Anne of Green Gables Summary
It's the late 1800's in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Yeah; we know. It's not an exciting time and place—it's not, say, Paris in the 1920's or Casablanca during WWII. But bear with us.
A pair of adult siblings named Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, who lead a very quiet life on a farm called Green Gables, decide to adopt a boy from an orphanage. And they're not doing it out of the goodness of their heart or any real desire to parent a child—they just want someone who can help Matthew with farm chores, since he's getting older.
With the casual tone of people who need to pick up a loaf of bread from the store, the Cuthberts ask a woman who is already travelling to the orphanage to pick up a boy for them. But the message gets lost in translation, and the woman leaves a girl to meet Matthew at the train station.
And not just any girl. They get Anne—spelled with an very important "e," she likes to point out—Shirley, a redheaded eleven-year-old who is obsessed with words, poetry, and beauty. Oh yeah: and she can't. stop. talking.
Both Cuthberts are startled at first. Anne is deeply sincere, but this eleven-year-old's long poetic speeches seem strange in the Cuthberts' quiet farm town of Avonlea, where big displays of emotion are not the norm. But Anne's uniqueness wins over Matthew and eventually, Marilla, who is also moved by Anne's history. (Anne has been treated as an unpaid servant, a caregiver for other people's children, her whole life.)
So after a rocky start (Anne's first act in Avonlea is to anger the town busybody, Mrs. Rachel Lynde), she becomes a part of the community. Anne falls in love with the beauty of the island, and renames many spots in town to make them sound more romantic. She makes a "bosom" (Anne-speak for "best") friend, her neighbor Diana Barry, and an enemy, a boy in her class named Gilbert Blythe, who insults her by comparing her hair to carrots.
Throughout her childhood, Anne can't seem stop getting into trouble. Half the time, it isn't even her fault…like when she gets Diana drunk because she mistakes wine for raspberry cordial (a concentrated syrup made of fruit, sugar, and water).
Naturally, Diana's mom's furious. She forbids the girls from seeing each other, so they're forced to change seats at school and limit their interaction to secret notes. But when Diana's baby sister comes down with croup and all the adults in town are at a political event, Anne whips out her mad childcare skillz and saves the baby's life.
Diana's mom asks Anne for forgiveness, and all's right in the world again…until about five minutes later when Anne outrages another Barry family member. Anne upsets Diana's great-aunt Josephine by jumping into the spare room bed without realizing that Josephine is sleeping there.
Thankfully Anne manages to win Josephine over with a fanciful apology that amuses her, and the two become friends.
Anne's other mishaps include:
- accidentally using anodyne liniment instead of flour in the cake she serves to the new church minister and his wife,
- buying "black" hair dye from a peddler and dying her hair green, and
- almost drowning while acting out a tragic poem called Lancelot and Elaine. She's rescued by Gilbert Blythe. Remember, the enemy? Only now, he seems to be a one-sided enemy. He's kind to Anne and asks her forgiveness, but Anne refuses to give it.
Anne's been doing well in school just to rival Gilbert, but after the rescue incident, they both step up their game. When they're fifteen, they study hard for their entrance exam to teaching school and tie for first place. Anne has also gotten good at elocution (dramatic public speaking) and recites at a concert at a hotel before teaching school starts and wows everyone.
Anne has to board in a nearby town for teaching school, and instead of having fun being on her own, she plunges into a new battle with Gilbert: to graduate at the top of her class, with a gold medal and a scholarship to a local college. In the end, Gilbert gets the medal and Anne gets the scholarship—not a bad compromise, we'd say. And Marilla and Matthew are adorably proud at Anne's graduation. (Duh.)
Anne's triumph is short-lived though. (Here come the spoilers…can't say we didn't warn you.)
Right after they return to Green Gables, Matthew dies from a heart attack when he finds out the bank they've invested their money in has failed. Soon after, Marilla finds out that she'll go blind unless she stops straining her eyes with all the sewing and housework. In desperation, she decides to sell Green Gables.
But Anne has other ideas.
She gets Mr. Barry to rent the farm and gives up her scholarship so she can care for Marilla and teach at a school on the island. Gilbert's supposed to be the teacher at the Avonlea school, but when he hears about Anne's plan, he gives it up so she can teach there and live at home. In the end, Anne thanks Gilbert and they finally agree to be friends.
Mrs. Rachel Lynde Is Surprised
- The first scene of the story opens on Mrs. Rachel Lynde, a housewife in the town of Avonlea who everyone knows…and who knows everyone.
- We're told that Mrs. Rachel Lynde is kind of the ultimate gossip. Her kitchen window looks out onto the only main road in the town of Avonlea, so she sees everyone who enters or leaves the town.
- Quick geography note: Avonlea is a made-up farming town on Prince Edward Island, which is off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada (for you American Shmoopers, that's north of Maine).
- Suddenly, Rachel sees Matthew Cuthbert travelling town the road.
- Rachel Lynde analyzes every detail, Sherlock Holmes-style. Matthew's wearing a suit, which means he's leaving town, and he's travelling via buggy and sorrel mare (a horse and carriage), which means he'll be travelling far.
- She knew Matthew should be sowing his turnip seed because she heard him tell a store clerk that yesterday. Scandal-a-lous.
- (We can already tell that not too much happens in Avonlea and people really like their routines.)
- Rachel decides to visit Matthew's sister Marilla at her house, Green Gables, to investigate.
- Marilla and Matthew live in an orchard house that's set far back from the road, near the woods. As she walks there, Rachel Lynde thinks that it's no wonder Matthew and Marilla are both a little odd—they see way more trees than they do people.
- Marilla Cuthbert takes Rachel into the kitchen, and Rachel keeps on sleuthing. She notices that there are three plates on the table but "every-day dishes" (1.11) and only one kind of cake, so the company they're expecting can't be too fancy.
- Marilla tells Rachel Lynde that Matthew went to pick up a little boy from an orphan asylum in Nova Scotia (the mainland).
