girls begin to write, each chooses a nom de plume—Anne’s is Rosamond Montmorency.
Ruby Gillis is “rather sentimental,” Anne reports to Marilla, and she puts too much “lovemaking” into her stories. Jane, on the other hand, never writes about lovemaking because it embarrasses her too much to read it out loud. As a consequence, Jane’s stories are very sensible. Diana writes tales of murder. She often does not know what to do with her characters, so she kills them to be rid of them. When the girls run out of story ideas, Anne is always available to supply them with fresh ones.
Marilla thinks writing stories is foolish. Reading stories is bad, Marilla states, and writing them is even a bigger waste of time. To defend her time spent writing, Anne explains that every one of her stories has a moral. Every character who is good is rewarded, while all bad ones are punished. Anne believes this provides a wholesome impression. Anne is sure Mr. Allan, the preacher, would approve. As a matter of fact, Anne read one of her stories to Mr....
(The entire section is 453 words.)
Chapter 27 Summary
Marilla has been gone from home most of the day, having joined other women in the community for an Aid meeting. She is not a woman who is easily excited, but she feels excited now to be finally coming home. As she walks along the lane toward her house, she anticipates a warm fire burning in the kitchen stove and dinner at least started. She told Anne to have food ready by five.
However, when Marilla opens the door to the kitchen, the room is dark and cold. There is no food on the table and Anne is not there. When Matthew comes in from the field, though he is hungry and disappointed that dinner is not ready, he suggests that Marilla not be too hard in her feelings toward Anne; she always has a good excuse when she has forgotten to do some chore. This does little to improve Marilla’s mood. Instead she remembers all the times Anne has done something wrong. She does not understand why Anne cannot learn to keep her mind on practical things instead of writing stories and thinking up new ways to improve her imagination.
As Marilla builds a fire and begins to cook the food, she thinks back to the meeting she attended that day. Mrs. Lynde had been all too eager to condemn Anne, Marilla tells Matthew. This had irritated Marilla and she had been about ready to jump to Anne’s defense when Mrs. Allan, the minister’s wife, promptly countered Mrs. Lynde’s remarks by saying that Anne was the smartest and sweetest girl she has ever known. Marilla was awfully proud hearing Mrs. Allan praise Anne. It made Marilla feel as if she were doing a good job in raising Anne, despite all the criticism Mrs. Lynde was eager to hand out.
By the time dinner is finished, Anne is still not home. Marilla is not worried, though she remains ready to give the girl a talking to about obeying her rules. When Marilla goes upstairs to retrieve a candle from Anne’s room, she is shocked to find Anne lying on her bed in the cold and dark. She wants to know what is the matter with Anne and asks if she is sick.
Anne responds that she is not sick; she is terribly depressed. When Marilla asks Anne to get out of bed, the girl slithers off and sits on the floor. She asks that Marilla not look at her. Marilla wants to know Anne’s reason for this. When Marilla looks more closely, she is shocked to see that Anne’s hair has turned green.
Anne says she met a peddler who convinced her that if she used the dye he sold her, her red...
(The entire section is 578 words.)
Chapter 28 Summary
It is summer, and Anne and her friends have decided to dramatize Lord Alfred Tennyson’s poem “The Lady of Shalott,” which Anne refers to as “Elaine.” The poem relates to one of the Arthurian tales, whose subject is a young woman named Elaine. Elaine becomes entranced with Sir Lancelot and floats down a river toward Camelot to see him. She dies before arriving.
As Anne and her friends gather at the side of a local Avonlea pond and prepare to have one of them float in a boat, Diana is the first to comment. She admits that she would be too afraid to lie in the boat and let it take her wherever the current drove it. Ruby joins Diana, stating that she is too afraid to go in the boat alone. Jane Andrews states that it would “spoil the effect” if she were to portray Elaine because she would constantly want to sit up to check where the boat was going. The girls conclude that no one but Anne is brave enough to play Elaine, although Anne thinks no one in her right mind would cast a red-headed girl to play the title role. Diana reassures Anne by telling her that her fair complexion is perfect for the character of Elaine. This flattery provides Anne with enough conviction to take on the role.
