Here you will find a Anne of Green Gables summary (L. M. Montgomery's book).
We begin with a summary of the entire book, and then you can read each individual chapter's summary by visiting the links on the "Chapters" section.
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A pair of unmarried siblings, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, reside on Green Gables, their ancestral farm in the serene town of Avonlea, Prince Edward Island, Canada. As Matthew, at the age of sixty, finds the farm work increasingly burdensome, they decide to adopt an orphan boy to help with chores. The town's busybody, Mrs. Rachel Lynde, is taken aback by this decision, doubting the Cuthberts' child-rearing abilities. Instead of a boy, a young and lively girl, Anne Shirley, mistakenly arrives from the orphanage. Despite the mix-up, Matthew is won over by Anne's charm and persuades a initially reluctant Marilla to let the girl stay. Despite her orphaned and impoverished past, Anne is a vivacious and contented child. She lacks formal education and manners, but compensates with a vivid imagination and a positive, generous demeanor. Her unconventional behavior often results in mishaps. For instance, she wears a wildflower crown to church, lashes out at Mrs. Rachel for ridiculing her red hair, and makes comical blunders while trying to adhere to Marilla's rules. Despite these, she wins the Cuthberts and the townsfolk over. Having never had any real friends, Anne used to create imaginary companions. However, in Avonlea, she befriends Diana Barry, a neighbor, who becomes a close confidante. Their friendship faces a crisis when Diana inadvertently gets intoxicated at a tea party at Anne’s, resulting in Diana’s mother forbidding their interaction. They reconcile when Anne saves Diana's sister, gravely ill with croup. Meanwhile, at school, Anne develops a competitive relationship with Gilbert Blythe, an intelligent and charming boy who initially teases her about her red hair. This rivalry fuels her academic ambitions, leading her to excel in her studies and win a scholarship for a prestigious four-year college. However, when faced with Matthew's death and Marilla's impending blindness, Anne sacrifices her educational dreams to care for Marilla, and takes up a teaching position at the local school, offered by a now friendly Gilbert. Despite her constrained future, Anne remains hopeful and cheerful.
Living on Avonlea's main road in the rural region of Prince Edward Island, Canada, is Mrs. Rachel Lynde, the town gossip, and her docile husband. One early June afternoon, Mrs. Rachel spots her neighbor, Matthew Cuthbert, exiting his house - an unusual sight given Matthew's introverted nature. His best suit and driving his buggy, signaled an important task at hand. Intrigued, Mrs. Rachel heads over to the Cuthbert residence seeking answers. Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert reside on a secluded farm known as Green Gables. Marilla, despite being more outgoing than Matthew, is a reserved and stern woman. The impeccable house mirrors her severity, appearing too pristine to be cozy, and Marilla herself has a stern face and tightly pulled-back hair. Yet, a hint of humor lurks behind her stern mouth. Upon questioning Matthew's departure, Marilla reveals that he's off to fetch their new orphan from the train station. The elderly Matthew, now sixty, and the need for assistance on the farm prompted them to adopt a boy from the orphanage. This announcement startles Mrs. Rachel, who begins listing horrifying stories she's heard about orphans. While Marilla acknowledges the reservations about bringing an outsider to their home, she reassures herself that the adopted Canadian lad wouldn't be too dissimilar to them. She ponders why anyone would consider adopting a girl, as they can't labor on farms.
Matthew is unnerved by the presence of women, save for his sister Marilla and Mrs. Rachel. He travels to the train station to pick up an orphan child, only to find a small red-haired girl and the stationmaster waiting. He confirms with the stationmaster that the orphan, sent by Mrs. Spencer, has been dropped off. The girl, around eleven, is seated on a pile of shingles with only a carpetbag in her possession. Her attire is unattractive and poorly fitted, but her expressive face speaks of energy and liveliness. As Matthew is about to approach her, she takes the initiative by extending her hand, introducing herself and engaging in non-stop conversation. She shares that she had fantasized about an alternative plan for the night in case Matthew didn't show up. Despite Matthew's confusion over expecting a boy instead of a girl, he decides to bring her to Green Gables and let Marilla break the unfortunate news. Throughout the journey to Green Gables, the girl, Anne, fills the air with her chatter. She expresses her imagination, love for beauty, and self-critique, particularly about her red hair. She admires the natural scenery of Avonlea and describes it as a dream come true, comparing it to the scrawny trees at her orphanage. Despite her enchantment with Avonlea, she feels a connection with the under-grown trees from the orphanage. Upon reaching Green Gables, Anne is overwhelmed with joy, as it surpasses her expectations of a perfect home.
Marilla Cuthbert openly shows her surprise to find a girl, not a boy, sent from the orphanage. In the ensuing conversation about the error, Anne comes to the awful realization that she's unwanted, leading her to sob uncontrollably, lamenting, "Nobody ever did want me. I might have known it was all too beautiful to last." The Cuthberts exchange concerned glances over the crying child. Marilla breaks the emotional upheaval by asking the girl's name. She wishes to be called Cordelia, but upon insistence, reveals her actual name is Anne. She finds it plain and unromantic, but she appreciates the distinctiveness of the "e" at the end. Marilla, unimpressed, brushes off Anne's thoughts about her name's spelling. The distraught Anne, preoccupied with her precarious situation, refuses dinner and confesses she's "in the depths of despair." When asked if Marilla ever felt this way, she replies she hasn't and can't picture it. That night, Anne cries herself to sleep in a bare room, wearing her meager orphanage nightdress. Downstairs, Marilla discusses with Matthew the problem of what to do with the unexpected girl. To Marilla's shock, Matthew, usually quiet, suggests they could keep her. Challenged by Marilla, who wonders what use a girl could be on a farm, Matthew simply states, "We might be some good to her."
