Anne of Green Gables

By L.M. Montgomery

Introduction

“Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery is a literary gem that continues to captivate readers with its charm, wit, and emotional depth. 📚✨ Set against the picturesque backdrop of Prince Edward Island, Canada, this novel first published in 1908, introduces us to the imaginative and spirited orphan, Anne Shirley. Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author, drew inspiration from her own childhood experiences and the natural beauty of the Canadian landscape to create a story that explores themes of belonging, friendship, and the pursuit of one’s dreams.

The book falls into the genre of children’s literature but is beloved by readers of all ages for its universal themes and timeless appeal. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables is not just a story about growing up; it’s an exploration of the power of imagination, the importance of community, and the beauty of the natural world. 🌳💖

Join me as we delve into the world of Avonlea, where Anne’s adventures and misadventures teach us about the joys of life, the value of mistakes, and the essence of love and family. Ready to explore this enchanting world? Let’s dive in!

Plot Summary

“Anne of Green Gables” by L.M. Montgomery unfolds in the scenic setting of Prince Edward Island, where the lives of Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are forever changed by an unexpected arrival. Here’s a detailed walk through the heartwarming journey of Anne Shirley:

Exposition — Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, two elderly siblings living at Green Gables in Avonlea, decide to adopt a boy to help with their farm. However, due to a mix-up at the orphanage, they receive Anne Shirley, an imaginative and talkative red-haired girl.

Rising Action — Initially, Marilla considers sending Anne back and getting the boy they originally requested. Yet, Anne’s vivacity, imagination, and the way she cherishes the world around her gradually endear her to the Cuthberts, leading them to decide she should stay.

Climax — Anne’s journey through childhood and adolescence is marked by both joyful discoveries and heartfelt mishaps. One significant turning point is when Anne, in her desire to belong and be loved, inadvertently dyes her hair green, showcasing her propensity for getting into scrapes despite her good intentions.

Falling Action — As Anne matures, she forms deep friendships, especially with Diana Barry, her “bosom friend.” Her relationship with her rival, Gilbert Blythe, evolves from animosity to mutual respect and hidden affection. Anne’s academic achievements and her ability to overcome adversity highlight her growth from an imaginative orphan to a young woman of strong character and intelligence.

Resolution — The novel concludes with Anne’s acceptance into Queen’s Academy, where she earns a scholarship for further education. However, the story takes a bittersweet turn as Matthew passes away, and Anne decides to stay in Avonlea to support Marilla, putting her dreams on hold to give back to those who have given her a home and family.

Throughout the novel, Anne’s imaginative spirit and her journey towards finding her place in the world capture the essence of youth, growth, and the power of love and friendship.

Character Analysis

In “Anne of Green Gables,” L.M. Montgomery crafts a cast of characters as vivid and endearing as the landscapes of Prince Edward Island. Let’s delve into the personalities, motivations, and developments of the main characters.

Anne Shirley — Anne is an imaginative, talkative, and spirited orphan girl with a distinctive head of red hair. Her penchant for daydreaming often leads her into trouble, but her creativity, intelligence, and passionate nature endear her to many in Avonlea. Throughout the novel, Anne transforms from a naive and impulsive girl into a thoughtful and responsible young woman, all while maintaining her unique zest for life.

Marilla Cuthbert — Initially stern and practical, Marilla is a middle-aged woman who, along with her brother Matthew, adopts Anne. Though she often struggles to understand Anne’s imaginative ways, Marilla grows to love her deeply, showing a softer side and a capacity for affection that she hadn’t expressed in years.

Matthew Cuthbert — Matthew is a shy, gentle, and kind-hearted bachelor who instantly takes a liking to Anne. His quiet support and unconditional love play a crucial role in Anne’s life, offering her a sense of belonging and security. Matthew’s character remains relatively steady throughout the novel, serving as a constant source of kindness and understanding in Anne’s life.