The girls had studied Tennyson’s poem in school the previous winter. They analyzed the poem to the point that the Arthurian characters came to feel like people with whom they were well acquainted. After reading and rereading the poem, Anne grew to regret that she had not been born in Camelot. She found the era represented by the poem to be much more romantic than the times in which she is living. It was Anne’s idea to dramatize the final scene of the poem, the one in which Elaine is dead, floating down a river in a boat. They have tested the boat by pushing it from shore and following it as it floated across the pond and under a small bridge, until it finally came to rest at the far curve of the pond’s opposite edge. During the test run, everything had worked perfectly.
Having accepted the role of Elaine, Anne spreads a black shawl one of the girls has brought from home, then she lies down on the bottom of the boat, closes her eyes, and crosses her arms on her chest. “Oh, she does look really dead,” Ruby whispers, worried that in saying so something dreadful might occur. Anne admonishes Ruby but then adds that Jane needs to take over as director because she is supposed to be dead. Responding to Anne’s orders,...
(The entire section is 576 words.)
Chapter 29 Summary
Diana has received a letter from her Aunt Josephine, inviting her and Anne to visit her in town. Anne is so excited upon hearing this news that she must lean against a tree for support. But Anne fears that Marilla will not allow her to go; Anne expects Marilla will find the trip frivolous. Marilla had refused to let Anne travel with Jane Andrews’s family the week before when they wanted to take her to a concert. However, Diana believes she has a plan. She will have her mother ask Marilla. In this way, maybe Marilla will have more trouble refusing.
Diana’s plan works, and on the following Tuesday, Diana’s father drives the girls the thirty miles to Charlottetown. Anne is dressed in a new coat—Matthew had insisted that Marilla have it made. Since Matthew had gone to Mrs. Lynde to make Anne’s Christmas dress, Marilla had decided that she would make Anne more fashionable dresses. However, she was not up to the task of sewing the coat, so she had a professional seamstress do that. Anne is thrilled with her new outfits, though she knows (because Marilla has told her) that it is wicked to spend so much thought on clothes.
Aunt Josephine is pleased to see Diana and Anne. She is also amazed at how much the girls have grown. Anne is actually taller now than Aunt Josephine is. When the elder woman leaves the girls in the parlor to check on dinner, Diana and Anne are astounded by the splendor of the large house. Diana thinks it looks like a palace. It is the first time Diana has visited her aunt. Anne says she has dreamed of places such as this, with velvet carpets and silk curtains, but she never imagined she would actually see a real house so richly decorated. However, the more she looks around the more she feels uncomfortable with all the riches. She thinks rooms that are a bit more bare leave more room for the imagination.
While in Charlottetown, the girls are kept busy. On Wednesday, Aunt Josephine takes them to the Exhibition grounds, which Anne describes as a type of county fair. On Thursday night, they go to a concert at the Academy of Music to hear a prima donna sing. This pleases Anne so much, she later tells Marilla that she could not speak. After the concert, Anne tells Aunt Josephine that after having experienced so much splendor, she does not know how she will ever be able to return to “common life” again. Aunt Josephine suggests that they walk across the street to a restaurant to have some ice...
(The entire section is 508 words.)
Chapter 30 Summary
Miss Stacy, Anne’s teacher, comes to call on Marilla. Miss Stacy has decided to bring together a group of her best students for an after-school class. They will focus their studies on passing the entrance exams at Queen’s College. Until this moment, Marilla has never said anything to Anne about continuing her education past grade school. When Anne learns that Miss Stacy has come by the house, Marilla explains that if Anne can maintain her good grades, she and Matthew are willing to pay for her college education.
Miss Stacy’s special class includes Gilbert Blythe, Ruby Gillis, Jane Andrews, Josie Pye, Charlie Sloane, and Anne. On the first afternoon, it nearly breaks Anne’s heart to see Diana leave the classroom without her. Diana’s parents are not planning a college education for Diana. They believe Diana will be better off getting married early. Although Anne finds this tragic, she is determined not to let Gilbert see her cry. Her feelings toward Gilbert have changed slightly since the incident with the capsized boat, when Gilbert rescued her. She had told him she still could not forgive him for calling her “carrot” several years ago. However, recently Gilbert has not been paying as much attention to Anne, choosing to spend his time with some of the other girls in the class. This has made Anne feel slighted. She wishes she had not been so calloused toward him, but she does not know how to tell Gilbert she has changed her mind. Instead, she plans to outdo him in her studies. She wants to end this special class at the top. She has noted that Gilbert appears determined to do the same. This prompts Anne to study harder than she has ever done before.