Awakening in her new environment, Anne's initial confusion gives way to joy then sorrow as she recalls that Matthew and Marilla may not want her to stay. Her mood lifts at the sight of the sun and a blooming cherry tree, but Marilla quickly pulls her back to reality with a stern order to dress. Anne, used to strict discipline, isn't put off by Marilla’s sharpness or her criticism about Anne's talkativeness. Anne's chirpy spirit returns at breakfast, as she expresses delight at it being morning, which she claims gives "so much scope for imagination." Marilla, disapproving of Anne's chatter, quiets her. The silence that follows makes Marilla uneasy. When Anne declines to play outside after breakfast, explaining it will only make her love Green Gables more and hence hurt more when she has to leave, Marilla becomes even more unsettled. While Anne busies herself with the indoor plants, Marilla grapples with her feelings. She knows Matthew wants to keep Anne and wishes he'd express his opinion so she could counter his arguments. In the afternoon, Marilla takes Anne to Mrs. Spencer to resolve the mix-up. As they set off, Matthew reveals he's hired a farmhand, implying they could keep Anne. Marilla, angered, doesn't respond.
Anne is resolute about appreciating the journey back to Mrs. Spencer's orphanage. Sensing Anne's need to converse, Marilla opts to ask about her background. Even though Anne would rather share her imagined self, she agrees to talk about her real-life experiences. She was the daughter of teachers, Walter and Bertha Shirley, who passed away from fever when she was still an infant. Mrs. Thomas then adopted her, a destitute lady with an alcoholic husband, primarily to aid with her own children. Upon Mr. Thomas's death eight years later, Anne was handed over to another impoverished woman, Mrs. Hammond, and was put to work caring for her three pairs of twins. After Mr. Hammond's death two years later, Anne was placed in an orphanage for four months. Despite her minimal schooling, she made up for it by being an avid reader. When Marilla hears about Anne's harsh past, she feels sympathetic towards her. However, Anne rejects any self-pity, choosing to believe her foster mothers had good intentions, despite their lack of kindness at times. It's then that Marilla contemplates the idea of keeping Anne. Marilla thinks Anne has ladylike qualities and believes her ill habits could be corrected with proper training.
At Mrs. Spencer’s orphanage, Marilla and Anne clear up the mix-up. Mrs. Spencer suggests that their mishap may turn out to be a blessing, as Mrs. Peter Blewett is seeking a girl to help manage her rowdy kids. This would free the Cuthberts to take the boy they initially wished for. However, Marilla feels uneasy, seeing as Mrs. Blewett has a reputation for being mean and tightfisted, and treating her help poorly. She is reluctant to leave Anne with her. When Mrs. Blewett stops by, Anne is scared of her. Marilla decides to bring Anne back to Green Gables and mull over the situation. Once back, she shares with Matthew her readiness to have Anne stay, as long as he lets her handle Anne's upbringing. The idea of raising a girl makes her nervous, but she assures Matthew, “Perhaps an old maid doesn’t know much about bringing up a child, but I guess she knows more than an old bachelor.” Matthew, overjoyed with Marilla’s choice, asks her to be fair and gentle with Anne. Marilla understands she's taking on a big task. She's amazed that she's considering this and more so that Matthew, who is typically uncomfortable around women, is so insistent on retaining Anne. She chooses to tell Anne about their decision the next day.
Marilla, at bedtime, tries to instill some discipline and religious principles in Anne. She reprimands her for leaving her clothes scattered and not saying her prayers. Anne, unfamiliar with praying but willing to learn, talks about her understanding of God. She shared that the orphanage described God as “infinite, eternal, and unchangeable," which she found intriguing. However, she admits to disliking God, because Mrs. Thomas said He gave her red hair intentionally. Even with her resentment towards God, Anne wishes to please Marilla. Appalled that she’s been housing a non-believer, Marilla tries teaching Anne the simple prayer “Now I lay me down to sleep." However, she soon realizes this prayer is unsuitable for Anne, given her difficult past. Instead, Marilla allows Anne to say her own prayer. Anne offers an imaginative prayer, thanking God for things like her geranium Bonny and the White Way of Delight, her name for Avonlea’s main road. She also prays for Green Gables to be her home and that she may grow up to be beautiful. Her prayer ends with, “Yours respectfully, Anne Shirley.” Marilla decides to send Anne to Sunday school once she can provide her with suitable clothes.
In the afternoon, Anne pleads with Marilla to allow her to stay at Green Gables. Marilla tells her to clean the dishcloth before granting her permission to stay. Overwhelmed with joy, Anne tears up and promises to be both obedient and good, traits she believes Marilla values the most. She asks Marilla if she can call her "Aunt Marilla" to feel a sense of family, but Marilla insists she call her Marilla. Worried Anne might repeat her previous mishap with prayer, Marilla tells her to memorize the Lord’s Prayer. Anne goes to another room to fetch a copy of the prayer and doesn't come back for a while. Marilla finds her captivated by a painting of “Christ Blessing Little Children”, imagining herself as a neglected girl yearning for Christ's blessing. Marilla scolds her for being disrespectful, taking Anne by surprise. While learning the Lord's Prayer at the table, Anne inquires about a possible best friend in Avonlea. Marilla mentions a girl named Diana Barry. Anne asks about Diana’s hair color, as she can't bear a red-haired friend, then shares stories of her past imaginary friends. Exhausted by Anne's chatter, Marilla sends her to her room where she daydreams. Anne tries to envision herself as Lady Cordelia Fitzgerald but ends up settling for her new name: Anne of Green Gables.
