Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables Summary and Analysis of Chapters 23 - 30


Chapter 23

A week later, Diana throws a party at her house and invites some of the girls from the Avonlea school, including Anne. After having tea, the girls begin daring one another, which is a very popular activity with the children their age in Avonlea. The dares start off relatively easy, with one girl climbing a caterpillar-infested tree and another hopping around the garden on one foot. The daring gets more intense when Anne dares Josie to walk along the top of a fence. Josie walks the fence easily. Anne, wanting to save face, says that walking a board fence isn’t impressive and that she once knew a girl who walked the ridgepole of a roof. Josie immediately dares Anne to walk the ridgepole of the roof on Diana’s house, and Anne stubbornly agrees.

The girls try to convince her not to do this, but she climbs a ladder to the roof and steps onto the ridgepole. She takes a few steps and then falls off. The girls scream and run to her, thinking she might be dead. Anne lies on the ground, hurt but conscious. Mrs. Barry comes outside, and when Anne tries to get to her feet, she finds that her ankle is badly injured. Mr. Barry is enlisted to carry Anne home, and everyone goes with them to Green Gables. When Marilla sees Mr. Barry carrying Anne, she has a sudden realization that “Anne was dearer to her than anything else on earth” (p. 234). As Anne is carried into her home, she faints in Mr. Barry’s arms.

Matthew brings the doctor later in the day, and it is discovered that Anne has broken her ankle. The doctor says that Anne will not be able to go anywhere for seven weeks, so Anne won’t be able to start the school year with the other students. Throughout the seven weeks, Anne’s imagination is her only company during most of the days. However, after school, there are always students and townspeople to keep her company, bring her presents, and tell her gossip. Anne is happy to see how many friends she has, and she is particularly thankful for Diana and Mrs. Allan, who visit her frequently. As August and September pass, Anne becomes all the more eager to return to school and meet the new teacher.

Chapter 24

In October, Anne’s ankle is fully healed, and she goes back to school. Anne loves the new teacher, Miss Stacy, who has the students learn recitations, write compositions, do “physical culture exercises” (p. 241) daily, and learn about nature outdoors on some afternoons. As fall turns to winter, Miss Stacy announces that the students at the Avonlea school will give a concert on Christmas Night. Anne is excited about her roles in the concert, which include giving two recitations and playing the character of Hope in a tableau. Anne gushes about the concert to Marilla and, after finding Marilla less than enthusiastic, goes outside to tell Matthew who is always loving and enthusiastic about Anne’s life.

Chapter 25

One day, when the Christmas concert is drawing near, Matthew sees Anne and her friends rehearsing and has a sudden thought that Anne looks different from the other girls. He first thinks it’s something about her delicate, lively facial features, but after pondering it for a few hours, he realizes that Anne is not dressed like the other girls. Marilla always dresses Anne in plain colors, all in the same pattern, and never with puffed sleeves. Matthew decides that he will buy Anne a pretty dress and give it to her as a Christmas present.

Matthew goes to Carmody, a nearby town, to buy the material for the dress. When he and Marilla shop in Carmody, it is always at the store of a man called William Blair. However, Matthew will need advice about the fabric at the store, and he knows that women work at William Blair’s store. Since Matthew petrified of talking to women, he decides to go instead to Lawson’s, where he thinks only men work. To Matthew’s chagrin, a woman has recently been hired to work at Lawson’s, and Matthew is so flustered that he asks her for a number of things he does not actually need. He leaves the store without having bought the fabric, and when he gets home, Marilla is flabbergasted at his buying brown sugar when she rarely cooks with it.

Matthew decides he needs to ask a woman to deal with buying fabric and making the dress, so he goes to Mrs. Rachel Lynde. Mrs. Rachel is happy to help since she, too, has thought that Marilla makes Anne dress in clothes that are too plain. On Christmas Eve, Mrs. Rachel brings Anne’s new dress to Green Gables. Marilla thinks to herself that she knew Matthew was up to something and that Anne will become even vainer with these ridiculously large puffed sleeves. The next morning, Matthew gives Anne the dress and she cries with joy.

