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Literature / Anne of Green Gables

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A Canadian series of novels written by Lucy Maud (L.M.) Montgomery, in the early years of the 20th century, revolving around Anne (make sure you spell that with an "e"!) Shirley, an impulsive, starry-eyed, and lonely orphan girl who is accidentally sent to live with a bachelor brother and sister in the tiny village of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island.

Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert had made the entirely sensible and practical decision to request a boy from the local orphanage to help the aging Matthew around their farm, Green Gables. Instead, they found themselves confronting a very redheaded little girl, who's already busily fantasizing about instead having 'raven black' hair 'rippling back from an alabaster brow' and being dressed in blue satin with puffed sleeves. Oh, and would they mind calling her "Cordelia"?


What follows would probably be hundreds of pages' worth of nauseating, and largely forgotten, sentimentality - except that Montgomery had what so many children's authors of the time lacked: a sense of humour. Thus, the series instead charts Anne's ongoing struggle between romantic idealism and practical reality.

The compromises she reaches tend to be uneasy at best. Anne's impulsiveness and daydreaming gets her into trouble as often as her boundless creativity wins her friends and accolades; her sensitive appreciation of the natural beauty around her is relentlessly tempered by the down-to-earth sense of the people that inhabit it. Her eventual emergence as a beloved wife and mother is marred by personal tragedy, and her involvement in the tragedies of others.

The first book starts off with the heroine at age 11 and with her in her 50s by the last, which follows her youngest daughter through World War I.


All the settings in the original book are based around real places on the Island, and the many stories and characters woven into Anne's were often inspired by older family and traditional tales. The "real" Green Gables and surroundings are today a veritable pilgrimage site for tourists from all over the world, and Lucy Maud Montgomery has found herself a place beside Lewis Carroll and L. Frank Baum in the canon of timeless children's literature.

The books (in chronological order, date of publication in parentheses) are:

  • Anne of Green Gables (1908) - Chronicling Anne's initially reluctant acceptance by the Cuthberts and her subsequent conquest of the rest of Avonlea — save impertinent new boy Gilbert Blythe, who gets the most famous slate in literature smashed over his head when he calls her "Carrots". Also contains the famous scenes in which Anne dyes her hair green (going for that "raven black" again) and gets best friend Diana 'dead drunk' on what they think is raspberry cordial.
  • Anne of Avonlea (1909) - Still living at home — and now "good friends" with Gilbert, who has given up the local school so that she can teach there for a couple of terms. Between times she has a lot of uncharacteristically frothy, girlish adventures. Written under duress mostly to satisfy clamour for a sequel, and generally considered the weakest of the series.
  • Anne of the Island (1915) - Anne finally leaves for college, meets and explores adulthood with a lively set of new room-mates, and receives a proposal from Gilbert. But what to do with her long-cherished dreams of Prince Charming?
  • Anne of Windy Poplars (1936) - Actually the last sequel written, filling in Anne's life between college and marriage (while Gilbert is away at med school). She takes a three-year contract as principal of Summerside High School, and shortly becomes her usual persuasive, pervasive force for good in the local community, facing professional rivalries and helping untangle personal dilemmas. Used as the basis for most of the second TV miniseries. It was published as Anne of Windy Willows in the UK, Australia, and Japan, but is otherwise unaltered.
  • Anne's House of Dreams (1917) - Now "Mrs. Dr. Blythe", Anne moves to a tiny house across the Island and near the sea. The strange, wild, darkly comic setting inspires some of Montgomery's best and most adult writing. We meet kindly Captain Jim and the man-hating Miss Cornelia, and probe the grotesque tragedy of the Moores, a beautiful but tormented woman and her imbecile husband.
  • Anne of Ingleside (1939) - Anne's six precocious children, aged from seven to infancy (and spanning five or six years), have various small coming-of-age adventures. Meanwhile, Anne faces what appears to be Gilbert's mid-life crisis on the eve of their anniversary. Has he fallen out of love with her at last?
  • Rainbow Valley (1919) - The spectre of innocence about to be lost, and the idealism that eventually led to disaster, hovers over these further adventures of the Blythe kids and their friends in the years immediately preceding WWI. In the moment, the major concern is the Rev. Meredith's motherless children, who appear to be young hellions but in reality are simply trying to do the best they can with no help from their abstracted father.
  • Rilla of Ingleside (1921) - The spotlight shifts to Anne's beautiful but willful youngest daughter, Rilla, as she goes through her teen years and becomes a young woman against the backdrop of WWI and her stalwart homefront community.
  • The Blythes Are Quoted (2009) - A combination of short stories, poetry, and vignettes narrated by the Blythes, divided into two parts according to chronology: pre-World War I and post-World War I up until World War II. Originally, most of the short stories were published as a collection without the Blythe-centric framing (and with some minor abridging) as The Road to Yesterday, making it another short story collection outside the series. However The Blythes Are Quoted was apparently intended all along as the ninth book in the series and has recently been re-established as such. The book reached the publisher's desk on the exact day of Montgomery's death (24 of April, 1942), but for whatever reason, it was left unpublished—most likely because it was the middle of WWII and the collection contained several anti-war stories.

