Anne of Green Gables: Summary, Plot, Characters, Literary Analysis & More

“Anne of Green Gables” is a beloved novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery, first published in 1908. This enduring novel stands as one of Montgomery’s greatest critical and popular successes.

Set on the picturesque Prince Edward Island, the story revolves around the irrepressible and imaginative young orphan girl, Anne Shirley.

When she’s mistakenly sent to live with the elderly siblings, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, at Green Gables farm, her life takes an unexpected turn.

Anne’s journey unfolds against the backdrop of the enchanting landscapes of Avonlea, where she forms kindred spirits with her bosom friend, Diana Barry, and navigates the challenges and adventures of growing up.

Montgomery’s portrayal of Anne, with her red hair and vivid imagination, captivates readers as they follow her adventures in this heartwarming Canadian classic.

"Anne of Green Gables" by Lucy Maud Montgomery leaves an enduring impact on readers, transcending generations with its timeless themes of resilience, identity, and the power of imagination.

The Plot

The novel tells the story of Anne Shirley, a young orphan girl with fiery red hair and a vivid imagination. She is mistakenly sent to live with the elderly siblings, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, at Green Gables farm on Prince Edward Island.

Initially, Anne faces challenges as she adapts to her new life in Avonlea, including humorous mishaps and heartwarming moments. She befriends Diana Barry, a kindred spirit, and encounters Gilbert Blythe, with whom she shares a complicated relationship.

As Anne grows, she excels academically, faces personal loss, and makes important life choices, all while leaving an indelible mark on the community of Avonlea.


Within the enchanting world of “Anne of Green Gables,” diverse characters come to life, each contributing uniquely to the tale set on Prince Edward Island.

In this section, we explore these vivid personalities, their growth, and their interactions, weaving together a rich narrative of self-discovery, love, and friendship.

Anne Shirley

Anne Shirley is the spirited and imaginative protagonist of “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

With her fiery red hair and boundless creativity, Anne captivates readers as she grows from an orphaned young girl into a remarkable and intelligent woman.

Her adventures, friendships, and indomitable spirit make her a beloved character, and her journey is one of self-discovery and personal growth against the backdrop of Prince Edward Island.

Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert

Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are the elderly siblings who mistakenly receive Anne at Green Gables farm. Marilla, initially prim and stern, undergoes a transformation as she learns to love Anne as her own daughter.

Matthew, the gentle and kind-hearted brother, forms a deep bond with Anne and plays a pivotal role in her life.

Together, they provide a nurturing environment for Anne’s development and are central figures in the heartwarming tale set on Prince Edward Island.

Diana Barry

Diana is Anne’s kindred spirit and best friend. She is a loyal and supportive friend who shares in Anne’s adventures and misadventures, and her presence is a constant source of comfort for Anne.

Gilbert Blythe

Gilbert is a studious and charming young boy who initially earns Anne’s ire but later becomes an important figure in her life. His intelligence, kindness, and evolving relationship with Anne add depth to the story.

Miss Rachel Lynde

Miss Rachel Lynde is a sharp-tongued neighbor and friend of Marilla and Matthew. Her outspoken nature and humorous interactions with the Cuthberts add a touch of comedy to the narrative.

Miss Stacy

Miss Stacy is Anne’s beloved teacher at the Avonlea school. Her progressive teaching methods and positive influence play a significant role in Anne’s academic and personal growth.

Key Themes

In “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery, the narrative is interwoven with profound themes that resonate with readers of all ages.

These themes add depth and emotional resonance to the story, making it a timeless classic. Let’s explore the central themes that shape this beloved tale.

Imagination and Creativity

Anne’s vivid imagination is a central theme, highlighting the power of creativity and how it enriches her life and those around her.

Orphanhood and Belonging

Anne’s orphan status and her journey to find a sense of belonging underscore the theme of family and the search for a home.

Friendship and Kindred Spirits

The deep friendship between Anne and Diana Barry exemplifies the theme of kindred spirits and the importance of lasting friendships.

Education and Growth

Anne’s commitment to her education and personal growth is a recurring theme, emphasizing the transformative power of learning.

Nature and Landscape

The beauty of Prince Edward Island’s landscape serves as a backdrop, symbolizing the connection between nature and the human spirit.

Resilience and Optimism

Anne’s resilience in the face of adversity and her unwavering optimism inspire the theme of perseverance and positive outlooks.

Social Acceptance and Gender Roles

The novel delves into societal expectations and challenges the traditional gender roles of the era, advocating for individuality.

Maturation and Coming of Age

Anne’s growth from a spirited child into a mature young woman is a central theme, portraying the universal journey of coming of age.

Love and Family Bonds

Love and familial relationships, whether within the Cuthbert family or Anne’s friendships, highlight the theme of emotional connections.

Redemption and Forgiveness

Characters like Marilla undergo personal redemption, showcasing the theme of forgiveness and second chances.

Genres in Anne of Green Gables

The convergence of these genres makes “Anne of Green Gables” a literary masterpiece that continues to captivate and resonate with readers across diverse age groups and interests.