Gilbert Blythe — Gilbert is Anne’s academic rival and eventual friend, known for his good looks, intelligence, and competitive nature. Their relationship starts on the wrong foot when Gilbert teasingly calls Anne “carrots,” leading to Anne’s long-held grudge. However, over time, Gilbert’s genuine admiration and affection for Anne become evident, setting the stage for a deep and complex relationship.

Diana Barry — Diana is Anne’s best friend and “kindred spirit.” She is loyal, sweet, and somewhat more reserved than Anne. Diana’s friendship provides Anne with a sense of belonging and acceptance that she had longed for, proving to be an anchor in Anne’s adventurous life.

CharacterPersonalityMotivationDevelopment
Anne ShirleyImaginative, talkative, passionateSeeks love, belonging, and self-improvementMatures into a thoughtful young woman without losing her spirit
Marilla CuthbertStern, practical, affectionateDesires to raise Anne properly; finds unexpected joy in motherhoodSoftens and opens her heart to love and affection
Matthew CuthbertGentle, shy, supportiveWishes to see Anne happy and secureServes as a constant source of love and support
Gilbert BlytheIntelligent, competitive, kindSeeks Anne’s forgiveness and friendship; competes academicallyGrows from a rival to a friend and potential love interest
Diana BarryLoyal, sweet, reservedDesires a deep and lasting friendshipRemains a steadfast and supportive friend

These characters, with their distinct personalities and growth, weave the rich tapestry of “Anne of Green Gables,” making the novel not just a story about an orphan girl finding a home, but about how love, friendship, and community can transform lives.

Themes and Symbols

“Anne of Green Gables” is rich with themes and symbols that contribute to its enduring charm and depth. Let’s explore some of the major ones:

Themes:

Imagination and Creativity: Anne’s vivid imagination colors her experiences and the world around her, demonstrating the power of creativity to transform the mundane into the magical. This theme underscores the value of imagination in coping with life’s challenges and enriching one’s existence.

Belonging and Identity: Anne’s journey is fundamentally about finding a place where she belongs and crafting her identity. The novel explores the importance of community, family, and self-acceptance in the process of understanding one’s place in the world.

Friendship and Love: The deep bonds Anne forms with the people of Avonlea highlight the significance of friendship and love. These relationships are pivotal to Anne’s development and illustrate the various forms love can take, from platonic to romantic, and familial to communal.

Growth and Maturity: Anne’s transition from a naive, impulsive child to a thoughtful, responsible young adult mirrors the universal journey towards maturity. The theme of personal growth is central to the narrative, reflecting the trials, errors, and lessons that shape us.

Nature and Beauty: The novel celebrates the beauty of the natural world, with Prince Edward Island serving as a lush, vibrant backdrop to Anne’s adventures. Nature is not just a setting but a source of inspiration, comfort, and joy for Anne and other characters.

Symbols:

Green Gables: The Cuthberts’ home symbolizes security, belonging, and love. For Anne, it represents the stability and family she has longed for, becoming an integral part of her identity.

The Lake of Shining Waters: This body of water, which Anne names for its beauty, symbolizes the power of imagination to transform and elevate the ordinary into something extraordinary and meaningful.

Flowers: Throughout the novel, flowers serve as symbols of growth, change, and the natural cycle of life. Anne’s affinity for flowers reflects her appreciation for beauty and her understanding of the complexities of life.

The Broken Slate: Anne’s act of breaking a slate over Gilbert Blythe’s head symbolizes her fiery spirit and pride, but it also marks the beginning of their complex relationship. It’s a turning point that leads to eventual forgiveness and friendship.

The White Way of Delight: This flowering tree-lined avenue symbolizes the beauty and wonder of the world through Anne’s eyes. It’s a reminder of the joy to be found in life’s simple pleasures and the beauty that surrounds us.

These themes and symbols intertwine throughout “Anne of Green Gables,” enriching the narrative and inviting readers to reflect on their own lives and the beauty of the world around them.

Style and Tone

L.M. Montgomery’s “Anne of Green Gables” is celebrated for its distinctive writing style and tone, which contribute significantly to the novel’s mood and atmosphere. Here’s how these elements play out:

Narrative Style: Montgomery employs a third-person omniscient narrative, providing insights into the thoughts and feelings of various characters, not just Anne. This approach allows readers to understand the motivations behind characters’ actions and fosters a deeper connection with the story.

