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One afternoon, Anne spies Diana outside beckoning to her.
Anne rushes out, and Diana tells her she is still forbidden to play
with Anne so she has come to say goodbye. The two have a sentimental, melodramatic
parting. When Diana cries that she loves her bosom friend, Anne
says, “Nobody ever has loved me since I can remember. Oh, this is
. . . a ray of light which will forever shine on the darkness of
a path severed from thee, Diana.” Anne asks for a lock of Diana’s black
hair to keep as a memento. To combat her despair over losing Diana,
Anne decides to return to school. There, she can look at Diana even
though the two are forbidden to talk or play together. Anne’s classmates
welcome her back with open arms and little gifts. Some of the girls
send her plums, bottles, or copied poems, and two admiring boys,
Charlie Sloane and Gilbert Blythe, pass her a slate pencil and an
apple, respectively. Anne graciously accepts Charlie’s gift but
ostentatiously ignores Gilbert’s offering. One day, to Anne’s dismay,
she and Gilbert are tied as top student, and Mr. Phillips writes
both of their names on the board.
A Canadian premier comes to Prince Edward Island to address
a mass meeting in Charlottetown, about thirty miles from Avonlea. Mrs.
Rachel loves political events, so she goes with her husband and Marilla.
At home, Anne is studying, and Matthew is reading the Farmers’ Advocate
when Diana rushes into the house and cries that her three-year-old
sister Minnie May is sick with the croup, and neither she nor the
babysitter know what to do. Matthew quickly harnesses the horse
and goes for the doctor, while Anne and Diana rush back to the Barry
house, Orchard Slope. Having cared for three sets of twins at Mrs.
Hammond’s home who all got croup regularly, Anne knows how to care
for Minnie May. Matthew arrives with the doctor at three A.M., by
which time Minnie May is sleeping peacefully.
Later, the doctor tells Mr. and Mrs. Barry that Anne saved
their daughter’s life. Mrs. Barry comes to Green Gables the following
day and apologizes for blaming Anne for the currant wine incident.
She invites Anne to tea and encourages her to be friends with Diana
once again. Anne is thrilled by the news and pleased that the Barrys
treat her like special company at tea.
Anne explains to Marilla that in celebration of Diana’s
birthday, Mrs. Barry has agreed to let Diana invite Anne to a Debating
Club concert and spend the night in the Barrys’ spare bedroom. Anne
can hardly contain her excitement, but Marilla declares that she
cannot go because little girls have no business at late-night concerts.
Matthew disagrees with Marilla’s decision and tells her so until
she relents and gives Anne permission to go. On the day of the concert, Anne
and Diana take pleasure in everything from getting dressed to riding
Diana’s cousins’ pung sleigh to listening to scholars recite poetry
and sing at the concert. After the concert, they return to the Barrys’
house. They change into their nightgowns, and Anne proposes that
they race to the spare bedroom. The girls charge in and leap onto
the bed, landing right on Diana’s crotchety aunt, Miss Josephine
Barry, who arrived for her visit unexpectedly early.
Anne is disappointed at having to sleep with the toddler,
Minnie May, rather than in the spare bedroom, but the following
day returns to Green Gables happy and satisfied. Later, Mrs. Rachel reports
that the Barry house has been in an uproar all afternoon. Aunt Josephine,
angered at being awoken in the middle of the night, has decided
to cut short her visit and rescind her offer to pay for Diana’s
music lessons. She is a rich old lady, used to being treated decorously,
and will not listen to Diana’s pleas. Anne wants to remedy the situation
since she, not Diana, proposed the race into the spare bedroom.
She goes to the Barry house and enters the old lady’s room, terrified
but bold, and begins to confess. The old lady is amused by Anne’s
elevated way of speaking. She agrees to give Diana her music lessons
and stay the full month at Avonlea, under the condition that Anne
talk to her at the Barrys’ and then visit her in town.
Spring returns to Green Gables, bringing Anne’s favorite
ornaments of nature—flowers. She tells Marilla stories about exploring
nature with her school friends. On the day of her anniversary of
arriving at Green Gables, Anne takes considerable care with her
chores. Marilla leaves Anne in charge of the house because of a
headache. In the evening, Marilla asks Anne to go to Mrs. Barry
to get an apron pattern. Anne asks Marilla if she may delay the
trip until morning. She explains that she and Diana, tired of their
commonplace surroundings, have begun to pretend that the woods between
their houses are haunted. But Marilla, always trying to rid Anne
of the nonsense in her head, sends her on the errand. Anne returns
from the Barrys’ house out of breath from running and trembling
The anniversary of Anne’s arrival at Green Gables corresponds
with signs of Anne’s development as a young woman and a full member of
Avonlea society. Anne digests her old experiences and uses them to
improve herself, a process central to a child’s development into adolescence
and adulthood. In an instance of Anne’s increasing maturity, she
manages for the first time to make a heartfelt, effective apology.
In contrast to her overblown apologies to Mrs. Rachel and Marilla
in past chapters, Anne’s apology to Aunt Josephine, in Chapter 19,
is delicate, sincere, and immediately successful. She has learned
to curb her temper and put her eloquence to good use.
Anne applies old lessons to new situations not only when
making apologies but also when saving Minnie May. Although Anne
disliked caring for Mrs. Hammond’s twins, she is able to use the knowledge
she gained in the Hammond household to save Minnie May’s life. Previously,
Anne’s unorthodox background and unusual behavior have made her
the town laughingstock, but in these chapters respectable people
like the doctor compliment her for learning from the unusual experiences
of her past.
Anne and Gilbert’s rivalry grows increasingly heated.
Anne is “as intense in her hatreds as in her loves,” an intensity
apparent in her enduring hatred for Gilbert. She will not even speak
Gilbert’s name, as if trying to deny his existence altogether. When
Mr. Phillips writes their names on the board in Chapter 17,
the image of Anne’s name underneath that of her enemy suggests both
a flirtation between the two of them and her failure to best him
in school, and Anne cringes at the sight. However, just as Anne’s
unorthodox manner of speaking wins her the approval of Aunt Josephine,
her unusual talent for holding a grudge works in her favor in some
respects. Because she loathes Gilbert and wants to triumph over
him, she works harder in school than she otherwise might, even given
her natural love of learning.
Anne displays her fanciful and unshakable imagination
yet again in pretending with Diana that the woods between their
houses are haunted. There is nothing scary about these woods, but
Anne simply decides that she wants them to evoke a particular emotional reaction.
Because she believes so strongly in this fantasy, she actually alters
her perception of reality. Though she herself has created the idea
that the woods are scary, she nevertheless comes home nervous with
fright. This ability to get lost in fantasy and think creatively
about the world differentiates Anne from Marilla, who initially
cannot even fathom that Anne could be useful at Green Gables.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Anne of Green Gables!