Marilla is Matthew's sister. She takes Anne in when Matthew dies. She is nothing like her brother. Where he is kind and understanding, Marilla uses every moment she can to teach a lesson to Anne in morals or etiquette. She is considered an "old maid" and had no experience in raising children. Where Matthew showed pride in Anne, Marilla does just the opposite. She shows no pride in her and never shows any type of amusement. However, Marilla does love Anne, and she is proud of her, yet she chooses to make up for her brother's "softness." This is why she is so harsh with Anne.
In the beginning of the Anne series, Marilla lives with her brother, Matthew Cuthbert, in Green Gables (name of the house). She is a strict, no-nonsense kind of woman who hopes to adopt a boy to help Matthew on the farm. When Anne Shirley arrives, Marilla is not pleased. She expected a boy and cannot understand Anne's exaggerated emotions and fantastical imagination. Marilla tends to suppress her emotions, and whenever Anne expresses her innermost thoughts, often in contrast to Marilla's, Marilla scolds her. However, over the course of the first novel, Marilla cannot help but become amused by Anne's often humourous incidents and her fanciful imagination, and of course, proud of Anne's incredible scholastic achievements. She eventually opens up her emotions and outwardly cares for Anne's wellbeing. After Matthew's death, Marilla is alone at Green Gables apart from Anne, who decides to reject an offer from Redmond College and stay in Avonlea to teach, in order to remain with Marilla whose eyesight begins to fail. In addition, Marilla adopts twins, Dora and Davy Keith, because their mother dies and Marilla is the third cousin of their father. When Anne finally goes to college, Rachel Lynde, whose husband had passed away, goes to live with Marilla at Green Gables. When Anne gives birth to her first child, Joyce, Marilla and Rachel are present at the House of Dreams. Jem "can do no wrong in her eyes", and Marilla cares for Anne and Gilbert's children when they are away on a trip. In Rilla of Ingleside, Anne mentions that Marilla had passed away, "Aunt Marilla had died before Rilla was old enough to know her very well..." (Chapter 2, Rilla of Ingleside (1920))
An austere, repressed woman who tries in vain to subdue Anne's imaginative, unusual ways. Though she is rigidly conservative in her rules, she does love Anne and has the glimmerings of a sense of humor and a hidden soft side.