Descriptive Imagery: The author’s use of vivid, poetic descriptions brings the world of Avonlea to life. Montgomery’s imagery, especially when depicting the natural beauty of Prince Edward Island, adds a lyrical quality to the narrative, making the settings almost as memorable as the characters themselves.

Humor and Wit: One of the most charming aspects of Montgomery’s writing is her use of humor and wit, particularly through Anne’s dialogues and mishaps. The light-hearted tone provides balance to the narrative, ensuring that even the story’s more poignant moments are tempered with warmth and humor.

Tone of Optimism and Nostalgia: Throughout the novel, there’s an underlying tone of optimism and nostalgia. Anne’s resilience and optimistic outlook in the face of challenges inspire a sense of hope. Simultaneously, Montgomery’s portrayal of Avonlea and the simpler, rural life evokes a nostalgic longing for a bygone era.

Character Development: The way Montgomery explores character growth, especially Anne’s, is central to the novel’s appeal. The nuanced development of characters over time adds depth to the story and makes the reader’s journey with them all the more rewarding.

Emotional Depth: Montgomery skillfully balances light-hearted moments with scenes of profound emotional depth. The exploration of themes like belonging, loss, and personal growth is handled with sensitivity, allowing readers to deeply empathize with the characters.

These stylistic choices and the overall tone of “Anne of Green Gables” create a captivating reading experience. The combination of descriptive beauty, emotional depth, and humor makes the novel a timeless classic that continues to resonate with readers of all ages.

Literary Devices used in Anne of Green Gables

L.M. Montgomery skillfully employs various literary devices in “Anne of Green Gables” to enhance the narrative, deepen the thematic concerns, and bring the characters and setting to vivid life. Here are the top 10 devices used:

  1. Metaphor — Montgomery frequently uses metaphors to draw comparisons that highlight Anne’s imaginative perception of the world. For instance, Anne refers to a path as the “White Way of Delight,” symbolizing the beauty and joy she finds in nature.
  2. Simile — Similes are used to create vivid imagery, making Anne’s experiences more relatable. An example is when Anne’s feelings of anticipation are likened to “a fluttering flock of butterflies,” conveying her nervous excitement.
  3. Personification — The author gives human qualities to inanimate objects and nature, enhancing the magical quality of the setting. Trees, brooks, and winds are often described as having emotions and actions, such as whispering or dancing, which reflects Anne’s imaginative interaction with her environment.
  4. Irony — Montgomery uses irony to add humor and to underscore the contrast between Anne’s expectations and reality, often leading to memorable lessons or insights. For example, Anne’s romantic notions about naming a boat lead to a humorous and somewhat perilous adventure.
  5. Foreshadowing — The narrative contains subtle hints about future events, which build suspense and anticipation. Early references to Anne’s longing for a “bosom friend” foreshadow her deep friendship with Diana Barry.
  6. Allusion — Montgomery alludes to literature, poetry, and biblical texts, enriching the narrative with cultural and historical references that reflect Anne’s love for storytelling and her educational aspirations.
  7. Imagery — The use of detailed, sensory descriptions creates vivid pictures of Avonlea’s landscape, making the setting almost a character in its own right. This imagery immerses readers in the world Montgomery has created.
  8. Hyperbole — Anne’s tendency to use hyperbolic expressions emphasizes her dramatic and imaginative personality. Her declaration of being “in the depths of despair” over simple setbacks illustrates her flair for the dramatic.
  9. Symbolism — Objects and places in the novel often carry deeper meanings. For instance, Green Gables represents home, security, and belonging, while Anne’s puffed sleeves symbolize her longing for acceptance and her transition from childhood to adolescence.
  10. Repetition — Montgomery uses repetition for emphasis, particularly in dialogue or when describing Anne’s habits of speech. This device reinforces character traits and themes, such as Anne’s penchant for dramatics and her persistent optimism.