A fortnight after welcoming Anne into her home, Marilla has a visit from Mrs. Rachel Lynde who has come to appraise the new addition. Marilla confesses a growing fondness for Anne to Mrs. Rachel, noting the positive changes she has brought to the household. Mrs. Rachel, however, disapproves of the idea of Marilla, an unmarried woman, raising a child. Upon encountering Anne, Mrs. Rachel criticizes the girl's thinness, plain looks, and red hair. This incites a fiery response from Anne who retorts by insulting Mrs. Rachel's appearance and lack of imagination, before storming off to her room in anger. Mrs. Rachel, feeling insulted, suggests that Marilla should discipline Anne physically and threatens to cease her visits to Green Gables if she is to face such disrespect. Surprising herself, Marilla defends Anne's outburst and accuses Mrs. Rachel of being tactless. Marilla shows understanding towards Anne's feelings as she recalls a childhood incident when an older lady called her plain, a remark that left a lasting hurt. She is unfazed by Anne's temper and finds Mrs. Rachel's condescension amusing. Upon finding Anne crying yet unyielding in her room, Marilla decides to correct Anne's behavior by asking her to apologize to Mrs. Rachel. Despite the punishment, Anne maintains her stance, refusing to express regret for something she feels was justified.
Anne spends the whole day in her room, refusing to eat much of the food brought by Marilla. Worried, Matthew waits for Marilla to leave before visiting Anne's room, a place he hasn't been in four years. He suggests to Anne that she should ask Mrs. Rachel for forgiveness as Marilla isn't likely to revoke her punishment. Although Anne finds the idea of apologizing humiliating, she agrees to visit Mrs. Rachel to please Matthew. Matthew, surprised by the success of his persuasion, quickly leaves to avoid being caught by Marilla. Anne informs Marilla of her decision to apologize and together, they set off for Mrs. Rachel's house. Initially, Anne's demeanor displays her embarrassment, but her mood seems to improve as they get closer to their destination. Once at Mrs. Rachel's house, Anne dramatically begs for forgiveness, throwing herself at Mrs. Rachel's feet. Mrs. Rachel kindly accepts Anne's apology and tries to make amends for her own insensitivity by assuring Anne that her hair may darken as she matures. Despite Anne's unusual behavior, Mrs. Rachel admits to Marilla that she has taken a liking to the girl. Marilla, however, is uncomfortable with how theatric Anne made her apology and fears her punishment may have misfired. Even so, she finds it strange to reprimand Anne for apologizing too well. On their way back, Anne happily expresses her contentment to Marilla about returning to a place that feels like home. This sentiment, expressed through a gentle touch, triggers an unfamiliar feeling of affection in Marilla. But she quickly tries to regain her composure, choosing instead to lecture Anne about good behavior.
Marilla reveals three new dresses that she's prepared for Anne, none of which match Anne's desired style of puffed sleeves and all generally unattractive. However, Anne fancies them up in her mind to resemble the stunning gowns worn by other girls. The following day, Anne attends church services and Sunday school by herself, donning one of her fresh dresses. Enroute, she garnishes her simple hat with a bunch of flowers she picks, an unusual embellishment that earns the ridicule of other Avonlea church attendees. After the service, Anne confides to Marilla her lack of enthusiasm about the sermon, the prayer and the dull questions asked by the Sunday school teacher. She kept herself occupied during the dreary morning by daydreaming while gazing out the window. Marilla reprimands Anne for not focusing during church, yet secretly concurs with her sentiments. She shares similar opinions about the uninspiring church service, the minister, Mr. Bentley, and the Sunday school teacher, Mr. Bell, though she never verbalizes her critique.
Marilla's friend, Mrs. Rachel, informs her that Anne had flowers in her church hat, turning herself into a spectacle. Anne is upset when she is scolded by Marilla, as she saw nothing wrong with the beautiful flowers, especially since other girls had faux flowers on their hats. Her spirits lift when she finds out they're going to the Barrys. Anne has always desired to be close friends with Diana Barry and is now anxious about the visit. Marilla tells her to avoid saying anything shocking and not to use complex language around Mrs. Barry, who is known for being stern. At the Barrys, Anne and Diana head to the garden to play, and they instantly form a bond. Anne's initial words to Diana are a sincere offer of friendship, and she comes up with a pledge of everlasting loyalty for them to pledge. As they head back to Green Gables, Anne excitedly tells Marilla she has found a like-minded individual in Diana, who is chubby, attractive, and has black hair. When Matthew presents Anne with chocolates he purchased for her, she asks to share them with Diana. She believes sharing her chocolates with her new friend will make her enjoy them more. Marilla admires Anne's generous nature and tells Matthew she can't envision life without Anne.
Marilla is irritated when she spots Anne chatting with Matthew instead of doing her tasks. Her annoyance lessens as Anne excitedly shares news of an upcoming Sunday school picnic. Eager to experience her first taste of ice cream at the event, Anne is thrilled when Marilla agrees she can attend and will be baking a basket of food for her. Anne's excitement prompts her to hug and kiss Marilla, who tries to conceal her delight by reminding Anne to be more obedient. Anne continues to gush about her fun times with Diana and their makeshift playhouse in the woods. Marilla attempts to temper Anne's anticipation for the picnic, but Anne prefers to look forward to events, even at the risk of disappointment. She dismisses the words of ladies like Mrs. Rachel who advise, “Blessed are they who expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed.” She cites the time she was let down when a real diamond didn't meet her colorful imagination. Anne and Marilla both appreciate amethysts, and Marilla even has an amethyst brooch, her most cherished item, that she sports to church. Anne admires it so much that she implores Marilla to let her hold it.
