protagonist of the novel. Anne is an orphan who is adopted by Matthew
and Marilla Cuthbert and grows up on their farm, Green Gables. The
novel follows Anne as she makes social blunders and tries to quickly
absorb the rules of social conduct, religion, and morality that
other children have grown up learning. She has difficulty mixing
these social customs with her own unique sensibilities. Anne is
stubborn, passionate, loyal, and intelligent. She loves beauty and
fantasy, and wants to be a good person.
in-depth analysis of Anne Shirley.
An unmarried woman who raises Anne. Marilla lives
at Green Gables with her unmarried brother, Matthew. Marilla is
all angles and straight lines, with a stern face and tightly knotted
hair. This physical severity mirrors her moral and emotional severity.
Although Marilla does not usually express emotion, underneath she
has a wry sense of humor and a loving heart. Although she raises
Anne strictly, she loves her adopted daughter, and by the end of
the novel she has become softer and more expressive.
in-depth analysis of Marilla Cuthbert.
A sixty-year-old bachelor who lives at Green Gables
with his sister, Marilla. Matthew is painfully shy and a little
eccentric. Although he is terrified of women, he instantly likes
Anne and pressures Marilla to adopt her. Anne considers Matthew
a kindred spirit and always turns to him when she wants a sympathetic ear.
in-depth analysis of Matthew Cuthbert.
best friend. Diana is a plump, pretty girl Anne’s age who lives
next door to Green Gables at Orchard Slope. Diana and Anne become
bosom friends immediately after they meet. Full of romantic notions about
love and friendship, they swear devotion to each other forever.
Although an agreeable girl, she lacks Anne’s imagination, intelligence,
A handsome, smart Avonlea boy who becomes Anne’s rival when he makes
the mistake of teasing her about her red hair. Anne swears never
to speak to Gilbert, and even when he rescues her from the river, she
refuses to break the silence between them. Anne’s rivalry with Gilbert
keeps her motivated throughout her academic career. By the end of
the novel, the rivalry has become affectionate, and Anne and Gilbert
have become friends.
Mrs. Rachel Lynde
The town busybody. Mrs. Rachel likes nothing better
than to give her opinion and preach morals. She lives next door
to Green Gables with her meek husband, Thomas, and an affectionate, quarrelsome
friendship exists between her and Marilla. Mrs. Rachel is outspoken
about everything from politics to fashion, and, although childless,
she never fails to advise Marilla on how to raise Anne.
Miss Muriel Stacy
Anne’s teacher. Miss Stacy becomes the Avonlea schoolteacher
after the unpopular Mr. Phillips departs. Her unorthodox, liberal
teaching methods worry the conservative Avonlea trustees and Mrs. Rachel,
but all of her students love her. She is a role model and mentor
of the new minister, Mr. Allan. Anne admires Mrs. Allan for her
youth, beauty, and natural goodness, and frequently turns to her
new minister of Avonlea. Mr. Allan is a good man and a natural leader
of the community. He and his wife, Mrs. Allan, earn the universal
approval of the town.
mother. Mrs. Barry is a severe, unforgiving woman. She expects her
children to follow strict and sometimes unreasonable rules and is
quick to condemn Anne when Anne makes mistakes.
Diana’s old aunt. Aunt Josephine is very rich and lives
in a mansion in the town of Charlotteville. She has come to expect
people to cater to her, although when they do it bores her. Anne’s
vivacity and unorthodoxy charm Aunt Josephine, and she often invites
Anne to visit.
little sister. Minnie May is an important character mainly for the
role she plays in reviving Anne and Diana’s friendship. When Minnie
May falls ill with the croup, Anne saves her life. As a result,
Mrs. Barry gains a new respect for Anne and permits Diana to reestablish
her friendship with Anne.
of the youngest of the many Gillis girls. Ruby has learned about
growing up from her older sisters, and loves to share her superior
knowledge with Anne and their other friends. Ruby inclines toward sentimentality
and hysterical fits. She cares more for her good looks and her string
of boyfriends than she does for her studies.
member of the notorious Pye family. Josie lives up to her family’s
bad reputation and inspires the dislike of her classmates. Anne
tries to cultivate charitable feelings toward Josie but cannot manage
to do so.
plain, sensible girl in Anne’s group of friends. Jane is not particularly
ambitious, imaginative, or pretty, but she is steadfast and reliable.
of the first people to recognize Anne’s charms. Charlie admires
Anne from afar from the time they are children.
Moody Spurgeon MacPherson
One of the boys in Anne’s class at the Avonlea school
and a classmate of hers at Queen’s Academy.
schoolmaster at Avonlea during Anne’s first year at Green Gables.
Mr. Phillips is an inattentive teacher and a capricious disciplinarian.
Mr. Phillips spends class time flirting with his oldest student,
classmate of Anne’s. Prissy, sixteen years old when Anne begins
her studies at Avonlea School, is considered grown up enough to
court the teacher,
first foster parent. Anne describes Mrs. Thomas as harsh and unkind.
After the death of her alcoholic husband, Mrs. Thomas gives Anne
second foster parent. Mrs. Hammond uses Anne as a maid and makes
her care for her three sets of twins.
Mrs. Peter Blewett
A woman living in Avonlea. Mrs. Blewett offers to
take Anne in as a babysitter when she learns that Marilla intends
to get a boy orphan in Anne’s place. Marilla decides to keep Anne
because Mrs. Blewett is a nasty, stingy woman, and not fit to care
for a child.
church superintendent. Mr. Bell leads prayer every Sunday. Anne
cannot stand his prayers because she finds them unimpassioned and
minister at Avonlea. Mr. Bentley does little to inspire his congregation
and gives dull, lengthy sermons.
father. Mr. Blythe courted Marilla when they were younger, but ended
up marrying someone else. Marilla confides in Anne that she regrets
ending her courtship with Mr. Blythe.
worker at the asylum where Anne lived. Mrs. Spencer brings Anne
to Matthew and Marilla instead of the boy orphan they requested.