In addition, there are two (three if you count The Road to Yesterday) companion books that tell stories of the surrounding community: Chronicles of Avonlea (1912) and More Chronicles of Avonlea (1920). Anne is referred to and makes a few cameos here and there, but she's never the focus. A few of these stories were turned into episodes of the spinoff television series Road to Avonlea, usually with the main characters of the show replacing the disparate protagonists of the stories. The stories of all three volumes were originally independent short stories written by Montogmery that were reworked to set them in the world of Green Gables. In 2008, for the hundredth anniversary of the original novel's publication, a Canadian writer, Budge Wilson, was given authorization to write her own prequel novel to the Anne series, titled Before Green Gables.

All the novels are now in public domain and have been adapted into several movies and television series. For instance, there is an anime series (Akage no An, later made into a manga as well) directed by Isao Takahata and storyboarded by Hayao Miyazaki as part of the World Masterpiece Theater series which also featured an adaptation of the authorized prequel Before Green Gables. The first series was a big hit in Japan, Europe, and Latin America and is said to be largely responsible for the influx of Japanese tourists who continue to visit Prince Edward Island to this day. However, its only television broadcast in Canada itself was in French (an English dub of the series, made in South Africa, does exist, but it appears it never aired in North America).

A series of Hollywood movies in the 1930s were produced, starring an actress who subsequently legally changed her name to Anne Shirley.

Arguably the most famous and popular adaptation is the franchise established by Canadian producer Kevin Sullivan in the mid 1980s, primarily involving a trilogy of two-part movies starring Megan Follows as Anne. Only the first, Anne of Green Gables, is actually a close adaptation of a Montgomery book. The second, Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel (aired in some countries as Anne of Avonlea) was as noted above constructed from various elements of the later Anne novels. The third, Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story, which followed more than a decade after the second chapter, was a completely original story set during World War I.

At this point, Sullivan was also deep into production on a long-running and hugely popular TV series. Road to Avonlea transposed characters from one of Montgomery's non-Anne books, The Story Girl and The Golden Road, into the Avonlea setting and mentioned Anne herself in passing. The Continuing Story sparked fandom wrath against Sullivan not only for his decision to create an original story, but because that story actually contradicted major continuity points in Road to Avonlea (specifically involving Anne and Gilbert's marriage).

In 2008, Sullivan produced a fourth film, Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning, which is a combination prequel and sequel to the trilogy of films, featuring Barbara Hershey as a middle-aged Anne during World War II looking back at her life before the events of the first film (with young Anne played by Hannah Endicott-Douglas). Sullivan has made a cottage industry out of the Anne franchise, as in 2001, he produced Anne Of Green Gables The Animated Series for PBS, which acts as an Alternate Continuity somewhere in the middle of the original novel after the majority of Anne's childhood mishaps have already occurred. The success of the series led to the release of an animated retelling of the original story, Anne: Journey to Green Gables.