Marilla discovers her brooch is missing a couple of days before a planned picnic. She confronts Anne, who admits to trying it on for fun while Marilla was out. Marilla searches her room and concludes that Anne lost the accessory. Despite Anne's insistence that she returned the brooch, Marilla is unconvinced due to its absence and confines Anne to her room until she admits to losing it. On the picnic day, Anne decides to confess. She dramatically says she dropped the brooch into the Lake of Shining Waters while pretending to be Lady Cordelia. Marilla is angry at Anne's lie and lack of regret, forbidding her from attending the picnic. Anne protests this punishment, especially since Marilla said she could leave her room once she confessed, leading to a tantrum. Matthew believes Marilla is being too strict but fails to defend Anne. While doing chores, Marilla stumbles upon her brooch tangled in a black shawl. Realizing her mistake, she apologizes to Anne for wrongly accusing her. She reprimands Anne for confessing to something she didn't do, but acknowledges that she forced Anne to lie. Anne is allowed to attend her picnic and returns home ecstatic, sharing tales of her adventures and the unforgettable taste of ice cream.
Anne and Diana savor their daily journeys to school, traversing roads which Anne has affectionately named Lover’s Lane, Willowmere, and Violet Vale. Despite Diana’s less imaginative nature, Anne cherishes their friendship. Marilla's concerns about Anne's eccentricities causing problems at school prove unfounded as Anne proves to be a bright student who quickly integrates. She becomes part of the girls' lunchtime potluck and gift exchange culture, although she has no interest in boys or flirting. Her life broadens from the tranquility of Green Gables to the bustling, gossip-filled Avonlea schoolroom. Conversations with Marilla shift from nature to school matters. Mr. Phillips, the teacher, displays an indifferent attitude towards discipline, often flirting with Prissy Andrews, the eldest student, instead of monitoring his class. Despite her limited prior education, Anne's intelligence quickly shines bright in the class. She takes pride in her smarts, even though she admits she'd prefer to be beautiful. Diana warns Anne not to become complacent about being the top student as Gilbert Blythe, the most attractive and intelligent boy, would soon return to school. Anne finds Gilbert good-looking but shows no interest in him. Gilbert, intrigued, calls her "Carrots" and pulls her braid to get her attention. This sparks Anne's temper, leading to a heated confrontation where she breaks a slate over his head. Mr. Phillips, enmeshed in his flirtation with Prissy, disregards Gilbert's effort to accept the blame, ignores Anne's explanation, and punishes her by making her stand in front of the class. Gilbert's subsequent attempts at apology are met with cold shoulders. One day, after Anne and several boys arrive late from lunch, Mr. Phillips uses the opportunity to make an example and penalizes Anne by seating her next to Gilbert, a situation Anne finds humiliating. She declares to Diana that she can't bear sitting next to Gilbert and decides not to return to school. Anne tells Marilla that she won't return to school. Marilla, understanding her plight, seeks Mrs. Rachel's guidance and decides to let Anne stay home until she feels ready to go back to school.
On a clear October day, Marilla leaves Anne in charge of the house, permitting her to invite Diana for tea and giving detailed instructions about their menu. The girls, dressed in nearly their best clothes, behave very maturely, asking about each other's wellbeing and families. However, when Anne proposes apple picking, they revert to their usual playful selves. Back in the house for tea, Diana indulges in raspberry cordial, a treat Marilla permitted for their special get-together. Diana even has a second and third glass while Anne shares amusing kitchen mishap stories. She mentions once forgetting to put flour in a cake and another incident where she left plum-pudding sauce uncovered overnight with a cloth she was fantasizing as a veil. The following day, she discovered a drowned mouse in the sauce. While serving the same pudding and sauce to stylish guests, she impulsively blurted out the entire mouse incident causing Marilla great embarrassment. As Anne wraps up her tale, Diana abruptly stands, looking unsteady, and declares she must head home despite Anne's urgings for her to stay. A couple of days later, Anne learns from Mrs. Rachel that Diana wasn't ill but intoxicated. Marilla discerns that Anne confused red currant wine with raspberry cordial, unintentionally getting Diana drunk. Mrs. Barry accuses Anne of deliberately getting Diana drunk. When Marilla tries to explain the misunderstanding to Mrs. Barry, she is met with coldness and sharp accusations. Mrs. Barry forbids Diana from ever speaking to Anne again, leaving Anne in despair over the loss of her friend. She pleads with Mrs. Barry for leniency but to no avail. Anne is heartbroken at the thought of never seeing Diana again.
In the afternoon, Anne notices Diana signalling her. Diana informs Anne that she's still not allowed to play with her, so she's come to bid her goodbye. Their farewell is emotional and theatrical. Diana tearfully confesses her deep love for Anne, who responds, “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 requests a souvenir of Diana's hair. Anne decides to go back to school to distract herself from the sorrow of losing Diana. This way, she can still see Diana despite their restrictions. Her peers welcome her back with presents and treats. The girls present her with plums, bottles, or poems they've copied, while two boys, Charlie Sloane and Gilbert Blythe, give her a slate pencil and an apple. Anne accepts Charlie's gift but deliberately overlooks Gilbert's. In a surprising turn, Anne and Gilbert tie as the top students in class, and their names are written on the board by Mr. Phillips, much to Anne's chagrin.
