Anne of Green Gables

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This article is about the novel. For other uses, see Anne of Green Gables (disambiguation).
Anne of Green Gables
Montgomery Anne of Green Gables.jpg
First edition.
Author Lucy Maud Montgomery
Illustrator M. A. and W. A. J. Claus
Country Written and set in Canada, published in the United States[1][2]
Language English
Series Anne of Green Gables
Genre Novel
Published June 1908 (L.C. Page & Co.)[3]
Followed by Anne of Avonlea
Text Anne of Green Gables at Wikisource

Anne of Green Gables is a 1908 novel by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery (published as L. M. Montgomery). Written for all ages, it has been considered a children's novel since the mid-twentieth century. It recounts the adventures of Anne Shirley, an 11-year-old orphan girl who is mistakenly sent to Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a middle-aged brother and sister who had intended to adopt a boy to help them on their farm in Prince Edward Island. The novel recounts how Anne makes her way with the Cuthberts, in school, and within the town.

Since its publication, Anne of Green Gables has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into 20 languages. Montgomery wrote numerous sequels, and since her death, another sequel has been published, as well as an authorized prequel. The original book is taught to students around the world.[4]

The book has been adapted as films, made-for-television movies, and animated and live-action television series. Musicals and plays have also been created, with productions annually in Canada since 1964 of the first musical production, which has toured in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Japan.[citation needed]


The portrait of Evelyn Nesbit by Rudolf Eickemeyer Jr. which inspired Montgomery.[5]

In writing the novel, Montgomery was inspired by notes she had made as a young girl about a couple who were mistakenly sent an orphan girl instead of the boy they had requested yet decided to keep her. She drew upon her own childhood experiences in rural Prince Edward Island, Canada. Montgomery used a photograph of Evelyn Nesbit, which she had clipped from New York’s Metropolitan Magazine and put on the wall of her bedroom, as the model for the face of Anne Shirley and a reminder of her "youthful idealism and spirituality."[5]

Montgomery was also inspired by the "formula Ann" orphan stories which were popular at the time and distinguished her character by spelling her name "Anne". She based other characters, such as Gilbert Blythe, in part on people she knew. She said she wrote the novel in the twilight of the day, while sitting at her window and overlooking the fields of Cavendish.[6]

Plot summary[edit]

Anne attacks Gilbert

Anne, a young orphan from the fictional community of Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia (based upon the real community of New London, Prince Edward Island),[7][8] is sent to Prince Edward Island after a childhood spent in strangers' homes and orphanages. Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, siblings in their fifties and sixties, respectively, had decided to adopt a boy from the orphanage to help Matthew run their farm. They live at Green Gables, their Avonlea farmhouse on Prince Edward Island. Through a misunderstanding, the orphanage sends Anne Shirley.

Anne is described as bright and quick, eager to please, talkative, and extremely imaginative. She has a pale face with freckles and usually braids her red hair. Marilla at first says the girl must return to the orphanage, but after a few days, she decides to let her stay. Marilla feels that she could be a good influence on the girl and has also learned that a disagreeable woman in town might take Anne instead.

As a child of imagination, Anne takes much joy in life and adapts quickly, thriving in the close-knit farming village. Her talkativeness initially drives the prim, duty-driven Marilla to distraction, although Matthew falls for her charm immediately. Anne says that they are "kindred spirits."

The book recounts Anne's adventures in making a home: the country school where she quickly excels in her studies; her friendship with Diana Barry (her best or "bosom friend" as Anne fondly calls her); her budding literary ambitions; and her rivalry with classmate Gilbert Blythe, who teases her about her red hair. For that, he earns her instant hatred, although he apologizes many times. As time passes, Anne realizes she no longer hates Gilbert but cannot bring herself to speak to him.

The book also follows Anne's adventures in quiet, old-fashioned Avonlea. Episodes include her play-time with friends (Diana, Jane Andrews and Ruby Gillis), her run-ins with the unpleasant Pye sisters (Gertie and Josie), and domestic mishaps such as dyeing her hair green (while intending to dye it black) or accidentally getting Diana drunk (by giving her what she thinks is raspberry cordial but is currant wine).

At fifteen, Anne goes to Queen's Academy to earn a teaching license, along with Gilbert, Ruby, Josie, Jane, and several other students. She obtains her license in one year instead of the usual two and wins the Avery Scholarship for the top student in English. Her attainment of this scholarship would allow her to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree at the fictional Redmond College (based on the real Dalhousie University) on the mainland in Nova Scotia.

Near the end of the book, Matthew dies of a heart attack after learning that all of his and Marilla's money has been lost in a bank failure. Out of devotion to Marilla and Green Gables, Anne gives up the scholarship to stay at home and help Marilla, whose eyesight is failing. She plans to teach at the Carmody school, the nearest school available, and return to Green Gables on weekends. In an act of friendship, Gilbert Blythe gives up his teaching position at the Avonlea School to work at White Sands School instead, knowing that Anne wants to stay close to Marilla after Matthew's death. After this kind act, Anne and Gilbert's friendship is cemented, and Anne looks forward to the next "bend in the road."