With the extra study load, the winter passes fairly quickly. When the spring comes, though, Anne becomes just a little more distracted—prone to stare out the school windows at the other students having fun in the freshly blossomed world outside. Summer finally arrives, and everyone is thankful for the break. Miss Stacy announces that she has decided to remain at the school at least one more year, especially so she can see the Queen’s Class students make it through their exams. This excites her students; they are pleased to have such a lively and interesting teacher for another term. Miss Stacy then tells them they are to forget all about books and studies for the duration of the summer. Instead they should spend as much time as they can outside and strengthen...
(The entire section is 487 words.)
Chapter 31 Summary
When the Spencervale doctor (who had come to care for Diana’s sister when she had croup) sees Anne at the beginning of the summer, he writes a quick note to Marilla; he suggests keeping Anne out in the sun and fresh air all summer long until she “gets more spring into her step.” This worries Marilla so much that she lessens Anne’s chores and allows the child to play outside almost all day long. Anne is thrilled with Marilla’s new attitude and takes full advantage of it. It becomes a summer of running, rowing, and dreaming in the sunshine. When September finally comes around, Anne is ready once again for her studies.
One day, Anne and Marilla have a talk about growing up. Marilla suddenly notices, as Anne is standing next to her, how much Anne has grown. She is fifteen now and is taller than Marilla is. As Marilla takes stock of all the changes Anne has gone through, she realizes that Anne is not only changing physically. Anne’s personality is also experiencing a transformation. Anne is much quieter than she used to be and her vocabulary has dramatically changed. When Marilla asks Anne about this, Anne says she is finding that it is fun to be quiet. When she does not talk as much, she has more time to listen and enjoy her thoughts. She likes to keep a lot of her thoughts to herself as if she were storing secrets. As for the big words, she says it is strange that now she is old enough to use them, she prefers simpler words. Actually Miss Stacy taught her about using simpler words. Her teacher pointed out that in writing compositions and stories, readers tend to appreciate more common words, which are just as meaningful as the more difficult ones.
All the students are glad to have Miss Stacy back for at least one more year at the Avonlea school. The children in the Queen’s class are eager to intensify their studies because they will be required to take the entrance exam at the end of the school year. Anne continues her focus on competing with Gilbert for the best grades. Some nights she has bad dreams that involve her reading a list of those students who have passed the entrance exam. In bold letters at the top of the list is Gilbert’s name, but upon inspecting the rest of the list, Anne cannot find her name.
Anne’s winter is filled with studies, but her social life also expands. Marilla, still mindful of the doctor’s note, realizes that Anne needs to get out of the house more often even in the...
(The entire section is 470 words.)
Chapter 32 Summary
On the last day of school, Miss Stacy tells her students she will not be back the following year. As Diana and Anne leave school, they are crying. They both will miss Miss Stacy, and they also realize they will miss one another, too. Anne will be going on to college. Diana will continue her studies at Avonlea with a new teacher. Diana tells Anne that she cannot imagine sitting in the schoolroom without Anne.
Anne is also worried about the entrance exams she must take the following week. She is so fearful of not passing. She says she is not superstitious, but she feels as if she is having premonitions of failing. Diana reminds Anne that she did very well on the practice exams Miss Stacy administered. However, Anne knows there is a big difference between knowing how to answer the questions and being able to perform under pressure. She has a tendency to tighten up when she takes exams, which makes her forget what she has learned.
The following Wednesday, Anne is in Charlottetown for the entrance exam. Aunt Josephine has invited Anne is stay with her, though Anne has very little time to visit. Miss Stacy is in town, and she takes her students to their assigned classrooms for the first of the exams. Anne sits next to Jane as they take the English exam. Upon receiving the test, Anne freezes. She later writes to Diana that as she stared at the English exam, she had the same feeling she had four years ago when she asked Marilla if she and Matthew were going to keep her.
Later in the afternoon, Anne takes the history exam. Anne writes to Diana that this test was very difficult, and she suspects she mixed up a lot of the dates. After the exam, she and the other girls from Avonlea go out for ice cream to soothe their nerves. The next day is Anne’s most challenging: she is to take the geometry exam. However, by Friday, all the tests are completed, and Anne and the other students go home to wait for the results.