CBC began airing another miniseries, Anne, in May 2017. Disconnected from Kevin Sullivan's programs, this instead presents a Darker and Edgier retelling of the first book. Netflix distributes it internationally, under the name, Anne with an E.

These novels provide examples of:

  • Abusive Parents:
    • Anne's guardians prior to Matthew and Marilla used Anne to look after their own children, neglected her education, and did not always provide her (and possibly their own children) with enough to eat. One of these guardians, Mr. Thomas, was frequently intoxicated and Anne was exposed to his violent behaviour.
    • Further examples include the emotional abuse inflicted upon Elizabeth Grayson by her great-grandmother and great-grandmother's maid (in Anne of Windy Poplars), and the physical abuse experienced by Mary Vance in the care of Mrs Wiley (Rainbow Valley).
    • A friend of Di Blythe's claims to be abused by her stepmother in Anne of Ingleside, and Di is very moved by the girl's plight, until it turns out to be untrue.
    • There are many references made throughout Montgomery's work to the plight of children who were adopted from asylums and used by their new guardians solely to work on the farm or in the house, without receiving affection, good clothing, and a proper education.
  • Accidental Aesop: An In-Universe one, and one that is Defied by Mrs. Lynde and Matthew. Marilla seems to be trying to teach Anne humility and modesty by making her wear plain dresses, but Mrs. Lynde is all too aware that using forced plainness to avoid the sin of vanity can result in the equally ugly sin of envy.
  • Actual Pacifist: Walter, who gets physically ill at the sight of blood. He can't understand why Jem actually likes to get into physical fights with the boys at school. He gets into one himself in Rainbow Valley over an insult to his mother and his friend, Faith, and feels all the more horrible when he wins. Naturally, this is all a foreshadowing of his crisis of conscience when WWI hits and he must decide whether to enlist or not.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • Marilla is furious with Anne when she gives Rachel Lynde "The Reason You Suck" Speech but feels guilty about wanting to laugh. This is probably why she doesn't object when Anne's apology includes "what I said about you was true, though I shouldn't have said it."
    • In general, Marilla feel this way about Anne's mishaps. She finds out that Anne grabbed the wrong bottle of drink while hosting Diana and gave her red currant wine instead of raspberry cordial. While Marilla tries not to laugh because Anne is upset about Mrs. Barry accusing her of getting Diana drunk, she's amused that Diana drank three glasses of it.
    • In the first Kevin Sullivan movie, this is Marilla's reaction to Anne smashing her slate over Gilbert's head. She can be seen smirking when Anne admits she smashed it "very hard I'm afraid" - and says that Anne's trial is over now and she can stay at Green Gables.
  • Adopt-a-Servant: Marilla and Matthew intend to adopt a boy so that Matthew will have help with the farm work, though the idea ends up scrapped when they decide to keep Anne. The practice was common for the time.
  • Adult Fear: Marilla has this reaction when Matthew has to carry Anne home from school; Anne then explains that Josie Pye dared her to climb on the school roof, and she fell, breaking her ankle. Of course Marilla has Anger Born of Worry and relief that it wasn't Anne's neck that broke. When Anne asks rhetorically how Marilla would have responded to a dare, Marilla firmly says she would have kept her feet on the ground.
    • In House of Dreams, Leslie Moore is the full-time caretaker of her husband, Dick. A head injury has reverted him to the state of a toddler. Even worse, in his right mind, Dick is an abusive husband, so there's a sense in which this is an improvement.
    • The birth of Anne and Gilbert's first child is fraught, but Anne is ecstatic to meet her baby girl... except, Gilbert is so silent. Gilbert has to break the news to his own wife: their little girl won't survive the day. The memory of little Joyce stays with Anne and Gilbert for the rest of their lives.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Several.
    • Gilbert takes to calling Anne "Anne-girl" after their marriage; Anne calls him "Gil" in return. Gilbert may have gotten the "Anne-girl" nickname from Diana's Aunt Josephine Barry, who originated it upon befriending Anne in the first book.