After breakfast, Anne goes to Diana’s house to wish her Merry Christmas and show her the dress. When she arrives, Diana shows Anne that Aunt Josephine sent Anne a gift: fancy slippers for Anne to wear in the Christmas concert. The Christmas concert goes off without a hitch, and the narrator even notes that “Anne was the bright particular star of the occasion” (p. 255). Diana tells Anne that her recitations were beautiful and moving and that she saw Gilbert pick up a flower that fell out of Anne’s hair and put it in his pocket. Anne once again tells Diana never to speak to her about Gilbert.

At Green Gables, Matthew and Marilla both discuss how proud they are of Anne’s performance. Matthew brings up that they will need to think about paying for Anne to go to school after finishing the courses at the Avonlea school, and Marilla says that it may be best to send her to Queen’s teaching college. However, Marilla says they shouldn’t talk to Anne about this for a year or two since she will only be thirteen in March.

Chapter 26

After the Christmas concert, Anne finds it hard to get back to normal, boring school days. However, as the winter progresses, things do go back to normal, and soon, it is March and time for Anne’s birthday. Anne feels very grown-up because she is thirteen, meaning that she is now a teenager. Anne tells Diana on a walk to school that she is trying to be like Mrs. Allan, the minister’s wife. The two girls talk about coming milestones, such as being old enough to have a boyfriend at age fifteen and putting one’s hair up at age sixteen or seventeen.

Anne and Diana switch to talking about school. Miss Stacy often assigns compositions; for this Monday, the students are to write a story out of their own heads. Anne says that she has already written hers and tells Diana the plot, which is about friendship, love, betrayal, and death. Diana is amazed and envious at Anne’s imagination, and Anne suddenly has the idea to create a story club where students from the Avonlea school can write stories, read them to one another, and discuss them. When Anne tells Marilla about the story club, Marilla says it is a waste of time. Anne tells Marilla that she is somewhat annoyed that when she shows her stories to adults like Miss Stacy and Aunt Josephine, they find them amusing rather than tragic. However, she feels that she is doing good in the world by cheering up Aunt Josephine, and she reflects again that she is trying to become a good person like Mrs. Allan. Anne says Mrs. Allan told her she used to be mischievous when she was a little girl, and that gave Anne faith that she, too, can grow up to be good.

Chapter 27

Spring comes to Avonlea once again and even Marilla finds herself getting excited as she walks home from an Aid meeting. She thinks happily that it is so much nicer to come home to Anne than to an empty house, but when she arrives at home, she sees Anne is nowhere to be found. Marilla waits until dark for Anne to come home, but Anne does not. Then, when Marilla goes to Anne’s room to get a candle, she finds Anne lying face down in bed in despair. It turns out that Anne tried to dye her hair black with dye bought from a traveling salesman, but it turned her hair green instead. Marilla tries scrubbing Anne’s hair, but the dye won’t come out. Marilla decides that they will have to cut Anne’s hair entirely down to the scalp.

When Anne goes back to school with her hair cut off, it causes quite a sensation, but nobody guesses that it was cut off due to her dying it green. Anne tells Marilla about it when she gets home—but then, she asks Marilla if she should talk less because she knows Marilla had a headache earlier. Marilla says that she feels fine now but that her headaches have been getting worse and worse.

Chapter 28

Anne, Diana, and a few friends from school are playing by a pond a few months later. Anne’s hair has grown out into beautiful auburn curls all over her head. The girls are assigning roles to act out a poem they read recently in class. Anne is assigned to be the main character, Elaine. In the poem, Elaine dies and is sent out to sea in a little boat, so Anne gets into Diana’s father’s little boat used for shooting ducks. The girls cover the interior of the boat with Diana’s mother’s shawl, to represent a pall, and give Anne a scarf to represent a coverlet. As the other girls push the boat out to float downstream, it scrapes against a stake sticking up underwater.