When Anne sees Diana in Avonlea, she feels very thankful to be home. She tells Diana that she thinks she did fairly well on the exams. She still has a lingering fear, though, that she might not have passed geometry.
After walking to the post office every day for three weeks and not finding the results, Anne succumbs to the summer weather and for one day tries to forget about exams and studies. On that day, as she is daydreaming in her bedroom, she sees Diana running toward her house. As...
(The entire section is 491 words.)
Chapter 33 Summary
Anne has been asked to do a recitation for a charity concert in Avonlea. Matthew tells Anne how proud he is of her, but Marilla, who feels the same way, refrains from making her feelings known. She does not want to spoil the girl. Instead, all Marilla says is that she does not think it proper for young girls to be going out at night without a chaperone.
Diana is in Anne’s bedroom, helping Anne choose what to wear and how to fix her hair. Diana will not be performing, but she has a reputation for fashion and Anne is relying on her friend to make the right decisions. When they are finished, they call to Marilla, who thinks Anne looks proper, but worries about the dress she is wearing. It is one for which Matthew had bought the material. Marilla never did like the organdy. She thinks it is too light and too frilly, and she worries that Anne will get cold. However, after Marilla leaves Anne’s bedroom, she smiles to herself, pleased that Anne looks so pretty.
Diana asks if Anne is nervous, but Anne says she has done so many recitations in school that she has no qualms about this one. She knows one of the other girls is going to recite a funny piece, so she has chosen something that is rather melancholic. Anne says she would rather make people cry than laugh.
When Anne arrives at the hotel and is taken to the dressing room, she shrinks away from the other girls and women she finds there. Although she had felt very pretty and elegant at home, she feels very poor and shabby when she compares herself to the women at the hotel. They are dressed in silks and laces, with diamonds around their necks. Anne has a single, small flower Diana had picked from one of her garden bushes. The other women have fancy flowers obviously from a florist. Her only wish, as she stands there waiting to perform, is to be back at Green Gables.
Once she gets to the stage, Anne feels even worse. The lights are dazzling. The strong perfume from the other women is bewildering. She wishes she could sit in the audience with Jane and Diana. To make things worse, Anne learns that a professional elocutionist, who had been staying at the hotel, has agreed to perform. The woman, Anne notices, has a “marvelously flexible voice and wonderful power of expression.” After this woman’s performance, the audience wildly applauds her. Upon hearing this woman, Anne feels completely embarrassed for ever thinking she was a performer. As she has...
(The entire section is 503 words.)
Chapter 34 Summary
Anne leaves for Queen’s College in Charlottetown—but not before shedding many tears. Even Marilla cannot keep herself from crying. On the night before Anne is to depart, Anne tries on the new dress Marilla has made for her. It is the fanciest dress Anne has ever owned. Marilla surprised Anne by thinking that she might need a more elegant dress if she should be invited out for an evening affair. When Marilla sees Anne in the dress, she wonders where the little girl whom she raised has gone. Anne consoles Marilla by telling her that no matter how transformed she might look on the outside, inside she is still the little orphan girl who first appeared at her doorstep.
Anne’s thoughts turn to school as Matthew drives her to Charlottetown. She has decided to double up on her studies so she can earn her teacher’s certificate in one rather than two years. Later she finds out that Gilbert will be doing the same. On the first day of classes, when she sees Gilbert sitting across the room, she finds she feels comforted by his being there. He is the only person of the fifty or so students in that class whom she knows. His presence will help her study harder, Anne thinks; she senses that the competition between them still exists.
Although Aunt Josephine had offered to let Anne board at her house, Anne has declined the invitation. Aunt Josephine’s home is too far away from the school campus for Anne to conveniently make it to and from classes. So Aunt Josephine recommends another home close to the school. Anne admits that the landlady of this home is nice and respectable, but she still suffers from homesickness. She wonders how any home could replace Green Gables? Throughout the day, she finds herself thinking about Matthew’s schedule—wondering if he has already gone out to the fields or is milking the cows.
After the first day of classes, Anne is in her room in the middle of a crying spell when she hears a knock on her door. Standing there is Josie Pye. Anne did not get along very well with Josie back in Avonlea, but seeing a familiar face makes Anne feel as if Josie were a close friend. She invites Josie into her room as she tries to wipe away her tears. Josie tells Anne that crying is a waste of time and a demonstration of weakness. Josie is very happy to be out of Avonlea and away from her family. She wonders why it took her so long to leave.