The Prime Minister of Canada visits Prince Edward Island for a public meeting in Charlottetown, a city thirty miles from Avonlea. Mrs. Rachel, an admirer of politics, attends with her spouse and Marilla. Back home, Anne is occupied with her studies, while Matthew reads the Farmers’ Advocate. Suddenly, Diana enters, distraught because her toddler sister Minnie May has fallen ill with the croup. Diana and the babysitter are clueless about how to handle it. Immediately, Matthew sets off to fetch the doctor, and Anne and Diana hurry to the Barry residence, Orchard Slope. Anne's previous experience of taking care of three pairs of twins who frequently suffered from croup at Mrs. Hammond’s place comes in handy. By the time Matthew and the doctor arrive at three in the morning, Minnie May is soundly sleeping. The doctor later informs Mr. and Mrs. Barry that it was Anne who saved their child's life. Mrs. Barry visits Green Gables the next day to apologize for wrongly accusing Anne of the currant wine mishap. She invites Anne over for tea and endorses the revival of her friendship with Diana. Extremely delighted, Anne feels special during the tea session at the Barrys'.
Anne shares with Marilla that she's been invited to a concert at the Debating Club for Diana's birthday, and a sleepover at the Barrys' afterwards. Even though Anne is thrilled, Marilla initially refuses because she believes that young girls shouldn't attend late-night events. However, Matthew persuades Marilla to change her mind, allowing Anne to attend. On the concert day, Anne and Diana enjoy everything from preparing themselves, to riding the pung sleigh, to hearing poetry recitals and singing at the event. After the show, they head back to the Barrys', change into nightwear, and decide to race to the spare bedroom. They leap onto the bed, only to land on Diana's grumpy aunt, Miss Josephine Barry, who arrived early for her visit. Anne ends up sleeping with toddler Minnie May instead of staying in the spare room, but she goes back to Green Gables the next day feeling content. Later, Mrs. Rachel reveals that there has been chaos at the Barrys' because Aunt Josephine, upset about being awakened abruptly, decided to end her visit prematurely and withdraw her offer to fund Diana's music classes. Anne, feeling responsible for the incident, decides to fix things. She bravely goes to the Barrys' and speaks to Aunt Josephine, who finds Anne's speech amusing. Aunt Josephine agrees to continue funding Diana's music lessons and extend her stay in Avonlea, provided Anne converses with her at the Barrys' and visits her in town.
As spring graces Green Gables, Anne is enamored by the blossoming flowers. She shares her adventures in nature with Marilla, her explorations with school friends often the main topic. When the day marking her arrival at Green Gables comes, she goes to great lengths to ensure her chores are done well. Marilla, nursing a headache, entrusts Anne with the household. In the evening, Marilla sends her to Mrs. Barry to acquire a pattern for an apron. Anne requests postponing the errand to the morning as she and her friend Diana have been pretending the woods are spooky. However, Marilla, aiming to curb Anne's imagination, insists she go. A terrified Anne returns from the Barrys' house panting and shaking after her run.
Anne comes home crying on the final day of June. Her unpopular schoolteacher, Mr. Phillips, is stepping down and his parting words have upset all the girls. The elderly minister, Mr. Bentley, is also retiring. The Avonlea church community selects a young man, Mr. Allan, as the new minister. Mr. Allan and his attractive young wife are warmly received. Anne is especially fond of Mrs. Allan who encourages her Sunday school students to be curious and inquisitive. Marilla organizes a tea party for the Allans and puts in a lot of effort to prepare a lavish meal. She lets Anne bake a cake for the occasion. Despite her baking experience, Anne is anxious. She takes pride in the beautifully baked cake and looks forward to presenting it to Mrs. Allan. Mrs. Allan finds the cake unpalatable but consumes it to avoid hurting Anne's feelings. Marilla tries the cake and realizes that Anne mistakenly used liniment instead of vanilla in the recipe, ruining its taste. Anne is humiliated and breaks down in tears. Mrs. Allan consoles her. Anne finds solace in the fact that she never repeats her mistakes and hopes that once she has made all possible mistakes, she won't make any more in the future.
After picking up the mail, Anne is thrilled about an invitation to tea from Mrs. Allan. Marilla clarifies that Mrs. Allan's entire Sunday school class has been invited, but this doesn't deter Anne's excitement. Marilla, however, worries that Anne's eagerness might lead to disappointment if things don't go as planned. Anne is anxious about possibly offending Mrs. Allan due to poor manners. Marilla advises her not to overthink her actions, but rather to consider what would make Mrs. Allan happy. Following the tea, Anne shares her wonderful experience at Mrs. Allan's house and reveals her aspiration to become a minister's wife because of her admiration for Mrs. Allan. She also informs Marilla about the new teacher, Miss Muriel Stacy, at the school, as told by Mrs. Rachel.