Diana and Anne

Green Gables household:

  • Anne Shirley: An imaginative, talkative, red-headed orphan who comes to live with Matthew Cuthbert and Marilla Cuthbert. Anne is very sensitive and is very insecure about the color of her hair. She exhibits categorical interest in everything romantic.
  • Marilla Cuthbert: Matthew's sister, she is an austere but fair woman who objects to Anne's imaginative, unusual conduct on the grounds of its being part of the same group of behavioral misconducts that bring about dereliction of responsibility or produce a disrespectful personal image. Life experience with Anne, however, profoundly affects Marilla's ways; in a very early instance, she experiences first-hand how worthless a confession under duress could be. Although conservative and austere, she is fond of Anne and has the glimmerings of a sense of humor.
  • Matthew Cuthbert: Marilla's brother, he is an overly shy, albeit kind, old man with a lumbering frame and above-average strength. Matthew takes a liking to Anne from the start and the two become fast friends. Because Marilla has primary responsibility for rearing the girl, he has no qualms about "spoiling" her and indulging her in pretty clothes and other frivolities.

Anne's schoolmates:

  • Diana Barry: Anne's bosom friend and a kindred spirit. Anne and Diana become best friends from the moment they meet. She is the only girl of Anne's age who lives close to Green Gables. Anne admires Diana for being pretty and for her amiable disposition. Diana lacks Anne's powerful imagination but is a loyal friend.
  • Gilbert Blythe: A handsome, smart, witty and chivalrous classmate who has a crush on Anne the moment he sees her. Unaware of Anne's near-pathological sensitivity about her red hair, he tries to get Anne's attention by holding her braid and calling her "Carrots!" Anne's explosively hostile reaction only causes Gilbert to be more smitten. He makes several attempts to apologize, the failure of all of which do not seem to mar his admiration. He attempts to apologize one last time when he saves Anne from drowning; Anne crassly rebuffs this attempt, only to regret it almost immediately. Years later, he gives up his job offer of teaching at the Avonlea school so that Anne may live at Green Gables, upon which the two reconcile and become good friends.
  • Ruby Gillis: Another of Anne's friends. Having several "grown up" sisters, Ruby loves to share her knowledge of beaus with her friends. Ruby is portrayed as traditionally beautiful with long golden hair. She is hysterical and suffers from consumption (tuberculosis).
  • Jane Andrews: One of Anne's friends from school, she is plain and sensible. She does well enough academically to join Anne's class at Queen's.
  • Josie Pye: A classmate generally disliked by the other girls (as are her siblings), Josie is vain, dishonest, and jealous of Anne's popularity.

Avonlea's locals:

  • Mrs. Rachel Lynde: A neighbour of Matthew and Marilla, Mrs. Lynde is an amalgamation of vices and virtues. She is industrious and helpful, and does work for the church, yet she is famous for being nosy and condescending. Although she and Anne start off the wrong foot, owing to Mrs. Lynde's obnoxious criticism and Anne's lack of tolerance for such, as well as her temper, they soon become quite close. Mrs. Lynde is married and has raised ten children, although her husband, Thomas Lynde, is mentioned briefly and never speaks.
  • Mr. Phillips: Anne's first teacher at Avonlea, Mr. Phillips is unpopular with students, because of his boring and crude ways. In Anne's case, he continually misspells her name (without the "E") and punishes only her among twelve pupils who arrive late. He is described as lacking discipline, and "courts" one of his pupils openly (this was less frowned upon then as opposed to more contemporary times).
  • Miss Muriel Stacy: Anne's energetic replacement teacher. Her warm and sympathetic nature appeals to her students, but Avonlea's conservative parents disapprove of her liberal teaching methods. She forms a special relationship with Anne, who views her as a mentor. Miss Stacy encourages Anne to develop her character and intellect and helps prepare her for the entrance exam at Queen's Academy, where she finishes in a tie for first with Gilbert Blythe.
  • Reverend and Mrs. Allan: The minister and his wife also befriend Anne, with Mrs. Allan becoming particularly close. She is described as pretty.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Barry: Diana's parents. Mr. Barry farms. Near the end of the book, he offers to rent some tracts to help out Anne and Marilla, after Matthew's passing. Mrs. Barry has a severe personality, expecting her children to follow strict rules. After Anne accidentally gets Diana drunk, Mrs. Barry rejects the girl, forbidding Diana to have anything to do with Anne. This sanction is repealed after Anne saves Minnie May.
  • Minnie May Barry: Diana's baby sister, whose life is saved by Anne when she comes down with croup.