- Cue the chapter title: Mrs. Rachel Lynde is surprised.
- Like, really surprised. Shocked.
- Marilla calmly explains that they've been thinking about this all winter, and that Matthew's getting older and needs help with the farm. A woman named Mrs. Alexander Spencer is picking up a girl from the orphanage and they asked her to bring back a boy for them, who Matthew will meet at the train station.
- Rachel Lynde goes all worst-case scenario and cites stories from the news about adopted orphans killing their new families. She reminds Marilla that they're bringing a strange boy into their house they know nothing about.
- Marilla points out that there are always risks with having a child, naturally or adopted.
- Rachel leaves to spread the gossip all over town, thinking about how sorry she feels for the orphan, since Marilla and Matthew are old, set in their ways, and don't know a thing about children.
Matthew Cuthbert is Surprised
- As Matthew drives to the train station at Bright River, readers learn about his shyness. Which is pretty extreme. He's afraid of all women who aren't Marilla and Mrs. Rachel Lynde because he feels like they're secretly laughing at them.
- There's no one at the station except a little girl. Matthew figures he must be early until the stationmaster tells him the train came already and Mrs. Spencer left that orphan girl for him.
- Did we mention that Matthew's also afraid of little girls? He approaches the girl. She's thin, freckled, expressive, and waiting with a carpetbag.
- Luckily for Matthew, she talks first. And instead of introducing herself, she informs Matthew that if he hadn't come she would have climbed the wild cherry tree in the distance and spent the night there.
- Matthew decides to take the girl home and let Marilla explain that there's been a mistake.
- Because the girl's extremely chatty, we get to see the drive home through her eyes. Or rather, mouth. Things she talks about: how she hated the orphan asylum, how she wishes she was better looking, how she loves fine clothes.
- To his own surprise, Matthew finds himself liking her. He tells her she can talk as much as she likes. So she goes on to tell him how she wishes her hair wasn't red.
- When they reach a road arched over with apple trees called The Avenue, the girl falls silent. When she speaks again, she explains that she got a thrill from the beauty of the place. When Matthew tells her its name, she doesn't like it and decides to call it "The White Way of Delight" instead.
- Her re-naming doesn't stop there. When they pass their neighbor's pond, she decides to call it "The Lake of Shining Waters."
- As they get close, she correctly guesses which house is Green Gables, saying it just feels like home. Awkward. Cue a very guilty Matthew.
Marilla Cuthbert is Surprised
- The chapter title takes place right away, once the girl walks into the house. As Matthew explains to Marilla why he didn't bring a boy home, the girl realizes she isn't wanted and bursts into tears.
- Marilla asks her name. She says she wants to be called Cordelia, but when pressed, reveals that her name is Anne Shirley.
- Dinner doesn't go very well. Anne can't eat because, she explains, she's "in the depths of despair." (3.26)
- Once Anne is in bed, Matthew asks Marilla if they can keep her, surprising Marilla a second time. She's still against the idea. Meanwhile, poor Anne cries herself to sleep.
Morning at Green Gables
- Anne wakes up and takes in the sights from her window: a large cherry tree, a garden, a clover-filled field, a brook, barns, fields, and a glimpse of the sea. No wonder she wants to stay.
- She's also in a better mood. As Marilla comes in to wake her and they have breakfast, she tells Marilla that she's glad there's a brook at Green Gables, and "Isn't it a splendid thing that there are mornings?" (4.15).
- She's still sad, she says, but she eats breakfast and talks endlessly.
- Marilla tells her to stop talking, but Anne's weird, spacey silence makes her even more nervous. Later Marilla tells Anne to go outside but Anne refuses, because leaving will be harder the more she falls in love with the place.
- Marilla thinks about how Matthew wants to keep Anne and feels herself falling under Anne's spell too, wondering what Anne will say next.
- Marilla and Anne set out for Mrs. Spencer's to figure out what happened and what to do with Anne. In his quiet way, Matthew makes it clear, when they leave, that he still wants Anne to stay.
- Anne tells Marilla she's made up her mind to enjoy the drive and immediately starts talking about names again. They're driving down The Shore Road, a name Anne's okay with. She likes White Sands (their destination) too, but the name she's really into is Avonlea. She thinks it sounds like music.
- Marilla tells Anne that since she's determined to talk, she might as well tell Marilla about her life. Anne's not so into that idea—she'd rather tell Marilla what she imagines about herself—but Marilla insists, so she begins.
- Anne was born to schoolteachers who were poor, from out of town, and didn't have any family. They both died of fever shortly after Anne was born. Mrs. Thomas, the woman who scrubbed her parents' house, took her in.
- Mrs. Thomas raised Anne to watch her four younger children (skip over to "In a Nutshell" for a refresher on how orphans were treated in this time period).
- When Anne was eight, Mrs. Thomas's husband died, and Anne was passed off to Mrs. Hammond, to help watch her three sets of twins. Another family, another underage, unpaid job.
- She was there for two years, until Mr. Hammond died. The kids were divided among relatives, and Anne was put in the orphan asylum, where she stayed for four months until meeting Matthew.
- Anne had some schooling, enough to learn how to read. She loves memorizing poetry.
- Marilla asks Anne if the Mrs. Hammond and Thomas were good to her. Anne gets really flushed and says she thinks they meant to be.
- Okay, now Marilla starts to feel bad for Anne and actually considers keeping her.
Marilla Makes Up Her Mind
- When Marilla explains their predicament to Mrs. Spencer, Mrs. Spencer suggests that they give Anne to a woman named Mrs. Blewett, who needs help taking care of her children.
- Marilla's not so sure. Mrs. Blewett has a reputation for being mean and stingy. Her ex-servants have spread stories about her temper. Not a good sign.
- Mrs. Blewett happens to be walking up to the house for a visit. When introduced to Anne, she makes it clear she'd never see Anne as more than a servant, plus makes the creepy comment that "wiry ones are the best." (6.19)
- Marilla sees the look on Anne's face and realizes she'll be haunted by it for the rest of her life if she doesn't step in. She claims she has to talk the situation over with Matthew and takes Anne back home.
