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Anne of Green Gables | Chapter 33 : The Hotel Concert | Summary

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Summary

Anne and Diana are conferring in Anne's bedroom about what Anne should wear for a benefit concert at the White Sands hotel. She has been asked to participate by giving a recitation. As Anne would have said when she was younger, it's an "epoch in her life," and the right dress is important. On the big night, Anne is beautiful; Marilla says, "She looks neat and proper." Anne's organdy dress—says Diana—"seems as if it grew on you."

Although a professional elocutionist who is staying at the hotel will also be on the program ("the audience went wild over her [performance]"), and although Anne has an awful moment of stage fright, "her clear, sweet voice [reached] to the farthest corner of the room without a tremor or break ... She recited as she had never done before." The audience demands an encore, and Anne's "quaint, funny little selection" completely wins them over. Even the professional elocutionist compliments Anne. A famous artist sitting behind Jane and Diana asks who the girl with the "splendid Titian hair" is: "She has a face I should like to paint."

Jane is dazzled by the diamonds some of the women are wearing. She wishes she were a "rich American" who could summer at the hotel and have ice cream and chicken salad every day. But Anne insists the three girls are rich already and is "quite content to be Anne of Green Gables, with my string of pearl beads."

Analysis

The White Sands Hotel is frequented by wealthy guests from the United States. As a rule Anne hardly interacts with Americans in this series, and Montgomery—staunchly pro-Canadian—often makes fun of the ones she does meet. The monocled "stout lady in pink silk" and the "scornful-looking girl in a white-lace dress" are pure caricature. The white-lace girl seems especially crass as she sniffs about country bumpkins and rustic belles. Anne being Anne and able to charm everyone, she manages to captivate the stout lady and win a "languid little compliment" from the white-lace girl.

Making Anne even more perfect is her modesty about her performance. "I'm only a schoolgirl, with a little knack of reciting," she says. About the "Titian hair" compliment, she laughingly tells Diana that Titian means "plain red." As she has matured, she's even found the grace to accept the color of her hair. Anne is a little too good to be true here, but this chapter affords a break from the Avonlea setting. Diamonds, Americans, famous artists, "dazzling" electric lights—the hotel is a fairyland, and Montgomery lets herself luxuriate in writing about it.

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