Shortly after Josie’s arrival, Jane and Ruby, also...
(The entire section is 529 words.)
Chapter 35 Summary
Anne settles down to school, and she travels back to Avonlea and Green Gables every weekend, which helps to cure her homesickness. All the students from Avonlea leave campus on Fridays so they can spend two days at home. They will be able to do this by train until the winter sets in.
They travel together each Friday. When they get off at the train station, they walk as a group to their homes. Anne notices that Gilbert always walks alongside Ruby Gillis, who has undoubtedly become one of the prettiest girls on campus. Gilbert even carries Ruby’s satchel for her. One night as they are walking home, Jane whispers to Anne that she does not think of Ruby as being Gilbert’s type. Anne has to agree with her; Ruby is not the sort of girl who likes to talk about big ideas or her studies or ambitions.
Anne thinks of Gilbert, as well as all other boys, not as potential lovers (as Ruby does) but rather as friends. She would like to have the chance to have discussions with Gilbert because she knows he is her intellectual equal. He has ambition, like she does. She knows enough about him to sense that he and she could have very interesting and stimulating conversations. Gilbert knows how to get the best out of life and put his best into it, like she does. However, she has told him in anger that she does not want to be his friend, and she does not know how to amend that statement. In contrast, Ruby has said that she does not understand most of what Gilbert talks to her about. Ruby has also described Gilbert as being very much like Anne.
When she is at school, Anne’s thoughts are less focused on Gilbert and more on her studies and the new friends who are gathering around her. These include Stella Maynard, who is very thoughtful and imaginative, and Priscilla Grant, who is full of fun and mischief. As winter bears down, making travel back home more difficult, Anne begins to spend more of her spare time with Aunt Josephine. She often eats dinner with her and accompanies her to church. Aunt Josephine appreciates Anne’s youthful outlook and straight-forward honesty, even though Anne is not as amusing as she was when she was a child. However, there is something about Anne that makes Aunt Josephine love her.
When spring arrives, it takes Anne by surprise. Time has gone by so quickly. While talking with Jane, Ruby, and Josie one day, Anne admits that with spring there with all its new blossoms, she is having...
(The entire section is 552 words.)
Chapter 36 Summary
The final results of the exams have been posted. Anne is walking with Jane, who is smiling because exams are over and she is sure she has at least passed them. Jane is content with this realization; her goals are very simple. Anne, who has greater ambitions, feels more agitated. She wants to have done well enough to win a prize or scholarship.
Anne is particularly hoping to win the Avery Scholarship, which everyone expects a student named Emily Clay to win. Anne is so sure she has not won that she tells Jane she is not going to the bulletin board where the winners are listed. Instead, Anne asks that Jane read the list and then come find her and report the results. If Anne has failed to win, Jane must tell her so without sympathy or pause. Jane agrees to do this. However, as they approach the school building, they hear students shouting, “Three cheers for Miss Shirley, winner of the Avery!” Suddenly Anne finds herself surrounded by students congratulating her. Jane shouts out how proud she is for Anne. All Anne can think of is how proud Matthew will be of her.
Marilla and Matthew travel to Charlottetown for the commencement ceremonies. They are both teary eyed as they sit in the audience and listen to Anne deliver a prize-winning essay she has written and watch her receive her scholarship. Matthew teases his sister by asking if she is glad they kept Anne. Marilla answers that this is not the first time she is glad Anne is a part of their lives. Aunt Josephine, who is sitting behind Matthew and Marilla, also praises Anne.
Later that night, Anne rides home with Matthew and Marilla. She has not been home since April and cannot wait another day to get there. Diana is at Green Gables to welcome and congratulate her friend. Anne immediately tells Diana how good it is to see her as well as to see Green Gables’ blessed landscape. Diana mentions teaching to Anne, but Anne says her teaching will have to wait because she will be going to Redmond College in the fall. Jane and Ruby will be teaching, though, Anne tells Diana. She also informs Anne that Gilbert will also work as a teacher in September. Gilbert will have to earn his own way through college because his family is unable to pay for it. He will probably be the teacher at Avonlea. Upon hearing this, Anne is disappointed. She had thought Gilbert would be going with her to Redmond.