    • Rilla, the youngest Blythe child, has many nicknames. "Roly-poly" was a common one when she was young, having been a cherubic child. Her older brother, Jem, called her "Spider" when she hit her teens, thanks to her gangly appearence. Walter calls her Rilla-My-Rilla, a play on her name (Rilla, naturally, is short for Marilla, though it's actually her middle name). Ken Ford adopts this nickname for her when he starts seeing her in a romantic light.
    • Jem was called "Little Jem" by his mother and the family's housekeeper, Susan Baker, for years. He hates it, and tries valiantly to eradicate it. Finally, they promise not to call him "Little Jem"... when he's within ear-shot.
    • Shirley, the second youngest, is nicknamed 'little brown boy' by Susan, owing to his dark colouring.
    • Susan takes to calling Rilla's war-baby, Jims, "Little Kitchener", as she claims "Jims" is not a good Christian name for a child.
  • Age Lift: Several of the many adaptations - 1934, 1985, and Anne with an E, for example – lift Anne's age from eleven to thirteen or fourteen when she first comes to Green Gables. Since she ages to sixteen in the first book, the slight age lift from the start lets the same teenaged actress play her throughout.
  • Alpha Bitch: Josie Pye, especially in the movieverse of the books.
  • Altar the Speed: In Rilla of Ingleside, Rilla's friend Miranda and her sweetheart Joe have a rushed wedding because Joe is about to ship out for World War I and Miranda's father doesn't approve of the marriage.
    • This happens hilariously in Anne of Windy Poplars. Anne facilitates a hasty elopment for two young people, Dovie and Jarvis, who had been engaged for over a year but were unable to get married because Dovie's father did not approve. So, they elope and Anne is left with the task of telling Dovie's notoriously bad-tempered father. She goes to break the news ...only to have her father say that he already knew and is relieved, as he was beginning to think Dovie would never muster up the pluck to go through with it. He'd picked out Jarvis for his daughter when they were children, but was savvy enough to realize that Jarvis would lose interest if there were no challenge, so he pretended to disapprove in order to encourage Jarvis to hang around more.
    • Inverted with Anne and Gilbert's wedding; they wait three years to get married so Gilbert can attend medical school.
  • Always Identical Twins: Averted with Di and Nan Blythe. The fact that they're fraternal girl twins with different hair and eye colors is always seen as somewhat of a mystery to their friends, who are convinced that twins always look alike. One mean-spirited little girl convinces Nan that her dark hair is proof that they're not really twins and that Nan was actually Switched at Birth with a poor local girl who has red hair. Nan does the honorable thing and tries to switch back, only to find that the supposed "real Nan Blythe" is nearly a year older than she is, and that she takes after her paternal grandmother.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Though not a parent, Susan accidentally becomes this when Ken Ford visits Rilla before going overseas to fight in World War I. She starts recounting a story from when Ken was four, when she spanked him for teasing Nan, and then goes into another story about the time his mother spanked Ken for fighting over a kitten with Walter. Rilla is mortified.
  • Anyone Can Die: The novels cover a period of several decades, so the death of the older adult characters from the earlier books are not surprising. A few deaths are entirely unanticipated, though, and played for all appropriate drama, notably Matthew at the end of the first book, Anne's firstborn daughter Joy, and Walter in WWI.
  • Appearance Angst: Anne Shirley is picked on for having bright red hair, so she longs for any hair that isn't her hair color and at one point dyes it green by mistake. By her late teens, it has darkened into an attractive auburn.
  • Arcadia
  • Asexuality: Matthew may be a straight example of an aromantic asexual; he has never married (like his sister Marilla, though she had a beau in John Blythe until they broke up due to a quarrel) and is described as feeling intimidated around women.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption: In the first book when Matthew first drives Anne to Green Gables. At one point they pass through an area of great natural beauty that startles Anne in mid-speech; as the narrator snarks, Mrs. Spencer did not say: "Oh Mr. Cuthbert! Oh Mr. Cuthbert! Oh Mr. Cuthbert!"
