Anne of Green Gables | Study Guide

L. M. Montgomery

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Anne of Green Gables | Chapter 13 : The Delights of Anticipation | Summary

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Summary

Anne comes flying into the house to tell Marilla there's going to be a Sunday school picnic the following week—with ice cream, something she's never tried. Can she go? Marilla gives permission, and Anne kisses her for the first time. Marilla is much more touched by the gesture than she lets on.

In a fever of anticipation, Anne "talked picnic and thought picnic and dreamed picnic." By Sunday Anne is bursting with excitement. That same Sunday, as always, Marilla wears her amethyst brooch to church. It's her favorite possession, and Anne is smitten with admiration when she sees it for the first time. Amethysts, she says, are what she used to think diamonds looked like; she cried with disappointment the first time she saw a real diamond. She asks to hold the brooch for a minute—and that's where the chapter ends.

Analysis

This is more like a remnant than a full chapter. Anne asks for permission to go to the picnic, brings Marilla up to date on her activities with Diana, and thinks about the picnic some more. Perhaps Montgomery thought combining this material with Chapter 14 would make too long a chapter. Whatever the case, its main function is to set the stage for the all-important Sunday school picnic.

There's something poignant about Anne's delighted anticipation of the picnic. That she's worried about bringing "a basket of things to eat" shows how unused she is to these small entertainments, and to a modern reader it may seem inconceivable that she's never tried ice cream. But this is the first decade of the 20th century, when making ice cream is a complicated procedure, especially in summer. The ice for the ice cream churn—a block from someone's ice house—will need to be chipped before being added to the churn, and the canister holding the ice cream mixture will need to be cranked by hand until it's stiff and cold enough.

The introduction of Marilla's brooch seems to come out of nowhere and end abruptly. Nonetheless it makes for a good aside and provides an insight into life during this period. Modern mining techniques have made amethysts seem less valuable now that semiprecious stones can be produced in bulk. But gem mining and gem cutting were very difficult at the time this book was written. Anne's comparatively late realization that diamonds are not purple indicates both diamonds and amethysts are a rarity. This brooch may be Marilla's only piece of jewelry, and that it contains a lock of her mother's hair makes it even more precious. Chapter 13 ends abruptly as a cliffhanger of sorts. The reader suspects something will happen to that brooch, and Anne's happy chatter makes it clear she has no idea trouble is coming.

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