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Marilla fumes as she looks out the window and sees Anne
talking to Matthew forty-five minutes after she was supposed to
go inside and do chores. Marilla’s anger diminishes as Anne bursts
into the room and joyfully describes the Sunday school picnic planned
for the following week. She cannot wait to attend and to have her
first taste of ice cream. When Marilla agrees to let her attend
and says she will bake a basket of food for Anne to take along,
Anne flies into her arms and kisses her cheek. Marilla flushes with
warmth, though she disguises her pleasure with an injunction to
Anne to be more obedient. Anne talks excitedly about her adventures
with Diana and especially about their playhouse in the woods, which
is composed of discarded pieces of board and china.
When Marilla tries to hush Anne and quell her excitement
about the upcoming picnic, Anne replies that she would rather look
forward to things and risk disappointment than follow advice from stodgy
ladies like Mrs. Rachel who say, “Blessed are they who expect nothing
for they shall not be disappointed.” Anne says she was disappointed
when she finally saw a diamond because it was not half as beautiful
as she had imagined. She envisioned that a diamond was as colorful
as the best amethyst, a stone that pleases both Anne and Marilla.
Marilla has an amethyst brooch, her most prized possession, which
she wears to church. Anne loves it so much that she begs Marilla
to let her hold it for a minute.
Two days before the picnic, Marilla notices that her brooch
is missing. She asks Anne if she touched it, and Anne admits that
while Marilla was out for the afternoon, she saw it in Marilla’s
room and tried it on just for a moment. Marilla, after searching
her room thoroughly, realizes that Anne must have lost the brooch.
Anne denies she lost it, steadfastly maintaining that she put it
back. Marilla, however, cannot reconcile Anne’s story with the fact
that the brooch is nowhere to be found, and she sends Anne to her
room, declaring that she must stay there until she confesses.
On the day of the picnic, Anne decides to confess. In
poetic, theatrical language, she explains that she borrowed the
brooch so that she could imagine she was Lady Cordelia and then
accidentally dropped it into the Lake of Shining Waters. Marilla
is furious that Anne lied and that she seems to feel no remorse.
She orders Anne to stay in her room and tells her she cannot attend
the picnic—a sentence Anne thinks unjust, since Marilla promised
she could leave her room once she confessed. Anne throws a fit.
Matthew suggests that Marilla is being a bit harsh, but he cannot
think of a good defense for Anne.
Marilla, trying to busy herself with chores, goes to
fetch a black shawl that needs mending. When she picks it up, she
catches sight of the brooch hanging from a thread. Realizing she
was at fault the whole time and that Anne was telling the truth
when she said she didn’t lose it, Marilla goes to Anne to apologize.
She feels sorry for treating Anne as she did and has to squelch
a desire to laugh at Anne’s invented confession. She scolds Anne
for confessing to a deed she did not commit but admits she forced
Anne to lie. Anne goes to her picnic and comes home overjoyed, telling
stories about her adventures and about the indescribable taste of
Anne and Diana take the most scenic route to school every
day, walking on roads Anne has renamed Lover’s Lane and Willowmere and
Violet Vale. Anne is thrilled to have a bosom friend in Diana and is
willing to overlook Diana’s average imagination. Because Anne loves
Diana so much, she lets Diana call a place the Birch Path, even though
the name lacks Anne’s spark of originality. Marilla had worried
that Anne’s temper, talkativeness, and oddities would cause her trouble
at school, but Anne turns out to be a smart pupil and quickly adjusts.
The other girls include her in their potluck lunches and exchange
of small gifts. Anne dislikes boys and does not like the idea of
flirting with them, though she is humiliated by the thought that boys
are unlikely to flirt with her.
Anne’s world expands from the quiet life at Green Gables
to the bustling gossipy schoolroom at Avonlea. Her usual chatter
to Marilla about flowers and nature changes to reports on school.
The teacher, Mr. Phillips, pays little attention to the pupils in
his one-room school and lets them run amok as he sits in the back
row flirting with the oldest student, Prissy Andrews. Prissy is
sixteen and studying for her entrance exam to college.
Though Anne has received little schooling previously
and is consequently one reading level behind her peers, she is quickly
recognized as the smartest in the class. She takes pride in her
intelligence, although she says she would rather be beautiful than
smart. As Diana and Anne walk to school one day, Diana warns Anne
she should not take for granted her status as smartest pupil, since
Gilbert Blythe, the handsomest and smartest boy at school, will
soon return to class. When she sees Gilbert, Anne agrees that he
is handsome. But, unlike all the other girls, she is uninterested
in him. Intrigued by the new girl who refuses to look at him, Gilbert
tries to get her attention. He reaches across the aisle and whispers
“Carrots,” as he tweaks her braid. Anne’s quick temper flares, and
she jumps up, yelling at him and smashing a slate over his head.