- Anne's grateful and says Mrs. Blewett looked like a gimlet. (Not sure that means what you think it means, Anne. Try a gremlin or goblin.) Anyway, Marilla responds by lecturing Anne about respecting her elders.
- Later that evening, Marilla fills Matthew in. Matthew says he wouldn't give a dog he likes to Mrs. Blewett.
- Marilla tells Matthew she's cool with Anne staying, but makes him promise he won't interfere with her parenting methods, which is pretty much a dream for Matthew. He gets to hang out with Anne without doing the hard stuff.
- Marilla decides not to tell Anne until the next day.
Anne Says Her Prayers
- That night, Marilla instructs Anne on how to act at bedtime, i.e. fold her clothes and say her prayers.
- Anne tells Marilla that she never says her prayers. Marilla Cuthbert is, once again, surprised. Anne goes on to explain that she knows who God is but ever since Mrs. Thomas told her God made her hair red on purpose, she's been mad at him.
- Marilla tells Anne to thank God for her blessings and ask humbly for things she wants, so Anne asks God to let her stay at Green Gables and to make her good-looking when she grows up.
- She signs off "yours respectfully, Anne Shirley." Mic drop.
- Marilla tells Matthew later about the episode. She vows to get Anne a prayer book, and thinks about how her life has been easy until this point, but now her "time has come at last." (7.30)
Anne's Bringing-Up Has Begun
- Anne makes it through morning chores without Marilla revealing her fate, but finally decides it would be easier to know than wonder, and asks Marilla whether she's decided if she can say.
- When Marilla says yes, Anne's so happy she cries. But Marilla isn't the sentimental type, and tells Anne she cries and laughs too easily.
- Anne asks if she can call her Aunt Marilla. Marilla says no, because she isn't her aunt. Anne asks if they could imagine she is, and Marilla says she doesn't believe in imagining things differently from how they are. Probably the biggest difference between these two characters.
- Marilla starts Anne's education by telling her to memorize The Lord's Prayer. Anne goes to retrieve the prayer but doesn't return.
- Marilla looks for her and finds Anne gazing dreamily at the hallway picture: "Christ Blessing the Little Children." Anne had gotten lost in imagining she was one of them.
- Remember how Marilla doesn't believe in imagining? She's not sympathetic. Back to The Lord's Prayer for Anne.
- But (surprise, surprise) Anne gets sidetracked again and asks Marilla if she might find "a kindred spirit" in Avonlea. Marilla says the neighbor has a girl named Diana, who is Anne's age.
- Anne launches into the stories of her former "friends," both imaginary: Katie Maurice, her reflection that she used to pretend was another girl, and her echo, who she pretended was a friend named Violetta.
- Exhausted, Marilla sends Anne to her room to finish learning the prayer.
- Anne sits in her room and—you guessed it—imagines things instead. But then she thinks about how she is now Anne of Green Gables, and is happy to be "of" somewhere.
Mrs. Rachel Lynde is Properly Horrified
- Back to Mrs. Rachel Lynde. Remember her? The town gossip? We're told that the only reason she hasn't visited sooner to see Anne is that she's been ill until now.
- So Mrs. Rachel Lynde arrives at Green Gables, and after describing her illness (grippe) to Marilla in great detail, she brings up Anne.
- And even before seeing her, Mrs. Lynde doesn't approve, reminding Marilla that she has no idea how to raise a child.
- Marilla calls Anne in to meet Mrs. Lynde. Anne arrives flushed from outside, still wearing her orphanage dress, with her hair all over the place.
- Mrs. Lynde tells Anne the Cuthberts couldn't have chosen her for her looks. She calls her skinny and homely (meaning ugly), points out her freckles and compares her hair color to carrots.
- Anne doesn't take it lying down. She stomps her foot, tells Mrs. Lynde she hates her, calls her a rude, impolite, unfeeling woman, and asks her how she'd feel if someone told her she was fat, clumsy, and didn't have a spark of imagination.
- Predictably, Marilla sends Anne to her room.
- But once Anne's gone, Marilla tells Mrs. Lynde that she shouldn't have been so hard on her.
- Now Mrs. Lynde is really angry. She has a lot of snide things to say to say to Marilla as she leaves the house in an outrage, including suggesting that Anne should be hit with a switch as punishment.
- Marilla can't imagine whipping a child. But she does come up with a nice, humiliating punishment: she orders Anne to apologize to Mrs. Lynde and ask for forgiveness.
- Anne refuses, saying she'd rather be locked in a dungeon. She also asks Marilla to imagine how it must have felt to hear those things, which reminds Marilla of hearing something similar when she was a child. It made her feel bad for years.
- Still, Marilla sticks to her plan and tells Anne she can't leave her room until she apologizes.
- The standoff continues. Anne spends an entire day in her room, unwilling to apologize.
- Seeing her supper tray return mostly untouched, Matthew sneaks into Anne's room and asks her to give in.
- Anne agrees, saying she'd do anything for Matthew. (Aww.)
- Anne tells Marilla she's ready, much to Marilla's relief. Marilla walks her to Mrs. Lynde's, and Anne starts to look excited instead of sorry. Marilla asks her what she's thinking about and Anne says she's planning what to say.
- When she sees Mrs. Lynde, Anne kneels before her and recites a heartfelt apology, saying it will be her "lifelong sorrow" if Mrs. Lynde doesn't forgive her. Because when Anne does anything, she commits.
- In fact, Marilla starts to feel like her punishment failed because Anne is enjoying it too much.
- Mrs. Rachel Lynde only hears the sorrow in Anne's voice and is totally won over.
- When Anne leaves to pick flowers, Mrs. Lynde says that even though Anne is odd, she sees why Marilla wanted to keep her. She thinks it's better to have a child with a temper that cools down quickly than to have a sly, underhanded kid.
- Anne's pretty happy on the walk back. She talks Marilla's ear off about flowers, the stars, and how happy she is to have a home.
