In Anne of Green Gables, does Anne go on being miserable for long?

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In Anne of Green Gables, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a brother and sister, have decided, as they are getting old, to adopt an orphan- "a smart likely boy of about ten or eleven" - to help Matthew on the farm and Matthew has gone to fetch him from the railway station. They intend to give him a "good home and schooling" (ch 1) and then let him help with chores. Marilla does mention to Mrs Rachel that she would never even consider bringing up a girl. However, it is a girl who is waiting at the station for Matthew and it transpires that there has been a mix up.

The girl's "eyes were full of spirit and vivacity," and Matthew, a quiet and unassuming man, does not have the heart to tell the girl with the "glowing" eyes that there has been a mistake. He will leave that up to Marilla and so he takes her home. She is very talkative and "glad to be alive," and Matthew quite enjoys her company on the drive home. At that point, it seems that Anne's only sorrow is her "red" hair. She can live with her "freckles, green eyes and ... skinniness," but she says that her red hair will be "my lifelong sorrow" (ch 2). Anne is amazed by the beauty that surrounds her and it is clear that she is prone to over-excitedness and becomes overwhelmed easily. When she hears that the Cuthberts do not really want her because she is not a boy, she cries and cannot eat as she is "in the depths of despair" (ch 3).

The next morning Anne is very conflicted as she wants to be sad but Green Gables is such a beautiful place so her misery is short-lived. She relishes every little thing and tries to share her "delight" with Marilla but Marilla tries hard not to relate to Anne as she intends to send her back to the orphanage. Anne even makes her mind up to enjoy the drive to Mrs Spencer's house and to be grateful that she has had even the smallest opportunity to visit Green Gables. When Marilla suggests that she and Matthew will in fact keep Anne with them, she is ecstatic and all thoughts of despair disappear. Anne is never able to stay sad for long as she has a positive attitude. She is obstinate and does sometimes try to be mad but she finds beauty in just about everything and so always recovers from her unhappiness.   

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