The next day, Anne notices physical changes in Matthew, and she asks...
(The entire section is 567 words.)
Chapter 37 Summary
One day when Anne comes in from outside, she hears Marilla’s panicked voice. Matthew has fainted. Marilla tells Anne to get Martin, the hired farmhand. They tell Martin what has happened, and he leaves immediately for the doctor. Mrs. Lynde is nearby. When she hears the commotion, she comes running. Gently, she pushes Marilla and Anne to the side, takes Matthew’s pulse, and puts her ear to his chest. When she looks up at the women, tears are in her eyes. She tells them there is nothing they can do for him. Matthew has died. When the doctor arrives, he suspects that Matthew’s heart must have given way. He wonders if Matthew had received any shocking news. Martin tells of a letter he had picked up from the post office and delivered to Matthew that morning. When Anne and Marilla search Matthew’s pockets, they find the note. It is from the bank, announcing its failure.
By the afternoon, Matthew is laid out in a coffin, which is placed in the parlor. Anne has gathered old-fashioned flowers from the flowerbeds Mathew’s mother had planted. Anne knows how much Matthew had loved those blossoms. When Diana comes over, she offers to spend the night to help Anne through her emotions. Anne tells her she hopes Diana understands, but right then she prefers to be alone. It is only in silence, Anne thinks, that she will be able to fully grasp her loss. Diana does not really understand. She has special difficulty in comprehending Anne’s dry eyes. She does not know why Anne does not cry. Marilla, on the other hand—the one woman Diana has known to control her emotions through every situation—is downstairs bawling like a baby. Nonetheless, Diana leaves Anne to work through her sorrow.
It is not until after Anne has slept a few hours and then reawakened that she completely realizes the burden of her loss. She thinks of Matthew’s smile and his sweetness toward her. When she acknowledges that he is gone forever, she breaks down and cries. The sound awakens Marilla, who comes into Anne’s room to soothe her. Marilla tells Anne that crying does no good, even though she had given in to her tears earlier in the day. She tries to help Anne by saying that God knows best, but Anne does not want to hear this. Anne tells her that the tears do not hurt like the ache she had felt before she started crying.
Anne then asks Marilla to stay with her. Anne feels comforted by having Marilla’s arms around her. She wants Marilla to...
(The entire section is 511 words.)
Chapter 38 Summary
Marilla has gone to the doctor about her headaches. When she returns, she is dejected. She tells Anne that the doctor said there is a chance she might go blind. The only way to save her sight is to give up all reading and sewing. She also must try not to cry. If she wears glasses, her headaches might go away. However, Marilla cannot imagine a life without reading and sewing and other projects that might cause eye strain.
That night, as Anne sits at her bedroom window, she thinks about all the changes that have come over the family since her return from school. When she returned home, she felt nothing but hope for the future. Now she feels as if many years have passed, and her life has been transformed into something that is difficult to recognize. Before she falls asleep, she has a powerful sense of duty come over her—one that makes her feel strong.
A few days later, Anne sees Marilla talking to a man outside. When Marilla comes into the house, Anne asks what the man wanted. Marilla tells her he had heard she might be interested in selling Green Gables. Anne cannot believe what she is hearing. She tells Marilla that she cannot sell Green Gables. However, Marilla does not know what else she can do. She cannot manage the farm with her failing eyesight, and she certainly could not take care of it if she were to go blind. Also, the failure of the bank means Marilla has lost all her savings. Mrs. Lynde suggested that Marilla sell the farm to give her money to live on. She could board with Mrs. Lynde. Anne will be all right, Marilla says, because she has the scholarship. The only sad part is that Anne will not have a home to come to on vacation. Marilla is sorry, she tells Anne, but she cannot run the farm alone.
Anne announces to Marilla that she will not be alone. She has decided not to go to Redmond. Diana’s father wants to rent the barn and pastures, which will give them a little income, and Anne believes she can gain a teaching position in a nearby town. When Marilla protests, Anne tells her that her mind is made up. After everything Marilla and Matthew have done for her, Anne says, she feels she must stay home and help.
Marilla has made Anne promise not to tell anyone about her failing eyesight because she does not want people fussing over her. However, word gets out that Anne has given up her scholarship, and neighbors discuss what they can do to help Marilla and Anne. Mrs. Lynde is the one who...
(The entire section is 518 words.)