Anne of Green Gables Summary

Anne of Green Gables, written by Lucy Maud Montgomery, and published in 1908, draws on the author’s childhood experiences in rural Prince Edward Island, Canada, to tell the charming story of Anne's adolescence. After being adopted by Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a brother and sister who live together and work a small farm at their childhood home, Green Gables, Anne makes friends, achieves academic success, and is truly loved for the first time in her life. She wins a coveted scholarship, but must delay going to college after Matthew's death to return to Avonlea.

  • Young, imaginative orphan Anne is adopted by Matthew and Marilla, who had actually wanted to adopt a boy to help Matthew on the farm. While Marilla is very strict and wants to send Anne back away and adopt a boy, Matthew’s strong affection for Anne and Marilla’s gradual warming toward her make her a part of the family at Green Gables.

  • Anne becomes best friends with another little girl named Diana. Along with Jane Andrews, and Ruby Gillis, the girls spend hours playing together and having fun.

  • Though Anne has good intentions, she gets into a lot of trouble. She falls off a roof and injures herself after walking on top of the roof for a dare. She accidentally dyes her hair green, she accidentally gives Diana wine instead of cordial, she bakes a cake with the wrong ingredients, and gets into many other mishaps.

  • Anne does extremely well academically. In spite of her rivalry with her classmate Gilbert, she enjoys going to school and wins a coveted scholarship to a prestigious college.

  • When Matthew dies, Anne must return to Avonlea to help Marilla. She becomes a teacher at Avonlea School, taking over for her former teacher, Miss Stacy.


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(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...

(The entire section is 3,642 words.)