- Plus, she holds Marilla's hand, which gives Marilla an unfamiliar warm feeling. Love, maybe? Or tenderness, at least.
Anne's Impressions of Sunday School
- Marilla has made some clothes for Anne. But unfortunately for Anne, they're very plain. The best thing Anne can think to say about them is that she will imagine that she likes them.
- Anne tells Marilla she was hoping for a dress with puffed sleeves. Puffed sleeves = trendy in the mid- to late-1800's (not to mention the1980's). Marilla thinks Anne's desire is vain. She thinks clothes should be functional and nothing else.
- Marilla isn't feeling well, so she sends Anne to church by herself. She tells Anne to stop by Mrs. Lynde's and ask her where the family pew is.
- Anne leaves the house embarrassed of her plainness, but soon comes up with a crafty solution. She picks a bunch of flowers and puts them in her hat, so it looks like a flower wreath.
- Even though Anne might've looked boho chic by today's standards, the Avonlea girls in her Sunday school class think she looks ridiculous.
- When Anne returns home, she tells Marilla she didn't like Sunday school. Marilla is shocked. Then Anne goes into one of her speeches, telling Marilla all her thoughts about church and Sunday school.
- Some of Anne's thoughts: Mr. Bell's opening prayer was too long, the minister's sermon was uninteresting because he doesn't have enough imagination.
- Marilla secretly agrees with Anne but would never let her know.
A Solemn Vow and Promise
- Marilla hears about Anne's flower crown at church and scolds Anne about it. Anne's upset because she had no idea that would have made Marilla mad.
- Marilla takes Anne next door to visit a girl her age, Diana Barry. Anne's nervous Diana won't like her but Marilla says it's Diana's strict mother that Anne should be worried about.
- When they arrive, Mrs. Barry sends Diana and Anne outside into their gorgeous flower garden.
- Anne immediately asks Diana if she will swear to be her friend forever. Wow, Anne. Get to know a girl first.
- After Anne explaining that swearing an oath is not the same thing as cursing, Diana agrees. They say their oath, and Diana says that Anne is "queer" (meaning weird), but she likes her anyway.
- On the walk home, Anne happily tells Marilla about the many plans she and Diana have made.
- Then Matthew shows up with chocolates from the store. Jackpot! Marilla's annoyed but lets Anne have them. Anne asks Marilla if she can give half of them to Diana.
- That night, Marilla tells Matthew that she's glad Anne's generous, because she hates stingy children. And she grudgingly admits she's getting fond of Anne.
The Delights of Anticipation
- Late for her sewing, Anne runs into the house one afternoon to tell Marilla about an upcoming Sunday school picnic. Anne describes the picnic like it's going to be the best party in the world. Oh, and there's going to be ice cream there, which Anne's never had before.
- Marilla agrees to let her go and promises to bake her a basket. Anne's so grateful she kisses her. Marilla's freaked out by how much she likes being kissed and makes Anne do her patchwork.
- Anne sits down with her patchwork and plunges into another speech. Stuff Anne talks about: the playhouse she and Diana have set up between their farms, how she'd love to faint because it seems romantic, how she couldn't bear the disappointment of the picnic being cancelled if there was bad weather.
- Marilla points out that Anne has talked for ten minutes without stopping.
- For the next week, Anne's all about the picnic. She tells Marilla she grew cold from excitement when they made an announcement about it in church.
- Marilla worries that Anne gets too excited about things, and that her life will be full of disappointment. But Anne argues that it's better to have fun looking forward to things than to expect nothing.
- Marilla wore her amethyst brooch to church, which we're told is her heirloom and most prized possession. Anne loves the brooch too.
- Uh-oh. We sense something coming.
- Anne is shelling peas when Marilla walks in and asks if Anne took her amethyst brooch.
- Anne admits to trying it on, but she says she returned it to Marilla's bureau afterward.
- Marilla re-checks the bureau and her whole bedroom, but no brooch. So she returns to Anne and accuses her of lying.
- Anne refuses to confess, so she's sent to her room. It's the same punishment as earlier: stay in your room until you do the thing. In this case, confess.
- What bugs Marilla more than a missing brooch is the idea that there's a child in her house who lies and can't be trusted. She tells as much to Matthew the next morning, but Matthew's completely willing to stay out of this one.
- The next day, Marilla searches for the brooch and Anne stays in her room. In the evening, Marilla tells Anne she can't go to the picnic until she confesses.
- So the next morning, Anne "confesses." She tells Marilla she took the brooch and accidentally dropped it in the Lake of Shining Waters. But she says it all without any feeling, like she's reciting something.
- A super-annoyed Marilla forbids Anne from going to the picnic. Matthew tries to persuade her otherwise, but Marilla's foot is down.
- But later, when Marilla goes to mend her black shawl, she finds the brooch caught in it.
- Anne admits she made up the story of dropping it into the lake so she could go to the picnic. Marilla apologizes and sends Anne there with some food.
- The picnic doesn't disappoint. Afterward, Anne tells Marilla that she had tea, was rowed around the lake, and tasted ice cream.
- Marilla tells Matthew that she thinks Anne will turn out all right.
A Tempest in the School Teapot
- Notice that this chapter title is a little less clear than the rest. It's a reference to the idiom "a tempest in a teapot" which means making a big deal over something small.
- Anne's first day of school goes well. Afterwards, she tells Marilla about it in her long-winded way—how she's only on the fourth reader while the rest of her age group is on the fifth, and how everyone says the teacher Mr. Phillips is in love with an older student named Prissy Andrews. (Oh, and just a note to make this slightly less creepy: students in this area went to a short teaching school when they were sixteen, so Mr. Phillips is probably only a of couple years older than Prissy.)
- Three weeks into school, Diana tells Anne that a boy named Gilbert Blythe will be back from vacation, that he's on the same reader as Anne (he missed a lot of school when his dad got sick), and that he teases all the girls.
- Anne sees Gilbert that day, tying another girl's braids to her chair.