  • Author Vocabulary Calendar: Punctuation example. Montgomery apparently discovered the ellipsis sometime between Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea and just couldn't get enough of it. You'd think she was being paid to crowbar a dozen into every page. Although by the way she used it, it is most likely that she thought it was a variation of an em-dash, or a more emphatic comma.
  • Baby Talk: Prior to their birth, Anne is adamant that baby talk not be spoken to her children, having been 'solemnly' impressed by a parenting book on the subject. She and Gilbert agree—no baby talk. This of course goes completely out the window the minute Jem is born, much to Gilbert's amusement. When he calls her on it, she airily dismisses the author of the book as a fraud, given that no-one could be expected to be that stern with a cute little baby.
  • Beetle Maniac: Carl Meredith really enjoys catching and examining insects.
  • Belated Love Epiphany:
    • Anne only realizes that she's in love with Gilbert when she learns that he's come down with a severe case of typhoid fever and might not make it through the night. She bitterly regrets not recognizing her feelings sooner, thinking he will die never knowing that she loved him. Fortunately, Gilbert recovers and they get engaged.
    • John Meredith proposed to Rosemary West mostly for pragmatic reasons, but didn't think he could ever love her as much as his late first wife. Rosemary knew she would have to reject him because of a promise to her sister Ellen and wasn't too bothered because she thought she could never fall in love after losing her fiance. But when John proposed, Rosemary couldn't reject him to his face because she just realized that she was in love with him. She asked him to give her time to think, and when Ellen refused to let her marry him, Rosemary wrote John a rejection letter. It's only after receiving the letter that John realized he genuinely loved her, and was devastated when he thought she didn't feel the same way. Eventually Ellen relents, everything is cleared up between John and Rosemary, and they get married.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Anna and Gilbert's initial relationship involves a lot of this, though Gilbert gets over being a jerk to her a lot sooner than she forgives him for it.
  • Berserk Button: Anne is initially very sensitive about her red hair, and retains a certain grudge against fate for giving it to her well into adulthood.
  • Best Friends-in-Law: All over the place, the result of marrying within a small community. Jem and Nan both marry into the Meredith family, which also counts as a Double In-Law Marriage. Rilla ends up marrying Ken Ford, who is not only her brothers' best friend, but the son of her mother's best friend in the Glen, Leslie.
  • The Bet:
    • Plays a role in the musical "Anne and Gilbert". After Gilbert gives up the Avonlea school to Anne so she can stay at Green Gables to care for Marilla, Anne decides to return the kindness by making a wager with him. Gilbert may propose on the day of his choosing, but if she refuses, he can never ask her again. He proposes to her following Diana and Fred's wedding, but she turns him down. He vows never to propose again.
    • A lesser example pops up in Anne's House of Dreams: one of the colorful characters Anne and Gilbert meet upon moving to Four Winds is Marshall Elliott, whose hair and beard have grown out nearly to his knees because he made a bet over a particularly fierce election that he wouldn't cut his hair or shave until his party was in office. His party, the Liberals, lost not only that election but every subsequent election for the next sixteen years - when they're finally victorious in 1891, Marshall promptly gets a haircut and shave and Anne completely fails to recognize him the next time she sees him.
  • Beta Couple: Miss Lavender and Stephen Irving fill the role opposite Anne and Gilbert's Alpha Couple in Anne of Avonlea. While Jonas "Reverend Jo" Blake only very briefly appears in-story, Phil Gordon's growing romance with him forms a subplot of Anne of the Island, again opposite Anne and Gilbert. And Leslie Moore and Owen Ford make up the Beta Couple in Anne's House of Dreams. Romance is not a major focus of Rilla of Ingleside, but Jem's relationship with Faith Meredith nevertheless provides a contrast to the subplot regarding Rilla's budding romance with Kenneth Ford.