As summer concludes, Diana Barry hosts a gathering for their Sunday school class girls at her home. Growing weary of their customary pastimes, the girls opt for bolder pursuits, daring each other to perform feats like hopping on one foot around the yard or tree climbing. Josie Pye, a mischievous girl not favored by Diana and Anne, challenges Anne to walk the Barry's kitchen roof ridgepole. Despite Diana's pleas, Anne, driven by her pride, takes on the dare and ascends to the rooftop. However, she loses her footing after a few steps, tumbles down, and fractures her ankle, causing a commotion among the girls. Upon witnessing Mr. Barry carrying Anne back to Green Gables, Marilla is filled with fear, contemplating the worst. It is at this moment that she recognizes her deep attachment to Anne. As Anne recuperates in bed for close to two months, she is delighted to learn that she has earned the affection of the Avonlea community, as evidenced by their visits. Additionally, her friends share stories about their new teacher, Miss Stacy, who impresses everyone with her stylish appearance and innovative teaching methods, such as recitations, nature treks, and physical workouts. Anne feels that she will get along well with her new teacher.
Anne is thrilled to be back at school in October, particularly because of her new teacher. Her academic and personal growth is evident under Miss Stacy's unconventional teaching methods. However, Mrs. Rachel and Marilla criticize these methods, which involve using tree-top birds' nests in lessons and guiding the kids in daily workouts. In November, Miss Stacy reveals plans for a Christmas concert, intended to raise funds for a Canadian flag at the school. Anne, more thrilled than her peers, eagerly anticipates performing her two recitations. Marilla dismisses the concert as "foolishness," leading Anne to discuss it with Matthew. He expresses relief at not being responsible for raising Anne, as his non-involvement lets him indulge her.
On a chilly December night, Matthew stumbles upon Anne and her friends practicing "The Fairy Queen" for a Christmas show. Feeling awkward around the young girls, he silently watches from a corner. He notices Anne's plain attire compared to her friends and decides she needs a stylish dress. Despite his shyness, Matthew ventures to Carmody to find a dress with puffed sleeves. He chooses Samuel Lawson’s store, believing it won't have a female cashier. Discomforted when he finds a female cashier, Miss Lucilla Harris, he hastily buys twenty pounds of brown sugar and a garden rake, too nervous to ask her about dresses. Later, Matthew seeks Mrs. Rachel's assistance in picking out a fashionable fabric for Anne's dress. Mrs. Rachel, who always wondered why Marilla dressed Anne so simply, happily helps modernize Anne's wardrobe. On Christmas Day, Matthew presents the puffed-sleeved dress. Diana gifts Anne delicate slippers from Aunt Josephine, enhancing her Christmas joy. Matthew and Marilla attend their first Christmas concert in two decades, watching Anne shine on stage in her new attire. Both Cuthberts are overwhelmed with joy. Matthew openly expresses his pride, while Marilla keeps her compliments to herself.
Coming off the high of the Christmas concert, the Avonlea pupils fall back into their everyday routines. Anne, nearly thirteen, decides to better herself by following Mrs. Allan's example, avoiding unkind comments, and striving to do good deeds. The students receive two writing tasks for school: a fictional story and a composition describing a winter walk. Marilla disapproves of the assignments as they encourage imagination rather than factual learning. However, Anne is thrilled and quickly finishes her original tale. Diana complains about her lack of creativity, prompting Anne to suggest they start a storytelling club. This would not only foster Diana's imagination but also allow Anne to work on her writing skills. Eventually, their friends Jane Andrews and Ruby Gillis also join the club, and they spend their time crafting dramatic and romantic narratives.
Marilla, feeling unexpectedly cheerful, returns home one late April evening, picturing a comforting cup of tea and a warm fire waiting for her at Green Gables. She is surprised to find an empty table and no sign of Anne. Annoyed at the disobedience, she informs Matthew about Anne's apparent disregard for her instructions to stay home and cook. Her annoyance morphs into worry when Anne remains missing even at supper time. Searching for her, Marilla discovers Anne in her room, lamenting about her hideousness. Anne's hair, once a vibrant red, is now a disastrous green; a result of her using a hair dye that a peddler promised would darken her locks. Marilla is left with no choice but to cut Anne's hair short, which only deepens her despair. Initially, Anne mourns her appearance but eventually chooses to face her unpleasant reflection as a reminder of the consequences of vanity.
Having taken inspiration from a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson, Anne, Ruby, Jane, and Diana decide to reenact a scene where a character, Elaine's corpse is floated down a river on a barge. Although Anne doesn't bear a resemblance to golden-haired Elaine, she agrees to play the part using Mr. Barry's boat, since the rest of the girls are unwilling to float down the pond alone. They say their romantic goodbyes and send Anne's still body down the water. Initially, Anne enjoys the romanticism of the situation, but when she feels water seeping into the boat, she realizes there's a leak. However, she stays composed, prays for the boat to drift towards a bridge pile where she can cling on and wait for assistance. The others see the sinking boat and believing Anne has drowned, they panic and run to find help. But Anne manages to hang on to a bridge pile, waiting for rescue. Just as Anne feels she can't hang on any longer, her foe Gilbert Blythe arrives to save her. Once he's got her to safety, he tries to extend an olive branch by apologizing for his earlier 'Carrots' insult and complimenting her now auburn hair. For a moment, Anne contemplates accepting his friendly gesture, but the 'Carrots' incident embarrassment still lingers and she vehemently refuses his friendship, causing Gilbert to angrily leave. Back on land, Diana and Jane fail to find any adult help and are feeling desperate, while Ruby, prone to overdramatics, is back at the Barry house mourning. Upon Diana and Jane's return to the pond and finding Anne safe, they are elated and find the rescue by Gilbert quite romantic. However, Anne demands Jane to never use the word 'romantic' in her presence again.