- That afternoon, Gilbert tries to get a daydreaming Anne to notice him by grabbing her braid, and whispering "carrots" at her.
- Oh, people of Avonlea. You should know by now that You Don't Talk About Anne's Red Hair.
- Anne calls Gilbert a "mean, hateful boy" (15.37) and cracks her slate over Gilbert's head.
- Gilbert tries to take the blame, but Mr. Phillips makes Anne stand in the front of the class room with a note over head: "Ann Shirley has a very bad temper. Ann Shirley must learn to control her temper" (15.47).
- That's right—he forgot the "e."
- Gilbert tries to apologize, but Anne's just not over it.
- The next day Anne gets in trouble for coming in from lunch late, even though a bunch of other kids came in late as well. Mr. Phillips makes her sit on the boys' side of the room, next to Gilbert Blythe.
- During their afternoon as desk-mates, Gilbert tries to give Anne a candy heart that says "you're sweet" and Anne grinds it down with her shoe. Bad timing, Gil.
- Anne tells Marilla she's never going back to school.
- Marilla doesn't want to get into another standoff, so she goes to Rachel Lynde for advice. Rachel suggests letting Anne stay home and waiting for it to blow over, rather than battling out this one. She thinks Mr. Phillips is a bad teacher and Anne won't miss much anyway.
- So Anne stays home and hangs out with Diana after school. One day she even cries from imagining a scenario in which Diana dies, which makes Marilla, for the first time in this book, really laugh.
Diana is Invited to Tea with Tragic Results
- Marilla has a ladies meeting one afternoon, so she tells Anne she can invite Diana over for tea.
- Anne's really stoked to do this, since hosting a tea seems like a grown-up activity.
- Marilla tells Anne they can have a bottle of raspberry cordial—which is kept on the second shelf of the pantry—and a cookie each.
- Diana shows up for tea in her second-best dress and the girls are hilariously polite to each other at first. Eventually they act more like themselves and go out to the orchard to pick apples.
- When they go inside, Anne looks for the raspberry cordial. It's on a higher pantry shelf than Marilla said.
- Anne tells Anne to help herself and goes off to stoke the fire and prepare the tea, chatting at Diana the whole time.
- Diana's really into the raspberry cordial. She has seconds, and then thirds.
- When Anne brings out tea, Diana says she doesn't feel well and walks very unsteadily out the door.
- Can you guess what the cordial really was?
- The next day, Anne returns from Mrs. Lynde's in tears, telling Marilla that Diana's mom is furious at her because she got Diana drunk.
- Marilla checks out the pantry and realizes she'd put the cordial somewhere else. Anne had given Diana currant wine by accident.
- Marilla visits Mrs. Barry to explain, but Mrs. Barry doesn't believe her. Marilla gets mad and calls Diana greedy for having three tumblerfuls of anything. (Which probably didn't help the situation, but props to Marilla for defending Anne.)
- Anne tried to apologize to Mrs. Barry herself. No dice.
- Marilla laughs after Anne falls asleep, but then feels bad for Anne and kisses her on the cheek.
A New Interest in Life
- Diana beckons to Anne from the window. Anne rushes out to meet her, but it turns out Diana's mother hasn't relented. Diana only wants to say goodbye.
- They say a tearful, extremely poetic farewell. Diana says she loves her, which Anne has never heard before. Anne cuts a lock of Diana's hair to remember her by.
- Anne decides to go back to school so she can see Diana again, even from a distance.
- The Avonlea children have missed Anne, and shower her with tiny gifts on her return. Gilbert leaves an apple on Anne's desk, but she ignores it. Burn.
- Anne starts trying hard in school to get ahead of Gilbert, and soon they develop an academic rivalry.
- Gilbert is friendly about it, but Anne—not so much. Soon they're promoted to the fifth class.
Anne to the Rescue
- The Premier (meaning the Prime Minister of their province) is coming to a nearby town, and pretty much all the adults in Avonlea go to see him speak. Marilla goes, leaving Anne alone with Matthew in the evening.
- Anne and Matthew have a good chat about how geometry's hard, and about politics. Matthew says he's a Conservative (a party that was for political economics and ties to England) and Anne decides she's a Conservative by association. She's glad, because Gilbert's a Grit (a party for democratic reform and free trade with the U.S.)
- Diana runs into the house suddenly, crying that her sister Minnie May has bad croup. Her parents are away, the girl (Mary Jo) who is supposed to take care of her doesn't know what to do, and the doctor is probably out of town seeing the Premier.
- Matthew leaves to get the doctor and Anne takes charge of Minnie May's care. She used to care for three twins, remember? She's got this.
- Minnie May is very sick—croup involves a high fever and closes up the vocal chords, so she's also having trouble breathing. Anne uses ipecac (which used to treat coughs and is now mostly used to induce vomiting) to treat her, several times that night.
- The doctor arrives very late (as most doctors were at the Premier talk), when Minnie May has improved. Anne explains to him what went down, and how she was scared Minnie May would choke to death before her fever broke.
- When the Barry parents return, the doctor tells them Anne saved their child's life.
- The next afternoon, when Anne wakes up, Marilla tells her that Mrs. Barry had visited and apologized.
- Anne runs to Diana's house and tells Marilla about it afterward: Mrs. Barry had apologized and cried, and then included Anne in an elegant tea using their best china set. Most importantly, Anne and Diana are back to being friends.
A Concert, a Catastrophe, and a Confession
- Diana signals Anne to come over (they have a signal system by flashing light into each other's windows). When they do, Diana tells her she wants to take Anne to the Debating Club concert for her birthday. Anne can stay overnight and they can sleep in the spare room, which Anne considers a high honor.
- Only problem? Marilla won't let Anne go.
- Matthew disagrees with Marilla. His strategy for convincing her? Repeating over and over "I think you ought to let Anne go" until Marilla gives in. The strategy works.
- The winter drive is beautiful, the concert is fun, and Anne and Diana get back to the Barry house at eleven, when everyone's already in bed.