The other girls run downstream to meet Anne as she floats by, but Anne realizes after a few minutes that the boat is filling up with water. Anne prays that the boat will pass close to one of the poles holding up a bridge, and indeed it does. She jumps out of the boat onto the pole, but now, she cannot get up onto the bridge. The boat drifts a little further downstream and then sinks, which leads Anne’s friends to think she has drowned. They run to get adults to help, while Anne still clings to the bridge pole.

Anne sees a small boat coming toward her; to her surprise, it is Gilbert. He offers for her to get into his boat and she accepts, though she remains cold and disdainful of him. Anne gets out of the boat and thanks Gilbert formally; he apologizes for making fun of her years before and asks if they can be friends. Anne looks at Gilbert’s shy and eager expression and hesitates, but then tells him coldly that she will never be his friend. Gilbert’s expression turns to anger; he gets in his boat and rows away.

As Anne sees Gilbert row away, she feels regret at how she acted and almost starts to cry. As she walks up the path back to town, she runs into two of her friends who couldn’t find the Barrys or the Cuthberts to help them. They are greatly relieved that Anne is alive, and they find her story about Gilbert very romantic. When Anne tells Marilla about what happened, Marilla is frustrated, but Anne says that each mistake she makes teaches her something. Anne says that this mistake has cured her of being too romantic, but when Marilla leaves the room, Matthew tells Anne not to give up all her romance.

Chapter 29

It is fall again in Avonlea, and Anne is bringing cows back to Green Gables when she sees Diana walking toward her. Diana has good news: Aunt Josephine has invited both Diana and Anne to visit her in Charlottetown and see the Exhibition. Anne thinks that Marilla will say she can’t go, but Diana says she will have her mother ask Marilla. Anne still withholds her excitement, but she reflects that she is glad Marilla now makes her fashionable clothes, ever since Matthew had Mrs. Rachel Lynde make her a dress for Christmas.

Marilla agrees that Anne can go on the trip to Charlottetown. Anne gets up early on Tuesday and goes to Diana’s house, where they set off with Mr. Barry. The girls enjoy the drive and they are soon in Charlottetown. Aunt Josephine greets them and tells Anne how much better-looking she is now. Anne and Diana, being “little country girls” (p. 293), are dazzled by her beautiful house. Anne and Diana sleep over that night and spend all of Wednesday at the Exhibition. There are competitions for food and crafts, and Anne is proud of how many people from Avonlea win their categories. Aunt Josephine takes girls to watch horse races, where Anne refuses to bet. After that, the girls have their fortunes told, and Anne’s fortune says that she will marry a rich, dark-complected man. To end the day, the girls sleep in Aunt Josephine’s spare room as Anne was promised, though she finds it is not as exciting as she imagined it would be when she was young.

On Thursday, Aunt Josephine takes the girls to the park and then to see a concert. After the concert, they get ice cream, and Diana says that she was born for city life. Upon reflection, Anne says she was not born for city life, and she is glad for that. On Friday, Mr. Barry comes back and the girls return to Avonlea. When Anne arrives back at Green Gables, Marilla has prepared a nice dinner to welcome Anne home. Anne tells Marilla and Matthew after dinner that she had a great trip, but the best part was coming home.

Chapter 30

One evening in November, Marilla tells Anne that Miss Stacy has come over to talk to her. Anne chatters for a long time without letting Marilla tell her what Miss Stacy came to talk about. When Marilla says that Miss Stacy came to talk about Anne, Anne gets flustered and confesses to reading a novel during Miss Stacy’s history class. Marilla says that Miss Stacy did not come over to talk about this, but rather to discuss Anne joining a class of students studying for the entrance examinations for Queen’s teachers college. Anne says that this is her dream but that she doesn’t think the family has money for it. Marilla says not to worry about that. Anne is grateful and tells Marilla that she will do her very best to be a credit to her. Marilla reminds Anne that she won’t be able to take the entrance exam for a year and a half, but she says it is time to really focus on school.