During a pleasant September evening, Anne encounters Diana while tending to the cows. Diana reveals their invitation from Aunt Josephine to an exhibition in Charlottetown, similar to a fair. They visit Beechwood, Aunt Josephine's lavish estate, and enjoy a scenic drive there. The mansion's opulent décor includes silk curtains, velvet carpets, and a dedicated guest room. But Anne finds the extravagance she had imagined and desired rather disappointing and estranging in reality. Speaking to Marilla later, she muses that growing up involves understanding that things you craved as a child lose their charm when you finally get them. The exhibition they attend is thrilling, showcasing knitted lace, flora, veggies, and horse races. Post the event, Anne expresses her worry about readjusting to everyday life. Aunt Josephine suggests a late-night ice cream treat at an upscale city restaurant. This outing embodies the buzz of urban life for Anne. After her return to Green Gables, Anne concludes she prefers her peaceful sleep there over a city's bustling nightlife.
Marilla battles with frequent, severe eye aches one evening, watching Anne with a tenderness she'd never dare to display openly. Anne remains unaware of Marilla's deep affection. Marilla informs Anne about Miss Stacy's visit, leading Anne to confess her recent misconduct of smuggling a novel into class. Anne shares her and Diana's contemplation of becoming spinsters and cohabiting. She relates Miss Stacy's advice to the girls about developing solid character traits while young as these will define their adulthood. Marilla reveals Miss Stacy's invitation for Anne to be part of an advanced study group, preparing for the Queen’s Academy entrance exam. Marilla encourages Anne to consider teaching as a profession, emphasizing the importance of women being self-reliant. Initially, Anne is unsure due to potential financial strain on the Cuthberts, but Marilla reassures her about prioritizing her education, which delights Anne. Joining Anne in the advanced class are Gilbert Blythe, Ruby Gillis, Jane Andrews, Josie Pye, Charlie Sloane, and Moody Spurgeon MacPherson. They diligently study daily, but their commitment dwindles with the arrival of spring as the regular students finish school earlier. This is the first time Anne and Diana are separated since Minnie May's illness, as Diana won't be attending college. Gilbert and Anne's rivalry resurfaces as Gilbert opts to disregard Anne as she does him. While this troubles Anne, she remains indifferent outwardly. She acknowledges her anger towards Gilbert has faded and laments the strain between them. The school year concludes with Anne storing away her books, eager to enjoy her final childhood summer. When Mrs. Rachel visits Green Gables, Marilla discloses Matthew's recurring heart issues - a new revelation. Marilla expresses delight over Anne's maturity and dependability. Mrs. Rachel, who initially had doubts, concurs. She notes Anne's dramatic improvements, particularly her unique beauty, although she lacks Diana’s complexion and Ruby’s attractiveness.
Following a leisurely summer break, Anne returns to her studies with renewed enthusiasm. Now fifteen, she participates in various social activities alongside fellow Avonlea students. Anne, growing taller than Marilla and sporting a more serious gaze, talks less and shares a different perspective with Marilla, stating “it’s nicer to think dear, pretty thoughts and keep them in one’s heart”. Marilla, somewhat saddened by this change, worries about the impending silence of Green Gables when Anne leaves for college the next year. Miss Stacy remains instrumental in Anne's education, particularly her writing development. Anne critically approaches her writing, transitioning from a romantic to a realistic style. As the entrance exam for Queen’s Academy approaches, all students, including Anne, are fraught with anxiety, with Anne suffering from nightmares about potential failure.
June sees the conclusion of Anne's education at Avonlea School and Miss Stacy's term as her teacher. As Anne and Diana part ways, their tears speak volumes about their bond as fellow students. Despite anxiety about her impending entrance exam, Anne chooses to heed Miss Stacy's counsel to refrain from last-minute studying. Post the initial exam day, Anne pens a letter to Diana from Charlottetown, sharing the collective apprehension and likening her dread to the time she sought Marilla's permission to remain at Green Gables. Coming back to Avonlea, Anne's reunion with Diana suggests a long separation. The next three weeks are filled with suspense as Anne awaits her exam results. Despite a gut feeling that she has passed, she states her preference for failing over losing to Gilbert, her competitor. The wait ends with the newspaper announcing that Anne and Gilbert are joint toppers across the island, and all Avonlea students have passed. Anne's achievement brings immense joy to Matthew, Marilla, Mrs. Rachel, and Diana.
Assisted by her fashion-savvy friend Diana, Anne prepares for a performance at the high-end White Sands Hotel. Diana suggests a white organdy dress to compliment Anne's slender frame and string of pearls gifted by Matthew. Anne, usually confident in public speaking, is unfazed until she steps into the hotel dressing room filled with sophisticated city women. Suddenly, her simple attire and pearls, which seemed beautiful at Green Gables, appear dull compared to the elaborate silks, laces, and diamonds worn by other ladies. Onstage, Anne is seated beside a scrutinizing stout lady and a white lace-clad girl who openly mocks rural attendees. Anne is overwhelmed by the wealth and refinement around her and is struck by stage fright. She contemplates fleeing the stage but when she spots Gilbert in the crowd, the fear of embarrassing herself in front of him encourages her to continue. Her recitation is so impressive that it wins over even the mocking girl. After her performance, the stout lady, revealed as an American millionaire's wife, introduces Anne to everyone, and she is showered with praise. On their way back home, Diana shares with Anne that a wealthy American expressed interest in painting her, particularly noting her hair and face. Later, as Jane Andrews marvels at the displayed wealth, Anne responds by expressing contentment with her imagination and Matthew's pearl gift, saying that she feels rich in her own right.