- Anne suggests that they race: whoever gets to the spare room bed first wins. But when they jump on the bed, they find themselves on top of an angry old woman who's already in there.
- It's Diana's great aunt Josephine, who must have arrived in town early.
- The next day, Anne visits Mrs. Lynde, who tells her that Josephine's furious with the whole Barry family. She's leaving early and no longer wants to pay for Diana's music lessons.
- Anne apologizes to Josephine, and her over-the-top apology amuses the woman. She decides to forgive Diana and stay if Anne will visit her.
- Anne and Josephine become friends. When Josephine leaves, she hopes Anne will visit, and promises her she can stay in her spare room.
A Good Imagination Gone Wrong
- The chapter opens by describing a beautiful spring where the kids of Avonlea have a grand ol' time picking flowers. Anne tells Marilla all about their escapades, and also mentions that it's the year anniversary of her coming to Green Gables.
- Marilla tells Anne to go to the Barry house to ask for an apron pattern for Diana's mother.
- Anne asks if she can go in the morning. It turns out she and Diana have been pretending that the wood between their homes is haunted. Anne says she doesn't believe her imaginings in the daylight, but it's different when it's dark.
- Marilla decides to "cure" Anne of letting her imagination go too wild, and marches her outside, forcing her to walk into the woods.
- Anne walks through the woods, imagining goblins reaching for her the whole time. It doesn't help that that woods is already pretty creepy, with wailing wind and bats flying around.
- On her walk back, Anne closes her eyes the whole time.
- Anne tells Marilla that she'll be happy with commonplace places after this.
A New Departure in Flavorings
- Ch-ch-changes in Avonlea. Mr. Phillips (Remember him? The mediocre teacher?) is leaving the Avonlea school and the church is getting a new minister, who has a wife.
- Said wife, Mrs. Allan, takes over Anne's Sunday school class and lets the students ask her questions, so of course Anne loves her.
- Marilla decides to invite the Allans over for supper and tells Anne she can make a cake.
- Anne gets a little obsessive over the cake. She's made good cakes before, but she's worried she'll screw it up somehow.
- The day of the visit arrives. Anne has a cold, but her cake rises the right way and she arranges a bunch of flowers for the table, so things are looking up.
- Dinner goes well, but when Mrs. Allan tries the cake, she gets a funny expression.
- Marilla figures out that instead of vanilla, Anne accidentally flavored the cake with anodyne liniment, a painkilling medicine that involves morphine and alcohol. Awkward.
- Anne runs to her room, but Mrs. Allan is very kind about the whole thing and the night ends well.
Anne is Invited out to Tea
- Anne gets an invitation from Mrs. Allan to join her for tea. Never mind that all the members of her class will be invited to tea; Anne is pumped. She's never received an invitation in the mail before.
- Anne goes through her usual stages of pre-big-event feeling: excitement whenever she thinks about the event and anxiety that the event will be cancelled due to bad weather.
- It goes well. No bursts of anger or badly-flavored treats from Anne. Mrs. Allan sympathizes with Anne's geometry struggles and suggests she join the church choir.
- Anne also finds out that the Avonlea school's new teacher is going to be a woman named Miss Muriel Stacy.
Anne Comes to Grief in an Affair of Honor
- Another year, another Diana Barry birthday party. The scene is set: the girls are in the Barry garden after tea.
- They soon start daring each other to do things. In Avonlea, it's completely taboo to refuse a dare.
- Anne scorns Josie Pye when Josie successfully walks a fence in response to a dare, saying it isn't that impressive, and she knew a girl who could walk the ridgepole of a roof. See where this is going?
- Josie dares Anne to walk the ridgepole of the Barry roof.
- Diana begs Anne to refuse, but Anne's too proud. She tells Diana she can have her pearl bead ring if she dies, and climbs up to the roof.
- Anne walks a few steps, and then falls off.
- Luckily, she falls off the side where the roof extends low over a porch, so she doesn't die. But she's in a lot of pain. Mr. Barry has to carry her home.
- When Marilla sees Mr. Barry carrying Anne limp in his arms, she realizes she loves her. Not that she says so. But she's scared.
- Anne explains what happened, then faints from the pain.
- The doctor pronounces her ankle broken. He sets it, but she has to stay in bed for several weeks.
- Anne has many visitors for the next three weeks, but she's excited to get back to school and meet their new lady teacher.
Miss Stacy and Her Pupils Get Up a Concert
- Miss Stacy's teaching methods are kind of revolutionary in unchanging Avonlea. In addition to classes, students have field afternoons where they study nature and "physical culture" exercises.
- Anne loves it. Marilla thinks it's nonsense.
- Miss Stacy organizes a concert for the kids to perform in on Christmas night. Anne will speak in two scenes and has two solo recitations.
- Remember how anti-concert Marilla is? She rolls her eyes about the whole thing, especially since Anne's anticipation makes her excitable and not useful in the kitchen.
- But you can count on Matthew, who reassures Anne that she'll be great.
Matthew Insists on Puffed Sleeves
- Matthew watches Anne with a bunch of her friends one night and sees that she looks different from them, but he can't figure out why.
- After smoking his pipe for a while, he realizes it's because she's dressed differently than them.
- He even realizes that their sleeves are somehow different. He decides to get Anne a fashionable dress for Christmas.
- In town, Matthew has two stores to choose from. He avoids his usual store because there are female clerks there. Remember how afraid he is of women?
- He gets to the other store, but there's a woman at the counter there, too, named Miss Hammond. She's very fashionable. Poor Matthew is already flustered.
- He keeps trying to ask for the dress, but chickens out at the last minute. He winds up asking for rakes, hayseed (a spring product in the middle of winter), and twenty pounds of brown sugar, which, when he brings home, really confuses Marilla.
- Matthew decides to go to the only other woman he can talk to in Avonlea—Mrs. Lynde.
- Mrs. Lynde knows what he's talking about right away and promises to make Anne something in the latest fashion.
- She's privately been thinking this whole time that Marilla was dressing Anne ridiculously, so she's happy to get involved.