  • Betty and Veronica: Gilbert Blythe and Roy Gardner, with Anne as the Archie. Played with in that although Anne is attracted to Roy because he seems like the embodiment of her brooding and dramatic romantic ideal, he turns out to be incredibly boring. Even his loving sister admits that Anne would have found being married to him dreadfully tedious
  • Beware the Quiet Ones and Beware the Nice Ones: As noted, Walter is usually a pacifist. He'd rather write poetry. Insult him about this, that's fine, sticks and stones. Insult his female friends...well, that's worse, but he'll let it go. Insult his mother... and you've gone too far. As noted above there's a scene in Rainbow Valley in which Walter, the laughing-stock of the town boys, bloodies their ringleader's nose after he says Walter's mother writes lies.
  • Black Comedy: The musical makes great use of this (see Darker and Edgier and Deliberate Values Dissonance below), most notably Mr. Phillips brief innuendo-laden song about "attending to the needs" of his female students.
  • Blithe Spirit: Anne in every single book, which makes her marital name very meaningful, which is lampshaded on a few occasions.
    • One of her twin daughters, Nan, is also portrayed as being this way. It's mentioned in Rainbow Valley that she is "Blythe by name and blithe by nature".
  • Bookworm: Anne, most definitely. Her son, Walter, is also the bookworm among his siblings and peers, which leads to many of the boys in town to bully and pick on him for being a "sissy."
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Davy Keith.
  • Brother–Sister Team: Matthew and Marilla.
  • Bumbling Dad / Parental Obliviousness: Reverend Meredith is a very nice man, and a wonderful minister, but has little or no idea what his own children are up to. Matthew also is at first befuddled by Marilla's tactics for raising Anne, and often is glad that she's the one who has to deal with the various scrapes and antics.
  • Call-Back: In Anne's House Of Dreams, Captain Jim enjoys hearing Anne recite "Crossing the Bar" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. He says he can relate to the poem because he doesn't want any "sadness of farewell" either. A few chapters later, Gilbert tells Anne about his death by saying, "Captain Jim has crossed the bar."
  • The Cameo: Anne Shirley, in Chronicles of Avonlea and Further Chronicles of Avonlea. She will appear exactly once in every story, either in person or as a piece of relayed gossip.
  • The Captain: 'Captain Jim' Boyd, who is technically no longer captain of anything but still manages to fulfill the trope decently well.
  • Carrying a Cake: In Anne of Ingleside, five-year-old Rilla is asked to take a cake to a church function for a fundraiser. She is under the impression that it is disgraceful to be seen carrying a cake, and dumps it in the river the first chance she gets. She then feels very foolish when she sees her beloved Sunday School teacher carrying her own cake to the church fundraiser.
  • Catchphrase: Rebecca Dew says, "This is the last straw!" nearly every time something goes wrong. Cornelia Bryant often tells unflattering stories about men that end with, "Wasn't that like a man?" or a similar phrase. Mrs Rachel Lynde seems to end every other sentence with "That's what!" and Davy Keith is always "wanting to know."
  • Chekhov's Gun: Anne tells Marilla that she was used by a family to raise three twins. Much later, when Minnie May falls ill, Anne cheerfully goes to take care of her because she says all three of the twins had the same sickness. The doctor explicitly says that Anne saved the little girl's life by staying up all night with her, and Mrs. Barry is grateful enough to let Diane and Anne become friends again.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: So many — fairly typical of the turn of the century small-town mileu.
    • Anne and Gilbert
    • Miss Lavendar and Stephen Irving
    • Rilla and Ken Ford
    • Faith and Jem
    • Nan and Jerry
    • Una and Walter
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: Miss Lavendar and Stephen Irving, though the latter ended up marrying someone else and having a son. It's a giant series of coincidences that bring them back together again, and they eventually fufill their marriage promise.
