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Anne of Green Gables | Chapter 36 : The Glory and the Dream | Summary

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Summary

It's the morning final exam results will be posted at Queen's, and Anne and Jane are on their way to see how they fared. Jane is cheerful, Anne is "pale and quiet." Even exam results don't feel as important as knowing who will win the Avery. When the girls reach the Queen's entranceway, they see the hall thronged with boys cheering, "Hurrah for Blythe, Medalist!" as they carry Gilbert on their shoulders. Anne feels a moment of sick disappointment until someone yells, "Three cheers for Miss Shirley, winner of the Avery!" Now Anne too is surrounded by well-wishers thumping her on the back and fighting to shake her hand.

Commencement is the next milestone. Matthew and Marilla watch proudly as Anne reads her winning essay. That evening they bring Anne home, and Diana is at Green Gables to meet her. Marilla has put a rose plant on the windowsill in her room.

Josie Pye has informed Diana that Stella Maynard is now Anne's best friend, but Anne just laughs and reassures her. Of course Diana is still her favorite! Diana tells her Jane will be teaching at the Newbridge School. She adds Gilbert will be teaching too. "He has to. His father can't afford to send him to college next year"—he'll have to work to put himself through. Anne feels curiously dismayed at this news. What will Redmond be like without Gilbert and their "inspiring rivalry"? Even coed college will seem flat if he's not there.

There's another unwelcome change: Matthew has been having heart trouble. Marilla is worried, but he's been better recently. She's hoping he can cut back on work now they have a good hired man.

Anne comments that Marilla doesn't look well herself and insists she "take a rest, now that I'm home." Marilla says it's not tiredness that's bothering her but a pain behind her eyes. Dr. Spencer insists she see the oculist who will be visiting in June. She's also troubled by a rumor the Abbey Bank is shaky: that's where she and Matthew keep their savings. Marilla has wanted to move the money to another bank, but Matthew is holding off, having been reassured the bank is all right.

Anne spends the following day roaming through the woods and fields, and that evening she and Matthew walk to the back pasture to get the cows. Matthew walks slowly, head bent. Anne wistfully says if she'd been the boy they sent for, she'd be able to spare him so much work now. But Matthew pats her hand. "I'd rather have you than a dozen boys," he tells her. She is "my girl—my girl that I'm proud of." Anne always remembers that lovely evening. She comments, "It was the last night before sorrow touched her life."

Analysis

Rumors about the bank and fears about Matthew's health mean something bad is on its way. Montgomery does more than foreshadow the future here; she all but spells it out. On her first morning at Green Gables, Anne sat looking through this same window; on this evening, the last of Matthew's life, she's here again, looking out over the "silvery, peaceful beauty and fragrant calm of that night." Though the paragraph ends on a note of dread, its lyrical beauty is as memorable as its warning. In the moonlight, sorrow is a "cold, sanctifying touch," not the jagged agony it will become in Chapter 37.

This is the first time there's mention of Marilla's putting a rose on Anne's windowsill. She's a changed person. Earlier she has looked "askance" at a jug of apple blossoms Anne brought in. She also has forbidden Anne to "clutter up your room" with flowers. Now she has brought a flower into Anne's room herself. Like Matthew, Marilla is feeling the effects of getting older, but raising Anne has made her younger in spirit.

The plot is moving along quickly now. More than half the 38 chapters cover Anne's first year at Green Gables; Montgomery needs only three chapters to take her through her time at Queen's. This may be partly because she wants to convey the impression time passes more quickly now Anne is older. More likely, though, it's that Charlottetown is less compelling than Avonlea as a setting. Teacher's college may be worthy enough, but 16-year-old Anne doesn't have real adventures there.

Montgomery was sometimes careless about her characters' names. Here she mentions Mr. Russell but doesn't identify him. Since this is the only place he appears, readers will never know why he gives Matthew bad advice. Since the Great Depression that began in the United States in 1929, bank depositors have been insured, so if a bank fails, they can get back a certain amount of the money they deposited. At the time this book takes place, no such safeguards exist. The Cuthberts therefore have no recourse once the Abbey Bank fails.

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