- When Anne sees the dress, she's so happy that she cries. She also gets slippers from Aunt Josephine, which she can wear when she plays a fairy in the concert.
- The concert goes well and Matthew and Marilla sit together after Anne goes to bed, talking about how proud they are of her.
- Marilla admits that concerts aren't so bad and Matthew points out that Anne may need more schooling after Avonlea.
- They start thinking about sending her to Queen's Academy, a school where students can get their teaching certificate, and for some, an education that makes them eligible to get into a university.
The Story Club is Formed
- Life feels flat and unexciting to the Avonlea students after the Christmas concert.
- Fast forward a few weeks to when Anne turns thirteen. She and Diana are walking through the woods talking about their composition assignments. They're supposed to write a story.
- Diana's daunted by the assignment, but Anne's already done hers.
- Anne tells Diana her entire amazingly melodramatic story. It's about two friends, Cordelia Montmorency and Geraldine Seymour, who love the same man, Bertram DeVere.
- We won't spoil the ending for you, but it's a tragedy.
- Anne and Diana start a story club where they write stories for practice. Eventually they add two other friends, Jane Andrews and Ruby Gillis.
- Jane's stories are too sensible, Ruby's have too much love in them, and Diana's have too many murders (according to Anne). But they all have a good time. They also send the stories to Josephine, who's very amused.
Vanity and Vexation of Spirit
- Marilla walks home from a ladies' meeting, happy that she'll be going home to tea and a roaring fire now that Anne's in her life. When she gets home, Anne isn't there and nothing is started.
- Marilla isn't scared. She's annoyed. She preps tea and rants to Matthew.
- Later, she goes to Anne's room to find Anne hiding out in her bed.
- Anne's reluctant to emerge at first but eventually shows Marilla her hair. Which is green.
- Apparently, a peddler came to the house and sold Anne a dye that he said would be raven black. In other words, Anne got played.
- Marilla tries to wash the dye out, but it sticks. So Marilla cuts Anne's hair, very close to her head.
- Anne realizes she's been vain about her hair, despite its red color. She vows to stop caring about her looks from now on.
An Unfortunate Lily Maid
- Anne and her friends are trying to act out Tennyson's poem "Lancelot and Elaine," which involves a dead Elaine floating to Camelot. Anne's friends nominate her to be the dead girl because she won't be scared floating on a flat down a river. They push the flat into the river and run to a lower spot where they will meet her, pretending to be King Arthur and Guinevere.
- The only problem is the flat is leaking. Anne climbs onto a pile of tree trunks before the flat sinks. The tree trunks are slippery…and in the middle of the water. Anne is stuck.
- Meanwhile, Anne's friends see the flat sink and freak out. They run to get help, but think that Anne has already drowned.
- Anne's holding on with her arms and wrists, which are getting cramped. They almost give way, then who comes rowing under the bridge but Gilbert Blythe?
- Gilbert helps Anne into his boat and rows her onto the landing. He tells her that he's sorry for making fun of her hair long ago, and asks if they can be friends.
- Anne's as cold as ice. She refuses, and Gilbert leaves angry.
- Anne's friends find her and are very relieved. Marilla is less relieved and more annoyed. But Anne points out that each of her mishaps have helped her learn something, and this one has cured her of being romantic.
- Matthew tells Anne not to give up all of her romance.
An Epoch in Anne's Life
- Aunt Josephine invites Anne and Diana to visit her and attend the Exhibition, which is like a giant fair.
- Diana schemes to have her parents to ask Marilla so she'll let Anne go.
- Marilla relents, just like she has recently relented on fashionable clothes. (Anne has a bunch of them now.)
- Anne and Diana stay in Aunt Josephine's mansion, which is called Beechwood.
- The Exhibition is fun—Anne and Diana watch Avonlea folks win prizes for cooking and farming. They also watch a horse race and have their fortunes told.
- They get to sleep in Aunt Josephine's spare room, but it's a disappointment compared to the majesty of spare rooms in Anne's imagination.
- The next night, they see a singer perform opera, which makes Anne cry. Then they eat ice cream.
- Diana says she was meant for city life, but after thinking about the issue, Anne decides she likes Green Gables better.
- Marilla definitely prefers Anne to no Anne. When Anne returns, Marilla tells her she's glad to see her and greets her with a homey chicken dinner.
The Queen's Class is Organized
- One evening, Anne comes home to a very tired Marilla. Marilla hasn't been feeling well lately and thinks she needs to get her glasses changed.
- Marilla tells Anne that Miss Stacy came to visit Green Gables, but can't get further with her story. First, Anne gets sidetracked talking about growing up, and then Anne thinks she's in trouble for reading Ben-Hur during class and tells Marilla that whole story.
- Finally she lets Marilla speak. Marilla tells her that Miss Stacy wants Anne to be part of a class of elite students who stay after class to prepare for Queen's.
- Anne's thrilled. She didn't think she'd be able to go because of the expense, but Marilla and Matthew have put money away for her education.
- The only problem? Diana's parents won't let her go to Queen's. So Anne has to prep without Diana.
- Did we mention Gilbert's in the class? Anne's favorite enemy. He's been ignoring Anne since she snubbed him at the river. Anne, by the way, regrets what she said, but would never admit it.
- Studying's hard in the spring, but summer vacation finally begins.
- Marilla misses a ladies aid meeting, which is a big deal for her. When Mrs. Lynde comes over to find out what's wrong, Marilla tells her Matthew's been having bad heart "spells." Which doesn't sound good. He's supposed to avoid excitement.
- Anne serves Marilla and Rachel tea and biscuits. They talk about how good Anne is at cooking now, and how helpful she's become for Marilla.
- Quite the change from the beginning of the story.
Where the Brook and the River Meet
- Anne gets to spend her summer almost completely outdoors. She considers it her last summer of being a child, and Marilla lets her run free because a doctor told Marilla she's too pale and needs fresh air.
