Ann of Green Gables : Chapters 35-36
Chapter 35, pp. 258-262
Anne is able to go home each Friday on the train with the other Avonlea students at Queen’s, which helps her overcome her homesickness. With great interest, she and the others note that Gilbert seems to be courting Ruby, although they do not think she is right for him. Anne imagines that if she and Gilbert were friends, their conversations would be heady and satisfying; she cannot imagine how Ruby, who is more interested in boys than education, can intellectually meet or satisfy someone like Gilbert.
After Christmas, the students no longer go home and must buckle down in their studies. As Anne continues to compete with Gilbert in classes, she finds that the fire has gone out of their rivalry; she no longer wants to beat him but merely to do her best.
Finally, spring arrives, and with it come final exams. Ruby and Jane are beside themselves with anxiety, while Josie is unconcerned; she has money to come back and try again next year. She meanly tells Anne that it is rumored that someone other than she will win the Avery Scholarship.
Anne, who knows she has done well enough to pass for certain, looks out the window, imagining spring at Green Gables. She is comforted by her thoughts that “all the Beyond was hers with its possibilities lurking rosily in the oncoming years. . . .”
As Anne leaves childhood, she also leaves behind childish opinions and grudges. With mature eyes, she is beginning to see Gilbert as a young man she might be friends with—perhaps more. But her pride prevents her from revealing her change of heart to him.
Although Anne is ambitious about going to college and beyond, Green Gables remains her touchstone.
Chapter 36, pp.263-268
On her last day at Queen’s, Anne anticipates the results of exams nervously. She asks Jane to look at the posted list for her and come tell her what it says. Instead, as the girls approach, a crowd is crying that Gilbert has won the gold medal. Anne immediately feels she has failed and Matthew will be disappointed in her. Then, however, the crowd cheers her: she has won the Avery Scholarship. Anne graduates, knowing she can now go to college and obtain her bachelor’s degree in English.
She returns to Green Gables after commencement with Matthew and Marilla, tired but joyful to be home. She reunites with Diana, who tells her that Gilbert will not be going to Redmond; his father cannot afford to send him. Anne is dismayed because she always imagined their rivalry would continue, even at Redmond.
The next morning, Anne observes that Matthew looks unwell, and Marilla informs her that his heart has gotten worse. She, too, is suffering more trouble with her eyes and must see a specialist in June. Anne assures her that she will help out now that she is home. She requests one day in which to visit all her old haunts, then she will take over a lot of the chores for Marilla.
Before Anne heads out, Marilla asks if she has heard rumors that the Abbey Bank is in trouble. Mrs. Lynde had been talking about it, and Marilla is worried because all of the Cuthberts’ money is in that bank. Other people, however, have assured her that the bank is stable.
Anne takes her day of pleasure, and in the evening she walks with Matthew as he brings the cows in. She apologizes for not being the boy he needed all those years ago to help out on the farm, but Matthew assures her “‘Well now, I guess it wasn’t a boy that took the Avery scholarship, was it? It was a girl—my girl—my girl that I’m proud of.’”
In her room that night, looking out on the apple tree just outside, Anne enjoys the peace and beauty of the evening, but “it was the last night before sorrow touched her life; and no life is ever quite the same again when once that cold, sanctifying touch has been laid upon it.”
Much foreshadowing takes place in this chapter. The Green Gables that Anne returns to is not the idyllic childhood home she left; it is still beautiful, but it is not a place she can see only through romantic eyes, as she once did. Reality is intruding, and Anne must meet that reality with adult eyes. Matthew and Marilla are getting old, and trouble is coming.
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