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Anne of Green Gables | Chapter 30 : The Queens Class Is Organized | Summary

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Summary

Twilight at Green Gables, and Marilla and Anne are enjoying a rest in front of the fire. Marilla looks at Anne and wonders if it's sinful to love "any human creature" as much as she loves Anne. Maybe that love is what makes her so strict; maybe the strictness is a form of punishment for caring so intensely.

Abruptly Marilla tells Anne Miss Stacy visited that afternoon. She wants to organize a class of her most advanced students to study for the Queen's Academy entrance examinations, and she wants Anne to be a part of that class. During the visit she heaped praise on Anne, but Marilla refrains from passing on that information. She doesn't want to make Anne vain.

Queen's Academy is a teachers' training school, and it has been a dream of Anne's—for the past six months, at least—to become a teacher. But won't it be too expensive? Marilla tells her not to worry about that. Marilla and Matthew have always planned to give Anne a good education and to prepare her for life's vagaries. Anne promises to study hard, and the class is duly organized. Several of Anne's friends (plus Gilbert and Josie Pye) join it, but not Diana: the Barrys don't plan to send her to Queen's. It's the first time Anne and Diana haven't walked home from school together. Anne feels a pang as she watches Diana leave alone.

Except for that sorrow, Anne throws herself into studying. She and Gilbert are avowed rivals for first place now, and Gilbert's a tough opponent. Since the day he rescued her from the Lake of Shining Waters, he has never spoken to her. Anne realizes she's already forgiven him, but now it's too late to do anything. Anne keeps her feelings to herself so entirely even Gilbert thinks she doesn't notice the scorn he now shows her.

A pleasant winter passes quickly. Once spring arrives, the Queen's students feel less ardent about their studies, and everyone—Miss Stacy included—is glad when the spring term ends and summer vacation begins.

Analysis

Miss Stacy is a much more dedicated teacher than Mr. Phillips was. Whereas he helped only Priscilla Grant prepare for Queen's, and then only because he had a crush on her, Miss Stacy sacrifices much of her own time to put together that after-school class. That she's able to do this also speaks to her own education. To teach upper-level classes means she has to know the material herself.

Miss Stacy makes up one more link in the chain of women connected to Anne. Except for Gilbert, men aren't strong characters in this book. Mr. Phillips is a poor teacher; the Sunday school superintendent reads the prayers; Moody Spurgeon MacPherson, Charlie Sloane, and Billy Andrews are nonentities. Even Anne's beloved Matthew is a bit odd.

By contrast the women in the book are strong, vigorous, and influential, beginning with Marilla. Miss Stacy and Mrs. Allan are paradigms of inspiration for Anne. As Mrs. Rachel Lynde might be the first to say, Avonlea couldn't run without her. Diana's strict mother has the power to halt a devoted friendship and then dispense mercy. Even Mrs. Thomas and Mrs. Hammond are powerful forces in Anne's life. Avonlea is a matriarchy. Only Gilbert is worthy of Anne, and she has shut him out of her life.

Speaking of power, it's Diana's parents who don't want to send her to Queen's. Diana seems to have no say in the decision.

In Chapter 30 the pace of the book changes, the days slipping by for Anne "like golden beads on the necklace of the year." From now on the plot mainly concerns Anne's education, and whole seasons will pass with no adventures described in detail. Montgomery was aware something went out of the book as Anne grew older. She once said, "My forte is in writing humor ... Young women in the bloom of youth and romance should be sacred from humor. It is the time of sentiment, and I am not good at depicting sentiment." Readers too may miss the old Anne.

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