When I left Queen’s my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend.

Anne expresses these thoughts in Chapter 38 after deciding to give up the prestigious Avery Scholarship in order to care for Marilla at home. This quotation communicates one of Anne’s defining characteristics: optimism in the face of uncertainty. In this case, optimism is no easy feat. In order to do the right thing, Anne must give up some of her ambitions. Anne uses slightly overblown, sentimental language to describe her prospects after commencement, talking of roses and chaplets and immortality. Here, however, she sounds more sensible and realistic. She knows she will not achieve great things by staying at home and providing loving care for Marilla, but she finds real happiness in the knowledge that she is doing the right thing. Instead of immortal roses, she now thinks of a simple, if mysterious, road. Roads are significant throughout the novel; when Anne first arrives in Avonlea, she rapturously renames the road into town “The White Way of Delight.” Both then and now, she rides hopefully along a road to an unknown future.