The evolving relationship between Anne and Gilbert Blythe introduces elements of romance. Their interactions and growing affection add a layer of emotional depth and intrigue to the story.

Children’s Literature

While appealing to readers of all ages, the novel’s initial setting and Anne’s youthful perspective align with the children’s literature genre, making it a timeless classic for young readers.

Historical Fiction

Set in the early 20th century, “Anne of Green Gables” provides a window into the historical context of Prince Edward Island, offering glimpses of the era’s customs and social norms.

Language used in Anne of Green Gables

The author employs a lyrical and descriptive writing style that beautifully captures the enchanting landscapes of Prince Edward Island.

Montgomery’s prose is imbued with vivid imagery, evoking the picturesque settings and natural beauty of Avonlea.

The language used is rich in detail, painting a vibrant portrait of the characters’ emotions, particularly Anne’s impassioned musings and imaginative flights.

This eloquent and emotionally resonant narrative style invites readers to immerse themselves in the world of Anne Shirley, where every word serves to enhance the story’s atmosphere, evoke empathy, and create a lasting connection between the reader and the characters.

Literary devices in Anne of Green Gables

In “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery, a rich tapestry of literary devices enhances the narrative. Montgomery deftly employs vivid imagery to paint detailed pictures of Prince Edward Island’s landscapes.

The novel is also enriched by symbolism, with Anne’s red hair symbolizing her uniqueness. Dialogue is skillfully used to reveal character personalities, and irony is woven into the story’s humor.

Additionally, Montgomery employs foreshadowing to build anticipation, and allusion to reference classic literature. These literary devices collectively add depth, nuance, and emotional resonance to this beloved Canadian classic.


Throughout “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery, similes are sparingly used but effectively employed to enhance reader engagement.

For instance, Anne Shirley’s “Hair as Red as a Poppy in Bloom” vividly portrays the striking color of her hair, making her uniqueness stand out like a vibrant flower in a field. Such similes serve as picturesque comparisons that paint a more detailed and memorable image of the characters and settings.


Metaphors are subtly woven into the narrative of “Anne of Green Gables.” Anne’s hair, often described as “green,” serves as a metaphor for her distinctiveness and unconventional nature, setting her apart from the norm.

This metaphor reflects her unique character and how she blooms like an extraordinary flower in the conservative society of Avonlea.

These metaphors add depth to character descriptions and convey deeper meanings about Anne’s role as the heroine of the story and her impact on the people around her, especially Marilla Cuthbert and Miss Josephine Barry.


Analogies serve as powerful tools to elucidate complex ideas. For instance, when Anne Shirley compares her decision to forego college to “closing the door on one’s future,” it creates a relatable analogy, helping readers grasp the weight of her choice.

Analogies like this bridge the gap between Anne’s personal dilemmas and universal experiences, making her decisions and conflicts more accessible and emotionally resonant.


Montgomery’s use of vivid imagery immerses readers in sensory experiences. The portrayal of Anne’s “green hair” paints a striking and unconventional image of her fiery red locks, emphasizing her uniqueness.

This imagery creates a visual and emotional connection between readers and the characters, settings, and emotions, enhancing the overall reading experience.


Hair color, particularly Anne’s “green hair,” holds symbolic significance in the novel. Anne’s distinctive hair represents her individuality and unconventional spirit, setting her apart from societal norms.

Additionally, the mention of the “Avery Scholarship” and “Queen’s Academy” symbolizes opportunities for education and personal growth, which are central to Anne’s journey.

Symbolism in the novel thus connects these elements to larger themes of identity, independence, and the pursuit of one’s aspirations.


When Matthew Cuthbert tells Anne that “the trees were whispering” on the day he shares the news of her college plans, it personifies nature, creating a connection between Anne and the world around her.

This literary device adds depth by emphasizing the emotional resonance of key moments, portraying nature as a responsive and empathetic presence that mirrors Anne’s inner turmoil.


Hyperbole is subtly woven into the narrative to amplify emotions and create dramatic effects.

When Anne foregoes college to stay with Marilla after Matthew’s death (Matthew dies from a heart attack), it’s described as a choice “greater than life itself.”

This hyperbolic expression underscores the magnitude of Anne’s decision, emphasizing her selflessness and the profound impact of Matthew’s loss on her life.

By using hyperbole sparingly, Montgomery heightens the emotional intensity of pivotal moments in the story.


The irony in how Anne is initially insulted for her red hair but later celebrated for her unique qualities highlights the theme of individuality.

The story’s ironic moments add layers of meaning and provoke reflection, ultimately contributing to its emotional resonance and character development.


Juxtaposition is skillfully used in the novel to create thought-provoking scenarios and highlight contrasts. Anne’s refusal to accept Marilla and Matthew’s offer at first juxtaposes her later deep attachment to Green Gables.

Additionally, the contrast between Anne’s Nova Scotian roots and her life in Prince Edward Island adds depth to her character, emphasizing the theme of adaptation and resilience.

This literary device enriches the narrative by exploring the interplay between opposing elements and character growth


This Canadian author presents paradoxical situations that add depth to the narrative. Anne’s journey from initially being dubbed the “smartest girl” to learning important life lessons showcases a paradox of intellect versus emotional growth.