As Anne gets ready to leave for Queen's Academy, the whole of Green Gables is involved in the preparations. Marilla steps out of her comfort zone in fashion for Anne, buying her the material for an extravagant evening gown. When Anne puts on the dress and recites a poem, Marilla cannot help but cry, which Anne initially takes as a reaction to her poem. However, she soon understands that Marilla's tears are due to her impending departure. Anne reassures Marilla that, despite growing up, she will remain the same, telling her, “It won’t make a bit of difference where I go or how much I change outwardly; at heart I will always be your little Anne.” Emotional, they share a hug, and Matthew believes it was divine intervention, not mere chance, that brought Anne to them. Anne's first day at Queen's Academy is made slightly better by the presence of Gilbert in the advanced class. They don't interact, but he serves as a reminder of the competition that has driven her for years. Amidst unfamiliar faces in the classroom, Anne feels alone and homesick in her boardinghouse room. She is about to succumb to her tears when Josie Pye appears, a familiar face that Anne is relieved to see despite not being fond of her. Subsequent visits from Jane and Ruby bring comfort and shared tears. The news of the Avery Scholarship, revealed by Josie, stimulates Anne's ambition. It offers funding to the top English student for a four-year college after Queen's Academy, and Anne instantly envisions Matthew's delight if she were to earn this degree.
Anne’s longing for home subsides as she adjusts to her studies at Queen’s Academy. As the school year approaches its middle, weekends are no longer spent visiting Avonlea, instead, they are used to prepare for the upcoming spring exams. Anne's competitive spirit towards Gilbert seems to be lessening, even though she still relishes the challenge of outperforming him in academics. She no longer wishes to outdo him solely for the sake of his embarrassment. Instead, she secretly hopes for their friendship. Seeing Gilbert always in the company of Ruby Gillis, Anne contemplates what he finds attractive in Ruby, who lacks the drive and thoughtfulness that both she and Gilbert possess. Anne's social circle broadens as she becomes acquainted with the other girls in her class. Her bond with Aunt Josephine remains strong. As the term concludes, Anne doesn’t succumb to the anxiety of exams like her classmates. Instead, she takes pleasure in the blossoming beauty of spring, letting go of the academic stress.
The day of the exam results culminates in a joyous uproar as Anne is declared the winner of the Avery Scholarship and Gilbert Blythe receives the Gold Medal. Overwhelmed by the tidal wave of congratulations, Anne, along with a very proud Matthew and Marilla, bask in her success. Post the ceremony at Queen’s Academy, Anne heads back to the comfort of Green Gables, taking immense pleasure in the familiar surroundings and Diana's company. She is set to join Redmond College to further her studies in the fall, while her friends, Jane and Ruby, aim to pursue teaching careers. Diana informs Anne that Gilbert too will be teaching, given his father's financial constraints which prevent him from attending Redmond, making Anne unhappy. Back at Green Gables, Anne and Marilla ponder over the precarious state of Abbey Bank, the conventional depository of the Cuthbert's savings. Amid the circulating rumors of the bank’s instability, Marilla had voiced her concerns to Matthew, who reassured her of the bank's strength. Meanwhile, Anne observes the declining health of Marilla and Matthew. Marilla suffers from debilitating headaches and worsening eyesight impairing her ability to read and sew, while Matthew wrestles with heart issues, finding it challenging to comply with the doctor’s advice of taking more rest.
Marilla notices Matthew's somber expression just before he collapses at Green Gables' entrance. Despite Marilla and Anne's attempts to revive him, Matthew dies immediately from a heart attack triggered by the shock of learning about the failure of Abbey Bank, where all their savings were kept. Matthew's death places him in the limelight of Avonlea as their friends lend a helping hand to Marilla and Anne. Marilla is overtaken by grief, while Anne initially struggles to cry, feeling only a numbing inner pain. In the silence of the night, Marilla hears Anne's weeping and comforts her, expressing her deep love for Anne despite her usually harsh demeanor. As time softens the pain of Matthew's loss, Anne starts feeling pleasure in the companionship of her friends and the life at Green Gables. She confides in Mrs. Allan about her guilt of being happy in the wake of Matthew's death. Mrs. Allan reassures her that Matthew would have wanted her to find joy. She also predicts that Marilla will struggle with loneliness come autumn. At Green Gables, Marilla and Anne share memories of Anne's childhood antics, during which Marilla mentions how mature Gilbert Blythe appeared at church. She then discloses her past romance with Gilbert’s father, John Blythe. A stubborn argument led to their separation and Marilla admits regretting her inability to forgive him.
Marilla visits an eye specialist in town and returns with upsetting news: she has to stop reading, sewing, and crying to prevent herself from going blind. That evening, Anne thinks about everything that has occurred since coming back from Queen’s Academy. She resolves to stay at Green Gables to take care of Marilla, declining the Avery Scholarship. Once she makes her decision, she feels reassured by her choice. A few days pass and Anne discovers that Marilla is thinking of selling Green Gables because she won't be able to look after it by herself. Anne promises Marilla that she will remain at Green Gables and work as a teacher at Carmody school, as the Avonlea school position has been given to Gilbert. Later, Mrs. Rachel tells her that Gilbert has requested the Avonlea job be given to Anne, allowing her to stay close to Marilla. This requires Gilbert to teach at White Sands and pay for his accommodation. Anne is overjoyed as this means she can stay at home, support Marilla, and see Diana regularly. When she sees Gilbert later, she breaks their usual silence to express her gratitude for his kindness. She offers her hand, which he takes eagerly, signalling the start of the strong friendship they both desired.