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 winter. So Anne flourishes with activities such as meetings with the debating club, concerts, parties, and even sleigh rides.