  • Miss Josephine Barry: Diana's aunt. Initially portrayed in a negative light, she is quickly charmed by Anne's imagination, and eventually invites her and Diana to tea. She refers to Anne as "the Anne-girl" and even sends Anne beaded slippers as a Christmas present.
  • Mrs Hammond: Anne lives with her for a portion of her life. She is very mean as a result of her husband′s death. Anne is treated more as a maid in her home than as a daughter or friend.

Related works[edit]

Based on the popularity of her first book, Montgomery wrote a series of sequels to continue the story of her heroine Anne Shirley. They are listed chronologically below, by Anne's age in each of the novels.

Lucy Maud Montgomery's books on Anne Shirley:
# Book Date published Anne Shirley's age
1 Anne of Green Gables 1908 11—16
2 Anne of Avonlea 1909 16—18
3 Anne of the Island 1915 18—22
4 Anne of Windy Poplars (US & Canada)
Anne of Windy Willows (Other)
1936 22—25
5 Anne's House of Dreams 1917 25—27
6 Anne of Ingleside 1939 34—40
The following books focus on Anne's children, or on other family friends. Anne appears in these volumes, but plays a lesser part.
# Book Date published Anne Shirley's age
7 Rainbow Valley 1919 41—43
8 Rilla of Ingleside 1921 49—53
9 The Blythes Are Quoted 2009 40—75
Anne Shirley features in one story (and is referenced in other stories) in each of the following collections:
# Book Date published Anne Shirley's age
Chronicles of Avonlea 1912 approx. 20
Further Chronicles of Avonlea 1920 approx. 20

The prequel, Before Green Gables (2008), was written by Budge Wilson with authorization of heirs of L. M. Montgomery.

Tourism and merchandising[edit]

The Green Gables farmhouse located in Cavendish
Sign marking trail through Balsam Hollow

The province and tourist facilities have highlighted the local connections to the internationally popular novels. Anne of Green Gables has been translated into 36 languages.[9][10] "Tourism by Anne fans is an important part of the Island economy".[11] Merchants offer items based on the novels.

The Green Gables farmhouse is located in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island. Many tourist attractions on Prince Edward Island have been developed based on the fictional Anne, and provincial licence plates once bore her image.[12] Balsam Hollow, the forest that inspired the Haunted Woods and Campbell Pond, the body of water which inspired The Lake of Shining Waters, both described in the book, are located in the vicinity.[13] In addition, the Confederation Centre of the Arts has featured the wildly successful Anne of Green Gables musical on its mainstage every summer for over five decades.[14]

The novel has been very popular in Japan, where it is known as Red-haired Anne,[15][16] and where it has been included in the national school curriculum since 1952. 'Anne' is revered as "an icon" in Japan, especially since 1979 when this story was broadcast as anime, Anne of Green Gables.[17] Japanese couples travel to Prince Edward Island to have civil wedding ceremonies on the grounds of the Green Gables farm. Some Japanese girls arrive as tourists with red-dyed hair styled in pigtails, to look like Anne.[18] In 2014, Asadora 'Hanako to Anne' (Hanako Muraoka is the first translator in Japan) was broadcast and Anne became popular among old and young alike.

The Avonlea theme park near Cavendish and the Cavendish Figurines shop have trappings so that tourists may dress like the book's characters for photos.[19] Souvenir shops throughout Prince Edward Island offer numerous foods and products based on details of the 'Anne Shirley' novels. Straw hats for girls with sewn-in red braids are common, as are bottles of raspberry cordial soda.[20] In the first book, Lucy Maud Montgomery established the cordial soda as the favorite beverage of Anne, who declares: "I just love bright red drinks!"

Panorama of Green Gable farmhouse and grounds

Legacy and honors[edit]

  • The popularity of the books and subsequent film adaptations is credited with inspiring the design and naming of buildings "Green Gables". An example still standing is an apartment block called "Green Gables" built in the 1930s, in New Farm, Queensland, Australia.[21]
  • Bala's Museum, located in Bala, Ontario, Canada, is a house museum established in 1992 and dedicated to Lucy M. Montgomery information and heritage. The house was a tourist home owned by Fanny Pike when Montgomery and her family stayed there on a summer vacation in 1922. That visit to the region inspired the novel The Blue Castle (1926).[22] The town is named Deerwood in the novel; this was Montgomery's only narrative setting outside Atlantic Canada.[citation needed]
Postage stamps
Reading lists
  • In 2003, Anne of Green Gables was ranked number 41 in The Big Read, a survey of the British public by BBC to determine the "nation's best-loved novel" (not children's novel).[25]
  • In 2012, it was ranked number nine among all-time children's novels in a survey published by School Library Journal, a monthly with primarily U.S. audience.[26]