The class of advanced students studying for the entrance exam consists of Anne, Gilbert, Ruby, Jane, Josie, Charlie, and Moody. Diana’s parents do not plan to send her to Queen’s, so she is not included in the group, which makes both Diana and Anne sad. Anne tells Marilla about the desired professions of her classmates, though she skips talking about Gilbert as usual. The narrator says that Anne and Gilbert’s rivalry was now well-known and that Gilbert had reciprocated Anne’s coldness ever since she rejected his apology by the pond. Anne still regrets that moment, but, since Gilbert is now cold to her, she is too proud to tell anyone this.

The winter in Avonlea passes with Anne and her classmates in focused study. When the spring arrives, focus wanes for all the advanced students. Soon, it is time for summer vacation, and Anne tells Marilla she is putting her books away for the whole summer since it may be “the last summer I’ll be a little girl” (p. 311). The next afternoon, Mrs. Rachel Lynde comes to Green Gables to see why Marilla had not been at the Aid meeting a few days before. Marilla tells her that “Matthew had a bad spell with his heart” (p.312) and is not supposed to do any heavy work or get excited. Marilla and Mrs. Rachel sit together and discuss how much Anne has matured in the three years she has lived at Green Gables.


Miss Stacy is an important character in Anne of Green Gables because she is a double for Anne in many ways. Like Anne, Miss Stacy is a new and different kind of person in Avonlea. Unlike previous teachers at the Avonlea school, Miss Stacy's curriculum includes outdoor exploration, physical education, and writing stories. This is encouraging to Anne who already loves nature and stories, leading her to excel at school. Furthermore, Anne becomes a teacher at the Avonlea school herself at the end of the novel, and she is likely influenced and inspired by Miss Stacy's teaching style.

Matthew's relationship with Anne is central in this section of the book. His positive and relaxed attitude with Anne contrasts with his awkward, flustered manner toward Anne's friends and with the shopkeeper in Carmody. This contrast demonstrates to the reader that there is something special about Anne: she can charm and befriend anyone. Matthew also understands Anne better than Marilla does in some ways, as shown in this section. He realizes how much having a pretty dress with puffed sleeves would mean to Anne because it would allow her to fit in with her friends—something Marilla has been too stubborn and moralistic to truly consider.

Though Mrs. Rachel Lynde is originally presented as a nosy and judgmental character, in this section of the book it becomes clear that she is also wise and empathetic when it comes to raising children. Earlier in the book, she surprises Marilla—and perhaps the reader—by telling Marilla to let Anne stop going to school for a while. She reasons that Anne will only get in more trouble if she is forced to go to school. In this section, Mrs. Rachel Lynde agrees with Matthew that Anne should be allowed to wear pretty clothes that fit in with other young women in Avonlea, and she states that "There's no hard and fast method in the world that'll suit every child" (p. 251).

Anne and Diana's conversation on Anne's birthday shows how girls were constricted by norms of femininity and modesty in the early 20th century. For example, Diana says, "Alice Bell is only sixteen and she is wearing her [hair] up, but I think it's ridiculous. I shall wait until I'm seventeen" (p. 261). Anne is depicted as traditionally feminine in some ways, such as caring about her appearance and clothing, but she also does not conform to some norms of femininity at the time. For example, she is as smart or smarter than all the boys at her school, she is daring and adventurous, and she has no interest in dating boys.

Anne's story about Cordelia and Geraldine is used by Montgomery to bring out the themes present in the novel as a whole. Female friendship is at the center of Anne's story, and Anne and Diana's friendship is a central component of Anne of Green Gables. Romance, marriage, and betrayal in the middle of Anne's story call attention to Anne's conflicted feelings about femininity and her relationship with Gilbert. Finally, Anne's story ends with death and insanity, which recalls Anne's traumatic childhood and foreshadows that a death will occur at the end of Anne of Green Gables.