These literary devices work together to create a rich, textured narrative that is both engaging and meaningful, allowing readers to delve deeper into the world of Anne Shirley and the community of Avonlea.

Literary Device Examples

For each literary device identified in “Anne of Green Gables,” let’s explore three examples and their explanations:

Metaphor

  1. Example: Anne’s description of her feelings as “a glorious sunset.”
  • Explanation: This metaphor compares Anne’s emotional state to the beauty and majesty of a sunset, highlighting the depth and vibrancy of her feelings.
  1. Example: Calling the avenue of blossoming trees the “White Way of Delight.”
  • Explanation: This metaphor transforms a simple path into a magical journey, reflecting Anne’s ability to see and create beauty in her surroundings.
  1. Example: Anne refers to her imagination as “a little looking-glass.”
  • Explanation: This metaphor suggests that her imagination reflects and amplifies the world around her, allowing her to explore alternative perspectives and possibilities.

Simile

  1. Example: Anne feeling “as lonely as a cloud.”
  • Explanation: This simile, echoing Wordsworth’s poetry, conveys Anne’s sense of isolation and her deep connection to nature.
  1. Example: Anne’s excitement “like a ripple through her.”
  • Explanation: This simile illustrates the physical sensation of Anne’s excitement, likening it to a wave moving through her body.
  1. Example: Describing Anne’s hair as “like the reflection of autumn leaves in water.”
  • Explanation: This simile not only emphasizes the unique color of Anne’s hair but also connects her appearance to the natural beauty of the seasons.

Personification

  1. Example: The wind “whispering secrets to the old trees.”
  • Explanation: This personification gives the wind and trees human-like qualities, creating a sense of companionship and mystery in nature.
  1. Example: The brook “laughing in the sunshine.”
  • Explanation: By attributing human behavior to the brook, Montgomery highlights the joy and liveliness of the natural world as perceived by Anne.
  1. Example: Flowers “nodding their heads in agreement.”
  • Explanation: This personification imbues the flowers with a sense of animation and concurrence, enhancing the whimsical atmosphere of Green Gables.

Irony

  1. Example: Anne’s declaration of never wanting to speak to Gilbert again, only for him to become her closest friend.
  • Explanation: This situational irony highlights the unpredictable nature of relationships and the changes that come with growth and understanding.
  1. Example: Anne’s romanticized expectations of “the Haunted Wood” versus her actual terrifying experience.
  • Explanation: The irony here lies in the contrast between Anne’s imagination and reality, showcasing her capacity for fear despite her usually brave front.
  1. Example: Anne’s disdain for her red hair, which later becomes one of her most admired features.
  • Explanation: This example of irony reflects the theme of self-acceptance and the changing perceptions of beauty over time.

Each of these devices and examples showcases Montgomery’s skill in using literary techniques to deepen the narrative, enhance thematic elements, and bring her characters and settings to life with vibrancy and depth.

Anne of Green Gables – FAQs

What is the main theme of Anne of Green Gables?
The main theme of “Anne of Green Gables” is the journey towards finding one’s place in the world, underscored by the importance of imagination, friendship, love, and the quest for personal identity.

Who are the main characters in Anne of Green Gables?
The main characters include Anne Shirley, an imaginative and talkative orphan; Marilla Cuthbert, her strict but caring guardian; Matthew Cuthbert, Marilla’s kind-hearted brother; Diana Barry, Anne’s best friend; and Gilbert Blythe, Anne’s rival and eventual friend.

What is the setting of Anne of Green Gables?
The novel is set in the late 19th century in the fictional town of Avonlea, on Prince Edward Island, Canada. The natural beauty of the island plays a significant role in the story.

How does Anne Shirley change throughout the book?
Anne matures from a naive and impulsive orphan into a thoughtful, responsible, and educated young woman. Her experiences in Avonlea teach her about the complexities of life, friendship, love, and the value of community.