  • Ana of California: A Novel (2015), by Andi Teran, is a “contemporary spin on Anne of Green Gables. The lead character of Anne Shirley has been adapted to Ana Cortez, a 15-year-old orphan who “can’t tell a tomato plant from a blackberry bush” when she leaves East Los Angeles for the Northern California farm of Emmett and Abbie Garber.[28]

Radio productions[edit]

  • Anne of Green Gables (1941), a British radio drama produced and broadcast by BBC Home Service Basic, adapted into four parts by Muriel Levy, and starring Cherry Cottrell as Anne.[citation needed]
  • Anne of Green Gables (1944), a recreation of the 1941 BBC Radio drama, produced and broadcast by BBC Home Service Basic.[citation needed]
  • Anne of Green Gables (1954), a Canadian radio drama produced and broadcast by CBC Radio, adapted into 13 parts by Andrew Allen and starring Toby Tarnow as Anne.[citation needed]
  • Anna zo Zeleného domu (1966), a Slovak radio drama produced and broadcast by Czechoslovak Radio, starring Anna Bučinská as Anne.[citation needed]
  • Anne of Green Gables (1971), a British radio drama produced and broadcast by BBC Radio 4, adapted into 13 parts by Cristina Sellors, and read by Ann Murray.[citation needed]
  • Anne of Green Gables (1997), a British radio drama produced and broadcast by BBC Radio 4, dramatized into five parts by Marcy Kahan and starred Barbara Barnes as Anne.[citation needed]

Stage productions[edit]

  • Anne of Green Gables: The Musical, performed annually in the summer, at Charlottetown Festival, since 1965, this is Canada's longest-running main stage musical production, and has had a total audience of more than 2 million.[citation needed] Anne of Green Gables – The Musical was composed by Canadians Don Harron and Norman Campbell, with lyrics by Elaine Campbell and Mavor Moore. The production has been performed before Queen Elizabeth II and it has toured across Canada, the United States, and Europe. In 1969, it had a run in London's West End. The Charlottetown Festival production performed at the 1970 World's Fair in Osaka, Japan. Walter Learning directed and organized a successful national tour of the musical in Japan in 1991.[citation needed]
  • The Guild in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, hosts Anne and Gilbert, The Musical. Written by Nancy White, Bob Johnston and Jeff Hochhauser, the production is based on Montgomery's sequels featuring Anne Shirley.[citation needed]
  • The Nine Lives of L.M. Montgomery, a musical adapted from Montgomery's novel and her life, opened at Kings Playhouse in Georgetown, Prince Edward Island on June 20, 2008, the 100th anniversary of the book's publication. With book and lyrics by Adam-Michael James and music by Emmy-nominated composer Leo Marchildon, the musical depicts events from Montgomery’s life and features as characters heroines from all of her novels. Anne figures prominently, and is shown from age 12 into her 40s. Gilbert Blythe also appears. The show’s second production was at the Carrefour Theatre in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and opened July 11, 2009. Both years, the musical was nominated for The Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation's Wendell Boyle Award. In July 2010, a concert version of the show toured Prince Edward Island, with four performances at Green Gables.[29]
  • Theatreworks USA, a New York-based children's theatre company, produced an Anne of Green Gables musical in 2006 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. A revived production, with musical contributions from Gretchen Cryer, is planned to tour grade-schools.[citation needed]
  • The Peterborough Players, based in Peterborough, New Hampshire, staged an adaptation by Joseph Robinette of Anne of Green Gables in August 2009.[30]
  • Anne and Gilbert is a musical adaptation of the books Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island. It depicts the relationship of Anne and Gilbert during their years as teachers and college students, as well as their return to Avonlea.[citation needed]

Television movies[edit]

Television series[edit]

Anne as she appeared in the 1979 Japanese anime adaptation of Anne of Green Gables.
Anne of Green Gables: The Animated Series

Web productions[edit]

  • Green Gables Fables (2014-2016), an American-Canadian web series which conveys the story in the form of Tumblr posts, tweets, vlogs, and other social media. It is a modern adaptation of Anne of Green Gables and Anne of the Island, with many of its elements changed to better suit 21st-century culture. Mandy Harmon portrays the main character, Anne Shirley.[citation needed]
  • Project Green Gables (2015-2016), a Finnish web series and a modern adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, which conveys the story in the form of vlogs. Laura Eklund Nhaga plays Anne Shirley.[citation needed]


As one of the most familiar characters in Canadian literature, Anne of Green Gables has been parodied by several Canadian comedy troupes, including CODCO (Anne of Green Gut) and The Frantics (Fran of the Fundy).


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    6:00 PM
    Anne of Green Gables
    It is the year 1907 on beautiful Prince Edward Island. Anne Shirley is mistakenly sent there to Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a midde-aged brother and sister who had intended to adopt a boy to help them on their farm. Anne must make her way with...
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External links[edit]