Study Guide

Anne of Green Gables

by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables Summary

Summary (Masterpieces of American Fiction)

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 maverick who has no aptitude for domestic roles. Fortunately, Marilla, under her crusty exterior, is good-hearted, willing to admit to her own mistakes. Matthew keeps out of the domestic battleground for a while; in the end, though, he recognizes Anne’s need for adornment and takes her side in getting some fashionable dresses. Both brother and sister encourage Anne academically and make no attempt to tie her to the farm.

At school, Anne is shown to be an apt pupil, soon making up for an indifferent start to her education. Her greatest rival at school is Gilbert Blythe—who, unfortunately, offends her early on by teasing her about her red hair, about which she is desperately sensitive. In a typically dramatic gesture, Anne declares undying enmity with Gilbert, and despite all of his best efforts, and even a melodramatic rescue from a sinking boat, she maintains that stance until almost the end of the book.

If her enmity runs deep, though, so does her friendship. On the next farm lives a large, prosperous family, the Barrys. Diana is about Anne’s age, and their friendship ripens naturally and easily. Anne is a popular girl at school; her imagination makes life interesting. Montgomery’s description of a one-teacher village school—with all its petty bickerings and rivalries, and the excitement of outings and performances— is excellent.

Anne’s first teacher, Mr. Phillips, is inexperienced and at times treats Anne quite unfairly. However, her next teacher, Miss Stacy, is a “kindred spirit” who is able to nurture Anne intellectually and emotionally, providing the role model she needs (along with Mrs. Allan, the minister’s young wife). In the end, Miss Stacy’s efforts are rewarded, and Anne passes at the top of the entrance list for Queen’s College, the island’s Teacher Training College. In Mrs. Allan, Anne sees a paradigm of moral excellence, of unselfish sympathy, that counters the rigid legalism of much of church life as Anne experiences it. Gradually, Anne emerges into a more rounded adolescent; her need for a compensatory fantasy world drops away, and she is able to find the inner discipline and resources to make the most of her abilities.

The book closes with two contrasting events. First, Anne’s success at Queen’s College is crowned with a coveted scholarship in English to a degree-granting institution, Redmond. She can break free of the usual village school-college-village school cycle to which most of her academically gifted but poor contemporaries are consigned. At the same time, however, Matthew dies from overwork and the shock of losing his life savings in a bank failure. Anne sees it as her clear duty to support Marilla by taking over from Miss Stacy at the Avonlea school. Anne accepts this cheerfully, as she has accepted so many other vicissitudes. Her compensations are the continuing friendship of Diana and the new one of a now-acceptable Gilbert.

Anne of Green Gables Summary (Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical 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 community. Her hasty words and rash actions offend adults like Mrs. Lynde and Josephine Barry, Diana’s rich, elderly aunt, but Anne’s profuse, heartfelt apologies charm the injured parties.

Anne also learns that problems can result from carelessness. The special cake she bakes for the new pastor and his wife is seasoned with anodyne liniment instead of vanilla because Anne has not checked the bottle’s contents. In a similar mix-up, she serves Diana currant wine instead of raspberry cordial; though neither girl recognizes what is happening, Diana becomes drunk, and only Anne’s dramatic rescue of Diana’s younger sister reconciles Mrs. Barry to their continued friendship.

Anne considers Diana a kindred spirit but recognizes her “bosom friend’s” more limited imagination. It is Anne who tells stories of the Haunted Wood, making both of them scared to walk there alone after dark. Anne also nearly drowns when she decides to dramatize the story of Elaine, the lily maid, using a flatboat on the creek. Fortunately, Gilbert rescues her.

Anne’s relationship with Gilbert is a continuing plot line. Her pride prevents acceptance of his attempts at friendship, and his pride will not allow him to continue trying. Their classmates believe they will eventually reconcile and marry; Marilla secretly hopes that the son of her one-time beau will someday marry her adopted daughter. For Anne, though, the presence of Gilbert spurs her ambition, making her determined to win the highest academic honors and give the most effective dramatic readings. The two become friends only at the novel’s end, when Gilbert gives up the Avonlea school so Anne can teach there and help Marilla save Green Gables.

Despite Matthew’s death and Marilla’s failing eyesight, the novel ends on an upbeat note as Anne renounces her scholarship to Redmond College, taking the teaching job in Avonlea. Anne says she is staying because she loves Green Gables; in fact, she also loves Marilla and feels responsibility toward her. Realizing Gilbert’s sacrifice, Anne approaches him and apologizes for her stubbornness. The two agree to study together to prepare for Redmond.

Anne of Green Gables Extended Summary

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 unwanted. Until the age of ten, she lived with two local families who required her to care for their young children. Both of the fathers in those families were drunks, and both ended up dying. After the second such experience, Anne ended up at an orphanage. Marilla asks if the families Anne lived with were good to her, and Anne says:

Oh, they meant to be…And when people mean to be good to you, you don’t mind very much when they’re not quite—always.

Marilla begins to feel sorry for Anne, realizing the girl has led a hard life of poverty and neglect.

When Mrs. Spencer learns that the Cuthberts do not want Anne, she suggests that the girl go to live with Mrs. Blewett, a local woman with a large family who finds it hard to hire help. Mrs. Blewett is known for being stingy and having a bad temper, and she obviously relishes the idea of gaining an unpaid servant in Anne. Marilla’s conscience objects to this arrangement, so she says she may keep the girl after all. When they get back, Matthew and Marilla talk alone, and they agree that they cannot let Mrs. Blewett  take the girl. Marilla says:

I’ve never brought up a child, especially a girl, and I dare say I’ll make a terrible mess of it. But I’ll do my best.

She makes Matthew promise not to meddle, and he agrees, as long as Marilla treats the child kindly. “I think she’s one of the sort you can do anything with if you only get her to love you,” he says.

Marilla does not give Anne the good news right away. She puts Anne to bed, at which point she is shocked to find out that the girl does not know how to pray. Anne makes a prayer up on the spot, asking God to let her stay at Green Gables and be good-looking when she grows up. Marilla is shocked, but she understands that Anne is not being irreverent on purpose. She tells Matthew afterward that it is a good thing they have taken Anne in, but she also says her own next few years are going to be difficult.

The next day, Anne cries with joy when she learns she will be allowed to stay at Green Gables. Marilla sets the girl to work learning the Lord’s prayer right away, but Anne keeps getting sidetracked with daydreams and conversation. She tells Marilla how desperately she wants a “bosom friend,” her phrase for a best friend, and Marilla says that a pretty girl named Diana lives nearby. Anne is especially glad at the prospect of making a pretty friend because she knows that she, with her awful red hair, will never be beautiful herself.

Rachel Lynde is even more disapproving of the Cuthberts’ choice to keep Anne than she was of their original plan to adopt a boy. When Rachel sees Anne, she exclaims that the girl is “skinny and homely” with “hair as red as carrots.” Anne flies into a rage, declaring that she hates Rachel and saying:

How would you like to be told that you are fat...

(The entire section is 2217 words.)

Anne of Green Gables Overview

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...

(The entire section is 119 words.)

Anne of Green Gables Chapter Summaries

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...

(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 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...

(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...

(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...

(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 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...

(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...

(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...

(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,...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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...

(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 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...

(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...

(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...

(The entire section is 518 words.)