  • Children Raise You: Rilla, after she ends up taking care of orphan baby Jims for the duration of the war.
  • Chocolate of Romance: More like candy. In the first book, Anne is forced to share a desk with Gilbert after coming in late from recess. Trying to be nice, Gilbert slips her a candy heart that says "You're Sweet." Since this is shortly after the Carrots incident, Anne is not in the mood to accept. She drops it to the floor and crushes it under her foot. There is a nice Call-Back to this incident when the two get older; Gilbert gives Anne a pendant necklace in the shape of a pink candy heart.
  • The Clan: The Pringles of Summerside. The whole town is absolutely crawling with them, and where the family matriarch Miss Sarah Pringle goes, every last one of them unanimously follows, even the children. As the social elite of the town, they decide more or less single-handedly whether or not a newcomer is accepted in the community, which causes considerable difficulty for Anne in Anne of Windy Poplars when she's selected as principal of the school there over a Pringle cousin.
  • Close-Knit Community: Avonlea, Summerside, and Four Winds.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Young Anne has overtones of this, usually as a result of letting her imagination run away with her.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: Oddly, gender flipped with Anne. She idealizes romance and love so much she can't see that there are about five men waiting in line to marry her.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Defied. Gilbert, being a doctor, is very solicitous about Anne's health, explicitly wishing to refute the proverb "Cobblers' wives go barefoot and doctors' wives die young."
    • The saintly Rev. John Meredith is the father of a nest of rather wild and mischievous children.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: Both Anne of Green Gables and Rilla of Ingleside follow this trope. Anne of Green Gables shows how Anne matures over the course of five years from a careless, overly talkative, temperamental girl whose imagination frequently runs away with her to a still imaginative, but more mature and sensible teenager. Meanwhile, Rilla of Ingleside introduces Anne's youngest daughter Rilla as lacking in ambition and only caring about having fun, but World War I forces her to mature into a dependable and hard-working young woman.
  • Composite Character: Mrs. Lynde took on many of the characteristics of another irascible neighbor, Mr. Harrison, in Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel, partially as a result of Pragmatic Adaptation. Other plot functions of Mr. Harrison's were given to Gilbert (for example, he is the one who gives Anne advice on her writing now). Emmaline Harris in the same movie is a combination of "little Elizabeth" Grayson and Sophy Sinclair, with a touch of Paul Irving.
  • Condescending Compassion: The song "Great Workers For the Cause" from the musical is all about this.
  • The Confidant: Diana Barry knows loads of juicy secrets about Anne — including the truth behind Anne's shaved head post-botched dye job (there's a bit of deeper subtext here, as dyeing one's hair was seen as borderline immoral at this point). The author makes it clear that Diana, dutiful best friend that she is, never breathes a word about any of this.
  • Contemptible Cover: This edition drew the ire of many reviewers. Nothing says "Heartwarming story about a ten-year-old red-haired girl in Edwardian-era Canada" quite like a sexy blonde model in a flannel Abercrombie shirt.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: In Anne of Green Gables, Anne's punishment for coming in late from recess with the boys is to sit with them for the afternoon. Bad enough, but her teacher takes it a step further and puts her next to Gilbert Blythe...a Fate Worse than Death. A friend teases Anne later when she becomes a teacher and asks if she'll use the same punishment on her students.
  • Cover-up Purchase: Matthew Cuthbert, a painfully shy farmer, wants to buy a party dress for his daughter, Anne, but has trouble working up the courage to ask the shopkeeper for help with this and swaps in more "normal" requests last-minute as he loses his courage. As a result, the increasingly flustered Matthew ends up buying a garden rake (in mid-winter), asking to look at hayseed (out of stock...because it's mid-winter), and finally 20 pounds of brown sugar before giving up and asking a female friend to obtain one for him instead.
