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Anne of Green Gables | Chapter 24 : Miss Stacy and Her Pupils Get Up a Concert | Summary

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Summary

In October Anne is able to return to school. The new teacher, Miss Stacy, is everything Anne could have hoped for: "a bright, sympathetic young woman with the happy gift of winning and holding the affections of her pupils and bringing out the best that was in them mentally and morally." No wonder Anne is enthralled! Miss Stacy adds recitations, nature study, compositions, and "physical culture exercises" to the curriculum.

In November Miss Stacy suggests the school hold a fundraising concert on Christmas night with the goal of making enough to buy a schoolhouse flag. Though Marilla scoffs at the idea, Anne is tremendously excited by it. She'll be taking part in two "dialogues," give two recitations, and join the "Faith, Hope, and Charity" tableau at the end of the evening. The students will march in two by two. Anne knows Marilla thinks the concert is silly. Still, she asks, "Don't you hope your little Anne will distinguish herself?" Marilla answers tartly, "All I hope is that you'll behave yourself." But Anne finds a sympathetic listener in Matthew, who encourages her: "I reckon it's going to be a pretty good concert. And I expect you'll do your part fine."

Analysis

In a society without movies, television, and computers, people needed to provide their own entertainment. To modern readers a school concert may not seem entertaining, but in the 19th century these semiannual affairs could attract the entire town. School concerts were also good public relations; when students performed well, it meant they were being taught well.

The "dialogues" Anne mentions are two brief plays. "The Society for the Suppression of Gossip" first appeared in an 1879 book called Friday Afternoon Series of Dialogues: A Collection of Original Dialogues Suitable for Boys and Girls in School Entertainments. It's a mildly entertaining sketch about a women's club that vows to stamp out gossip in the community. The title parodies the name of an actual British group called the Society for the Prevention of Vice, founded in 1802 to stamp out swearing, failure to keep the Sabbath, publication of obscene books, use of false weights and measures, disorderly public houses, brothels, prostitution, lotteries, and cruelty to animals. The broad scope of the Society brought it in for a certain amount of mockery.

The idea of the concert seems mock worthy to Marilla. Anne points out "a flag will cultivate a spirit of patriotism," adding, "When you can combine patriotism and fun, isn't it all right?" That's the last reference to patriotism in the chapter; Montgomery never follows up on the purchase of the flag. What's really important about the concert is it will give Anne a chance to shine.

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