Anne of Green Gables | Study Guide

L. M. Montgomery

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Anne of Green Gables | Chapter 32 : The Pass List Is Out | Summary

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Summary

It's the end of June, and Miss Stacy has just left Avonlea School never to return. Anne and Diana walk home with "red eyes and damp handkerchiefs." When Diana comments it seems like the end of everything, Anne reminds her at least she, Diana, will still be attending Avonlea School the following year whereas Anne will be away at teachers' college.

Or maybe she won't be away! Anne is terrified of the entrance exams. She and the other prospective Queen's students are spending four days in Charlottetown to take the exams, and although she's done well on all her practice tests, she's sure she'll fail the real ones. At least she'll get to stay at the house of Diana's Aunt Josephine; the two have become great friends.

From Charlottetown Anne writes a long letter to Diana about her first day of exams. As they walk to the Academy, Josie Pye makes a point of saying Anne looks tired. Moody Spurgeon sits alone, muttering the multiplication tables to steady his nerves. Anne envies "good, steady, sensible" Jane's composure, but she's fairly confident she's done well on the English and history exams. Moody, on the other hand, gloomily announces he might as well give up and become a carpenter.

Anne and the others come home on Friday. Anne isn't sure she's even passed the geometry exam—much less done well on it—though Josie Pye claims it was easy enough for a 10-year-old. Anne has "strained every nerve" during the exams, and so has Gilbert. Who will come out first? Josie Pye says it will definitely be Gilbert. Anne wants dreadfully to beat Gilbert; she's even more eager to please Matthew and Marilla.

Three weeks go by before the pass list appears in the newspaper. Anne is sitting at her bedroom window one evening when she spies Diana rushing toward the house, paper in hand. She shrieks Anne has placed first out of 200 students. Actually Anne and Gilbert have tied, but Anne's name is printed before his. It's a glorious triumph for her.

Analysis

Montgomery manages the difficult task of making exams sound interesting by having Anne write Diana a letter about the week in Charlottetown. It's a good letter, packed with funny details—and readers may notice when Anne mails it on Monday, it reaches Diana on Tuesday.

As this chapter shows, the process of becoming a teacher in turn-of-the-century Canada was difficult and complicated. Teachers' colleges, or "normal schools," trained students to teach in primary schools and one-room schoolhouses. Over the 19th century they gradually replaced the monitorial system, in which the highest-performing eighth graders studied with an adult teacher and then taught younger or less accomplished students themselves. Teachers' colleges were called normal schools because they were supposed to establish a norm in teaching standards across the country.

When first created, normal schools had a lax, unregulated curriculum. As the 19th century progressed, teacher training became more rigorous and more aware of child psychology. Canadian normal schools were originally headed by departments of education in each province. As the teaching profession became more respectable, universities began to add education departments, and would-be teachers began to train there.

Montgomery attended Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, for the 1893–94 school year and earned a First Class teachers' license there. Like Anne she crammed the two-year course into one year, and like Anne she spent her first year as a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse.

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