I’m not a bit changed—not really. I’m only just pruned down and branched out. The real me—back here—is just the same. It won’t make a bit of difference where I go or how much I change outwardly; at heart I shall always be your little Anne, who will love you and Matthew and dear Green Gables more and better every day of her life.

Anne expresses these thoughts in Chapter 34, before she is to leave for Queen’s Academy. In a novel centered around Anne’s evolution, this quotation at first seems surprising, for here Anne expresses her lack of change. Although Anne has changed remarkably, she likens herself to a tree in order to assure Marilla that although her branches may grow, at her roots she will remain the same, firmly ensconced in her home and family. Here Anne uses a metaphor drawn from nature, her constant source of comfort in difficult times. The fact that Anne feels the need to make this speech at all points to the changes that her presence has wrought in Marilla. Anne’s affectionate gestures and loving speeches have tempered Marilla’s buttoned-up severity so much that Marilla now weeps openly at the thought of Anne’s departure. In one sense, the fact that Anne must reassure the saddened Marilla is a happy event, for the cause of the speech shows Marilla’s great love for her adopted daughter.