The four best scenes in Anne of Green Gables

Posted on November 30, 2015

Anne of Green Gables by LM MontgomeryThe lovely Lucy Maud Montgomery, creator of Anne of Green Gables (Anne with an e, natch) would have been 141 today. Let's raise a tumbler of raspberry cordial – which is in fact actually homemade currant wine – to Ms M and all in Avonlea.

The best bits in Anne of Green Gables:

1. Anne belting Gilbert Blythe...

...with her slate on her first day of school. when he tweaked her red hair and called her 'Carrots':

"You mean, hateful boy!" she exclaimed passionately. "How dare you!"

And then--thwack! Anne had brought her slate down on Gilbert's head and cracked it--slate not head--clear across.

Avonlea school always enjoyed a scene. This was an especially enjoyable one. Everybody said "Oh" in horrified delight. Diana gasped. Ruby Gillis, who was inclined to be hysterical, began to cry. Tommy Sloane let his team of crickets escape him altogether while he stared open-mouthed at the tableau.

As anyone who's read Anne of Green Gables will know, Anne is Very Touchy about her red hair (see [2] and [3]).

And as anyone of a female persuasion who's ever shared a classroom with a boy will know, many of that persuasion operate on the belief that any attention is better than none. This is not a true belief.

2. Anne's apology to Mrs Lynde...

...after losing the rag when Mrs L calls her 'homely' and 'skinny' and refers to the very red redness of Anne's hair. In front of her. Mrs Lynde is the sort-of pal of Marilla, with whom Anne desperately wants to live at Green Gables with despite not being a boy, and one would therefore assume that Anne would behave in as endearing and polite a manner as possible when meeting her for the first time.

She does not:

"How dare you say such things about me?" she repeated vehemently. "How would you like to have such things said about you? How would you like to be told that you are fat and clumsy and probably hadn't a spark of imagination in you? I don't care if I do hurt your feelings by saying so! I hope I hurt them. You have hurt mine worse than they were ever hurt before even by Mrs. Thomas' intoxicated husband. And I'll NEVER forgive you for it, never, never!"

Stamp! Stamp!

"Did anybody ever see such a temper!" exclaimed the horrified Mrs. Rachel.

Hurrah for Anne, but even more so when she makes her contrite apology:

"It was very wicked of me to fly into a temper because you told me the truth. It WAS the truth; every word you said was true. My hair is red and I'm freckled and skinny and ugly. What I said to you was true, too, but I shouldn't have said it."


3. Anne dying her hair green

Gilbert Blythe, Anne of Green Gables movie

It always seems like a good idea at the time, those homemade hairdressing ideas that turn out to be disastrous/carried out after wine.

Lopping off a lock that's been getting in your face for, like, years, taking the thinning scissors to the lot with reckless abandon, or deciding to 'tidy up' a shaved bit at the side and ending up taking a razor to it and making one side of one's head bald. The week of starting a new job. 

Have never dyed my hair green though:

"Anne Shirley, what have you done to your hair? Why, it's GREEN!"

Green it might be called, if it were any earthly color--a queer, dull, bronzy green, with streaks here and there of the original red to heighten the ghastly effect. Never in all her life had Marilla seen anything so grotesque as Anne's hair at that moment.

"Yes, it's green," moaned Anne. "I thought nothing could be as bad as red hair. But now I know it's ten times worse to have green hair. Oh, Marilla, you little know how utterly wretched I am."

4. Anne saving the day

After Anne inadvertently gets Diana drunk (another favourite scene), Diana's mother Mrs Barry refuses to allow the girls to remain friends, convinced that Anne got Diana steaming on purpose. Misery ensues, until one night when Diana flees down to Green Gables to ask for Anne's help as her sister Minnie May has croup.

As the doctor tells a contrite Mrs Barry after the crisis is averted, 'that little red-headed girl… saved that baby's life.' And so the child hero is vindicated and the grownup made to look a chump – probably a fantasy that's gone through the skull of every eleven year old at some point in the history of the world. 

"Mrs Barry kissed me and cried and said she was so sorry and she could never repay me. I felt fearfully embarrassed, Marilla, but I just said as politely as I could, `I have no hard feelings for you, Mrs. Barry. I assure you once and for all that I did not mean to intoxicate Diana and henceforth I shall cover the past with the mantle of oblivion.' That was a pretty dignified way of speaking wasn't it, Marilla?"

"I felt that I was heaping coals of fire on Mrs. Barry's head."


And then there's Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island, and Anne's House of Dreams… if you haven't yet met Prince Edward Island's chestnut-headed (NOT redheaded) orphan, I have envy. Start here. And the film is here. And never in a million years buy this copy here


Post a comment...

Name (optional)
Email, website or blog (optional)
Comments (no HTML please, just simple text in one paragraph)
Please verify you're human: 8 + 9 =  

All recent posts and archives...

Show/hide all previous posts

Find on Goodreads