Her experiences at Carmody School, where she finds both challenges and camaraderie, exemplify the paradoxical nature of educational institutions. These paradoxes serve to highlight the complexities of Anne’s character and the multifaceted nature of her development.


While “Anne of Green Gables” is not replete with overt literary or historical allusions, it indirectly alludes to the educational norms of the time. Anne’s preparation for the entrance exam to Queen’s Academy reflects the educational aspirations of the era.

Additionally, the reference to the “middle-aged siblings” of Marilla and Matthew subtly alludes to the societal expectations of unmarried siblings in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, providing historical context for the story’s setting.


The novel utilizes repetition to underscore key themes and evoke emotional impact.

The recurring theme of Anne’s desire to escape her past foster homes and create a new life in Canada echoes throughout the narrative.

This repetition emphasizes Anne’s resilience and determination to break free from her past mistakes, reinforcing the novel’s themes of identity and personal growth.

The Use of Dialogue

Dialogue plays a crucial role in conveying character traits, themes, and narrative tension in “Anne of Green Gables.” Anne’s spirited and imaginative conversations showcase her intelligence and determination, while Marilla’s and Matthew’s dialogues reflect their contrasting personalities.

These interactions also serve to highlight themes of family, friendship, and societal expectations. Through dialogue, the characters’ unique voices and the unfolding of their continuing story are skillfully woven into the narrative, creating a rich and emotionally resonant reading experience.


The novel employs parallelism to reinforce its central messages and themes. One notable instance is the parallelism between Anne’s desire to “attend school” and Marilla’s aspiration for her to “attend school,” reflecting their shared goals for Anne’s education.

Additionally, the parallelism in Marilla’s evolution from “Prim Marilla” to a more open and compassionate figure underscores her personal growth throughout the story.

These instances of parallelism help to structure the narrative and emphasize the themes of education, personal development, and the transformative power of relationships.

Rhetorical Devices

In “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery, rhetorical devices, particularly rhetorical questions, are used for persuasive effect.

Heroine Anne Shirley employs rhetorical questions to emphasize her unique perspective and to challenge conventional expectations.

For example, when contemplating coloring her hair green, she asks herself if it would really be any different from having red hair, using this rhetorical question to underscore her individuality and defiance of societal norms.

These rhetorical devices, strategically placed throughout the narrative, serve to emphasize Anne’s distinct character and her unyielding spirit.

Anne of Green Gables: FAQs

Here, we provide concise answers to commonly asked questions about Lucy Maud Montgomery’s beloved novel, its characters, themes, and more, to enhance your understanding of this timeless classic.

How does Anne of Green Gables end?

“Anne of Green Gables” ends with Anne and Gilbert finally acknowledging their love for each other. They plan to attend the same college and marry in the future, and Anne decides to stay in Avonlea.

Is Anne from Anne of Green Gables a true story?

Anne of Green Gables is not a true story; it is a work of fiction created by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery, although it was inspired by her life on Prince Edward Island.

Who does Anne end up with in Anne of Green Gables?

Anne ends up with Gilbert Blythe. They confess their love and future plans, setting the stage for their relationship to deepen and ultimately lead to marriage.

Is Prince Edward Island a real place?

Yes, Prince Edward Island is a real place. It is one of Canada’s eastern provinces, known for its stunning landscapes and as the setting for the “Anne of Green Gables” series.

Summing up: Anne of Green Gables: Summary, Plot & More

“Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery leaves an enduring impact on readers, transcending generations with its timeless themes of resilience, identity, and the power of imagination.

The narrative, enriched by a tapestry of literary devices, showcases the growth of the indomitable heroine, Anne Shirley, from an orphan with a vibrant spirit to a young woman who captures hearts with her wisdom and wit.

As Matthew tells Anne, the story is a testament to the transformative potential of love and acceptance. Its universal appeal lies in its ability to resonate with readers of all ages, making it a cherished classic that continues to inspire and enchant.

Other Notable Works by Lucy Maud Montgomery

If you are interested in “Anne of Green Gables”, you may be interested in other works by Lucy Maud Montgomery including:

  • “Anne of Avonlea” (1909): The sequel to “Anne of Green Gables,” following Anne’s further adventures as a teacher and her growth into young adulthood.
  • “Emily of New Moon” (1923): A novel that introduces readers to Emily Starr, another beloved Montgomery character, who embarks on her own journey of self-discovery.
  • “The Story Girl” (1911): This novel explores the enchanting tales spun by a young storyteller named Sara Stanley, providing a glimpse into the world of imagination.
  • “Rainbow Valley” (1919): Continuing the story of the Blythe family, this book focuses on Anne’s children and their adventures in Rainbow Valley.
  • “Rilla of Ingleside” (1921): Set during World War I, this novel follows Anne’s daughter Rilla as she navigates the challenges and changes brought about by the war.

These works by Lucy Maud Montgomery offer a similar charm, rich characterization, and exploration of themes that have made “Anne of Green Gables” a beloved classic.

"Anne of Green Gables" is about a young orphan girl with fiery red hair and a vivid imagination.