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Anne of Green Gables | Chapter 29 : An Epoch in Anne's Life | Summary



Diana comes to Anne with wonderful news: Aunt Josephine has invited the two girls to spend a few days with her in town so they can visit the Exhibition (the Prince Edward Island equivalent of a state fair). Anne is delighted but also sure Marilla won't let her go. After all, Marilla "can't encourage gadding about." Diana suggests her mother rather than Anne herself ask Marilla, and permission is granted.

On the following Tuesday the girls arrive at Beechwood, Aunt Josephine's dauntingly elegant house. "Their visit ... crowded with delights," the girls spend all the next day at the Exhibition. Several Avonlea residents win prizes at various exhibits—including Mr. Bell, whose pig wins a blue ribbon. Aunt Josephine takes them to a horse race, where they're almost tempted to bet. They watch a man go up in a balloon and have their fortunes told. On Thursday the girls have a drive in the park and that evening attend a concert at the Academy of Music. "To Anne the evening was a glittering vision of delight"—and Aunt Josephine takes them for ice cream afterward.

When it's time to leave, Anne delights Aunt Josephine by hugging her and kissing her cheek. The girls are happy to be going back to Avonlea. At Green Gables, Marilla has a broiled chicken waiting for Anne. Anne says, "I've had a splendid time ... But the best of it all was the coming home."


There's something succulent about this chapter's being entirely devoted to fun. Anne doesn't have to learn any painful lessons. There's no moral. Like the girls' visit, this chapter is crowded with delights from first to last.

Exhibitions are the Canadian equivalent of state and county fairs and feature various competitions. Anne's favorites are the horses, fancywork, and flowers; other "departments" would feature competitions in baking, animal husbandry, sewing, and the fine arts. Nowadays, fairs usually have rides and midways in addition to the domestic competitions. As this chapter shows, horse races were a favorite.

Anne regularly mentions familiar people and places when she describes her adventures at the Exhibition. "I never knew how much I really liked [Mrs. Rachel] until I saw her familiar face among all those strangers," she says. Anne refuses to bet at the horse race "because I wanted to tell Mrs. Allan ... It's always wrong to do anything you can't tell the minister's wife." Anne is really a homebody at heart.

This chapter foreshadows Anne's Queen's examination later in the book and has a similar structure. Anne feels insignificant among so many strangers, has trouble sleeping in a strange bed, does well and makes the most of her stay, and returns home happily. She's a small-town girl, but she can thrive in strange new environments.

One particular detail is curious: on the morning the girls leave for Charlottetown, Anne "hastened over the brook and up through the firs" to Diana's house, where the girls will be driven by Mr. Barry. Anne is going to be away for a few days, meaning she must be weighed down by some form of luggage—but there's no question of her being picked up by the Barrys. She's always walked to Diana's, and it's assumed by all the adults she can handle doing it with a travel bag.

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