Mr. Phillips, busy flirting with Prissy, ignores Gilbert’s
attempt to take the blame, refuses to listen to Anne’s side of the
story, and punishes her by making her stand in front of the class
for the rest of the day. Several times, Gilbert tries to apologize
and make peace with Anne, but she ignores him each time. The next
day, Mr. Phillips decides to make an example of pupils who return
to school late after the lunch break. The boys and Anne, who is
daydreaming alone, arrive late. Rather than go through the trouble
of punishing all the latecomers, Mr. Phillips picks Anne out of
the crowd and makes her sit next to Gilbert Blythe, a punishment
Anne thinks unfair and humiliating. At the end of the day, Anne
packs up her desk and solemnly tells Diana that sitting next to
Gilbert was excruciating and that she will never return to school.
Anne goes home and tells Marilla she will not go back
to school. Marilla sympathizes with Anne. She goes to Mrs. Rachel
for advice and decides that she will let Anne stay at home until
she wants to return to school.
One beautiful October morning, Marilla announces that
she will be away for the day and says that Anne should assume responsibility for
running the house. She adds that Anne may invite Diana over for tea,
leaving specific instructions about what Anne can serve Diana. During
their tea, the girls, clad in their second-best dresses, act ladylike
and proper, inquiring after each other’s health and families until Anne
suggests they go outside and pick apples, at which point they resume
their normal girlish familiarity.
When the girls return inside for tea, Diana accepts a
cup of raspberry cordial, a drink reserved for special occasions
that Marilla has given the girls permission to drink that day. As
Diana drinks a second glass and then a third, Anne tells stories
about her ineptness in the kitchen. One time, she forgot to put
flour in a cake. Another time, she neglected to cover plum-pudding
sauce with a cloth, which she was using as a white veil. The next
day, she found a mouse drowned in the sauce; she had planned to
tell Marilla, but then got lost in another daydream. Two very stylish
people came to tea, and just as Marilla was about to serve the plum
pudding and sauce, Anne remembered her mistake and shouted out the
whole mouse story, much to Marilla’s embarrassment. When Anne finishes
her story, Diana stands up unsteadily and announces she does not
feel well and must leave. Anne presses her to stay, but Diana insists
on stumbling home.
Two days later, Anne hears from Mrs. Rachel that Diana
was not sick but drunk. Marilla realizes that Anne mistook the bottle
of red currant wine for raspberry cordial and accidentally gave
Diana alcohol. Mrs. Barry is furious, assuming that Anne intentionally intoxicated
Diana. When Marilla goes to explain to Mrs. Barry that Anne made
an innocent mistake, she is met with a stony countenance and harsh
words. Mrs. Barry will not forgive Anne and has ordered Diana never
to speak to Anne again. Anne begs Mrs. Barry to soften her sentence,
but Mrs. Barry is resolute. Anne despairs at the prospect of being
separated from Diana forever.
The schoolroom at Avonlea absorbs Anne and becomes the
focus of her world. For the first time, Anne befriends many children
her age. Instead of talking to plants or her reflection, as she
did in the orphan asylum, she find people with whom she can interact.
Although she has not had any practice socializing with peers, she
manages to learn quickly the rules and manners of the social world.
Similarly, her lack of formal education does not prevent her from
absorbing the rules of reading, writing, and mathematics. As Anne
tries to make sense of the new rules, she has some difficulty reconciling
them with her own code of behavior. For example, Diana and all the
other girls are accustomed to Gilbert Blythe’s barbs and have grown
to enjoy attention from him. Anne, a stranger to such friendly teasing,
is offended and enraged when he calls her “Carrots.” Unfamiliar
with the ways in which young people interact with each other, she
cannot understand that Gilbert’s comment is not meant to be an insult
but is rather just an instance of teasing.
As Anne’s social world changes, the content of her communication
changes. Before, she talks to Marilla about nature and her imagination,
but now she cannot stop talking about school events and friends.
Her absorption in the minutiae of the girls’ social events reveals
that, despite her eccentricities, Anne is not fundamentally different
from the other girls her age. Her quick assimilation into the society
of the schoolhouse suggests the power of peers to influence behavior,
as well as the human ability to learn rapidly and conform to cultural
The schoolroom replicates the adult world. The girls
gossip as Mrs. Rachel does, for example, and their play mimics adult
behavior. At tea, Anne and Diana act ladylike in imitation of their
elders. Montgomery illustrates the danger of mimicking adult behavior with
the episode of Diana’s drunkenness. Although Marilla and Mrs. Barry
constantly prepare their girls to act like proper adults, when the
girls make an innocent mistake in the process of trying to act grown
up, the adults punish them.
Marilla continues to change and become a better parent.
Just as Anne has to apologize earlier for lashing out at Mrs. Rachel,
in these chapters Marilla learns to apologize for her mistaken assumptions. She
feels bad about forcing Anne to lie and admits to her own mistake.
Marilla becomes increasingly effective at managing Anne’s stubbornness
and hot temper. When Anne comes home from school set on never returning,
Marilla agrees to let her stay home. This leniency is new to Marilla,
a product of her growing understanding of Anne and the mellowing
effect that Anne has on her.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Anne of Green Gables!