What literary devices are used in Anne of Green Gables?
L.M. Montgomery employs various literary devices such as metaphor, simile, personification, irony, foreshadowing, allusion, imagery, hyperbole, symbolism, and repetition to enhance the narrative and thematic depth of the novel.

How does the novel address the theme of imagination?
Imagination is a vital part of Anne’s character and the novel itself. It serves as a means of escape, a way to cope with difficulties, and a method to appreciate the world’s beauty. The novel portrays imagination as a valuable and enriching aspect of human experience.

What is the significance of Green Gables in the story?
Green Gables is more than just a home; it symbolizes belonging, stability, and love for Anne. It is the place where she finds her family, comes of age, and learns the values that define her character.

Can Anne of Green Gables be considered a feminist novel?
While not overtly feminist, the novel does feature strong female characters who challenge societal norms and expectations. Anne Shirley herself is a model of independence, intelligence, and resilience, embodying qualities that align with feminist ideals.

What role does nature play in Anne of Green Gables?
Nature is a constant source of inspiration and comfort for Anne and other characters. It reflects the beauty of the world, the seasons of life, and the growth characters undergo. The detailed descriptions of the natural surroundings contribute to the novel’s mood and underscore its themes.

Why has Anne of Green Gables remained popular over the years?
The novel’s enduring popularity can be attributed to its universal themes of love, friendship, growth, and belonging; its memorable, relatable characters; and its optimistic and humorous tone. It appeals to readers of all ages, offering both a nostalgic view of childhood and a hopeful perspective on life.

Quiz

QuestionABCD
What is Anne Shirley’s most notable physical feature when she arrives in Avonlea?Her green eyesHer red hairHer tall statureHer freckles
Who are Anne’s first friends in Avonlea?Marilla and MatthewDiana Barry and Gilbert BlytheRachel Lynde and Jerry BuoteDiana Barry and Rachel Lynde
What does Anne value most in her life?Fashion and beautyEducation and imaginationMoney and possessionsSocial status
How does Anne’s relationship with Gilbert Blythe begin?They become instant friendsGilbert teases Anne, leading to a rivalryThey are cousinsGilbert rescues Anne from a river
What significant event marks Anne’s transition into adulthood?Winning a baking contestHer first published poemMatthew’s death and her decision to stay in AvonleaMarrying Gilbert Blythe
Where does Anne go to further her education?Redmond CollegeQueen’s AcademyAvonlea High SchoolGreen Gables School for Girls
What is the name of Anne’s ‘bosom friend’?Ruby GillisJane AndrewsDiana BarryJosie Pye
What does Green Gables symbolize for Anne?Adventure and explorationA temporary shelterA true home and belongingA place of strict rules

Correct Answers:

  1. B – Her red hair
  2. D – Diana Barry and Rachel Lynde
  3. B – Education and imagination
  4. B – Gilbert teases Anne, leading to a rivalry
  5. C – Matthew’s death and her decision to stay in Avonlea
  6. B – Queen’s Academy
  7. C – Diana Barry
  8. C – A true home and belonging

Exercise

Spot the Literary Devices:

Read the following paragraph from “Anne of Green Gables” and identify the literary devices used.

“Anne had always a sunny side to her nature; she was not the kind who could mope and dwell on troubles. Even when she found herself in the depths of despair, she could see the silver lining, whispering to herself that tomorrow would bring a new day. The trees of Green Gables seemed to nod in agreement, their leaves rustling with what seemed like gentle laughter at Anne’s indomitable spirit.”


Answers:

  1. Metaphor – “sunny side to her nature” compares Anne’s optimistic personality to the brightness of the sun, highlighting her positivity.
  2. Hyperbole – “in the depths of despair” exaggerates Anne’s sadness to emphasize her dramatic nature and how deeply she feels emotions, yet she remains hopeful.
  3. Personification – “The trees of Green Gables seemed to nod in agreement” gives the trees human qualities, suggesting they share Anne’s optimism and are companions in her journey.
  4. Imagery – “their leaves rustling with what seemed like gentle laughter” creates a vivid picture of the scene, enhancing the magical quality of Anne’s world and her connection to nature.
Index