- Anne has a conversation with Marilla about how some people make her want to be good, but Mrs. Lynde's lecturing makes her want to be the opposite. Marilla admits that she feels the same way.
- Anne's Queen's prep class studies for (and worries about) the entrance exams that will determine whether they'll get in to the school.
- Marilla notices how tall Anne has gotten and how grown up she looks. She actually cries to Matthew about how much she'll miss her.
- Marilla asks Anne why she doesn't use big words anymore. Anne says there's so much to learn now that she doesn't have time for big words.
The Pass List is Out
- It's the end of year: time for the entrance exams. Anne travels to Charlottetown to take them.
- In a letter to Diana, Anne describes everyone's initial fear right before the test starts, and how she thinks she's done on the tests so far.
- She (not-so-) secretly wants to beat Gilbert. All the kids in town are waiting to find out who scores higher.
- The pass list is supposed to come out in the paper. Anne waits in agony for three weeks.
- Diana manages to get her hands on a paper from a nearby town and runs it to Anne. Anne tied with Gilbert for first place, out of everyone on Prince Edward Island. Woo-hoo!
- Before they leave to tell their friends, Anne finds Matthew, Marilla, and Mrs. Lynde near the house and gives them the news first.
- Matthew says he knew it, Marilla tries to hide her extreme pride, and Mrs. Lynde says, very sincerely, "We're all proud of you." (32.46)
The Hotel Concert
- Near the end of Anne's summer before Queen's, she's asked to speak in a big concert at the White Sands Hotel.
- Diana spends time dressing her up beautifully, and she, Diana, and Jane ride to White Sands with a local boy at the wheel.
- When they get there, Anne is escorted to the performers' dressing room, full of ladies in way fancier clothes. Then she's seated near a girl who makes fun of the local talent, calling everyone "rustic." Poor Anne feels like a joke.
- When she gets up to speak, she's consumed by stage fright. Gulp.
- She sees Gilbert in the audience and resolves not to fail in front of him. Whatever works?
- Anne recites so well she gets an encore.
- Afterward, she's introduced to all the other performers and they have supper. Everyone's happy.
- On the way home, Diana and Jane long for the lifestyles of the rich hotel ladies, but Anne says she'd rather have her tiny string of pearls given with love from Matthew than diamonds.
A Queen's Girl
- Anne catches Marilla crying as she is getting Anne ready for Queen's. Marilla wishes Anne could have stayed a little girl, but Anne reassures her she'll always be her Anne inside.
- The first day at school presents new challenges: a medal for the top of the class upon graduation. Of course, both Anne and Gilbert are trying for it. They're both taking extra classes to finish in one year instead of two.
- When Anne reaches her bedroom at the boardinghouse, she cries from homesickness. She is so homesick that she's actually happy when Josie Pye visits her.
- Anne and Ruby visit too, and mention another goal to try for: The Avery Scholarship, which will guarantee the winner a full ride to Redmond College. Anne hadn't thought about a B.A. before, but decides to go for it.
The Winter at Queen's
- Anne settles into her classes and makes new friends. Meanwhile, Gilbert Blythe is "walking home with" (this decade's equivalent to dating) Ruby and still not talking to Anne.
- Anne and her friends begin studying for examinations. If they pass, they'll get their teacher's certificates. If they pass at the top of their class, they have a chance to get the medal or Avery scholarship.
- Anne's friends are worried about passing at all. Anne alternates between worrying about the medal and scholarship and just enjoying the spring nature.
The Glory and the Dream
- The final results are about to be posted and now Anne's worried.
- Then she and Gilbert are cheered. Gilbert wins the medal but Anne wins the scholarship.
- At commencement, Marilla, Matthew, and Aunt Josephine talk about how glad they are that they kept Anne, and how proud they are of her.
- Anne goes home reunites with Diana temporarily. She'll be starting at Redmond College in the fall.
- Marilla and Matthew aren't doing so well. Matthews been having a lot of problems with his heart, and Marilla has pain behind her eyes. Also, the bank that's holding all their money is in trouble.
- Anne has a beautiful day traipsing around Avonlea. At night, seeing Matthew walking slowly and bent, Anne wishes she were a boy so she could help him. But Matthew tells her that he'd rather have her than a dozen boys.
The Reaper Whose Name is Death
- It doesn't take long for this chapter to live up to its title. Matthew collapses the next morning and he's dead before the doctor arrives.
- Everyone visits Green Gables that day. Anne feels strangely achey but can't cry. Diana offers to sleep with Anne but Anne says no.
- Anne wakes up in the middle of the night and cries. Marilla comes into her room and they cry together. Marilla says that even though she was stricter with Anne than Matthew, she loves her just as much.
- After the funeral, everyone returns to their routine. Whenever Anne has moments of smiles and laughter, she feels guilty.
- Marilla tells Anne she's going to see the doctor about her eyes, and eventually, their talk turns to the subject of Gilbert Blythe.
- It's not what you think—Marilla doesn't know about the Anne/Gilbert rivalry. Apparently Marilla used to be courted by Gilbert's father, but they got into a fight and Marilla was too proud to forgive him. She's always wished that she had.
The Bend in the Road
- Anne finds Marilla with her head buried in her hands. Marilla has just found out that if she doesn't give up all eye-straining work she'll be blind in six months. She doesn't see the point of not working if she's going to be alone.
- A few days later, Marilla decides to sell Green Gables.
- Anne won't let her. She's made a decision of her own: to decline the scholarship. She's taken a teaching position a few towns over, so she can help Marilla. She'll drive to the school each day and board there on weeknights in the winter.
- Marilla knows she should argue but she's too grateful.
- A few days later, Mrs. Lynde tells Anne that Gilbert's given up his application for the Avonlea school so Anne can teach there and stay with Marilla.
- Anne runs into Gilbert while walking home from the graveyard. She thanks Gilbert for the school and admits that she's always regretted not forgiving him. They stay out talking for a half hour.
- Anne returns to her room in Green Gables. Even though her path has changed, she looks out the window and still sees possibility.