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Anne of Green Gables | Study Guide

L. M. Montgomery

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Anne of Green Gables | Chapter 10 : Anne's Apology | Summary



When Anne doesn't appear at breakfast the next morning, Marilla must explain her absence to Matthew, who staunchly takes Anne's side. "It's a good thing Rachel Lynde got a calling down; she's a meddlesome old gossip," but he admits Anne needs to be "punished a little." Anne stays in her room for the whole day, eating almost none of the food Marilla brings up to her. Matthew hovers uneasily in the background. Finally, when Marilla is out doing chores, he slips up to Anne's bedroom. He hasn't visited the second floor of the house in four years.

Timidly Matthew knocks, then peeks in. Anne is looking sadly out of the window, "bravely facing the long years of solitary imprisonment before her." Matthew tells her one way or another she's going to have to apologize: best to be done with it and "smooth it over so to speak." Anne, beginning to feel some remorse, promises to apologize for Matthew's sake. Greatly relieved, Matthew steals away. When Marilla returns, Anne calls her up and announces she's willing to tell Mrs. Lynde she's sorry. Shortly afterward she and Marilla begin the walk to the Lyndes' house. Halfway there a dejected Anne seems to take heart. "She lifted her head and stepped lightly along"; then she dreamily announces, "I'm imagining out what I must say to Mrs. Lynde." Evidently the prospect now thrills her.

When they reach Mrs. Lynde's house, Anne rushes over to her, kneels in front of her, and proffers a fervent and over-the-top apology in a quivering voice. She's clearly serious, but Marilla knows she's also secretly enjoying her "valley of humiliation." Mrs. Lynde lacks the perception to realize this and heartily forgives Anne. More important—to Anne, at least—she says she once knew a redheaded girl whose hair turned "a real handsome auburn" when she grew up. Dramatically Anne breathes, "You have given me a hope. I shall always feel that you are a benefactor." On the way home she proudly asks Marilla, "I apologized pretty well, didn't I?" Marilla dryly agrees. When they reach Green Gables, Anne suddenly takes Marilla's hand. "It's lovely to be going home and know it's home," she says.


Realistically minded readers may wonder if Anne stays in her room for every second of her punishment. Because there was little indoor plumbing in rural Canada at the time, it is likely Anne visits the Green Gables outhouse once or twice.

An interesting detail in this chapter is Matthew hasn't been on the second floor of his own house for four years. When he's not in the barn or outside, he gravitates between the kitchen and his small bedroom off the hall. Presumably he owns the farm along with Marilla: unmarried adult brothers and sisters often set up housekeeping together in the 19th century. But he doesn't seem to view the house as his territory. Anne is "domesticating" him in a way Marilla never did.

Readers have learned Anne likes romantic novels. This chapter makes it clear she also likes melodrama—and no wonder, since her life up to now has been so drab. It's lucky Mrs. Lynde doesn't have enough imagination to realize Anne has turned her apology into a touching scene with herself as the star. Marilla knows what's going on, though. She watches the scene with a sort of wry pleasure that augurs well for her relationship with Anne.

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