  • Daddy's Girl: Anne almost instantly develops a special relationship with Matthew, which leads directly to his convincing Marilla to keep the girl.
    • Anne and Gilbert's daughter Diana is noted several times as being her father's favorite. It's speculated in-story that it's because she looks just like Anne but shares Gilbert's temperament.
  • Damsel in Distress: Anne, after attempting to re-enact "The Lady of Shalott" with her friends. The boat she drifts down the river in springs a leak, leaving Anne trapped and clinging to the supports of a bridge. To her horror, who should come to her rescue? A very amused Gilbert Blythe.
  • Dance of Romance: Gilbert and Anne share one in the 1987 film adaptation of Anne of Avonlea. It's one of the first signs that Anne may have feelings for Gilbert; they dance for a few moments before she gets flustered and pulls away, apologizing and blaming it on her "two left feet".
  • Darker and Edgier: The Blythes Are Quoted in terms of tone and topic. In re: adaptations, also applies to the ''Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story" minseries, and the musical, which, while still very lighthearted, has a decidedly darker edge to its humour, mostly derived from Deliberate Values Dissonance.
    • The adaptation Anne with an E also strikes a darker tone, choosing to focus more on Anne's Dark and Troubled Past, and portrays Anne as having symptoms of PTSD as a result (while also retaining her usual love of whimsy, imagination, and big words despite this).
  • Darkest Hour: Anne of the Island, when Gilbert is dying of typhoid.
  • Daydream Surprise: There is a hilarious one near the end of Anne of Avonlea. Diana expresses her anxiety about her upcoming marriage to Anne, who reassures her she has plenty of time to plan for her "house o' dreams." This phrase strikes a chord in Anne, and she immediately begins to daydream of her own "house o' dreams" complete with a melodramatic, brooding master. To her annoyance, Gilbert keeps popping up in her fantasy, helping out around the house doing mundane things, like hanging pictures. She tries to shoo him away to no avail. She quickly drops the daydream to avoid dealing with it.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Most of Anne's kids are named after dead people or family/friends, beginning with eldest son James Matthew (after Captain Jim Boyd and Matthew Cuthbert). Ditto Leslie's kids, and most of the other Islanders'. This was a fairly standard naming convention in that place and time.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Marilla would be horrified to actually be considered one, but Montgomery does make great play of her emerging 'sense of humour'. Katherine Brooke also qualifies, albeit tinged with overt bitterness until Anne manages to soften her a little.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: It turns out that Leslie's husband actually is dead, and on the way to tell her the news, his nearly-identical cousin George Moore got a Tap on the Head and ended up with Identity Amnesia. Everyone presumed that he was the dead husband, and only an operation lets them all know this was the wrong assumption.
  • Death by Childbirth: Anne comes very close to it, twice. Once with her oldest child Joy, who passed away soon after, and with her sixth child and youngest son, Shirley. Little Elizabeth's mother actually did die giving birth to her, causing her father to effectively abandon her and her great-grandmother to resent her.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Leslie, whose pride and shame at her situation make her aloof until Anne's own tragedy creates a common bond between them.
    • Also Marilla, who is a very stern and strict woman, but finally comes to love Anne as her own daughter.
    • This is also the basis of Anne and Gilbert's relationship from the time she smashes her slate over his head until after he rescues her from her ill-fated attempt at playing Lady of Shalott, when she finally accepts his efforts to make peace.
    • Katherine Brooke is another one.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The musical does not shy away from satirizing the racist and colonial attitudes of the setting, and it is strongly implied that Mr. Phillips impregnates Prissy Andrews.
  • Delinquent Hair: Anne's attempt to dye it black.
  • Delivery Stork: A stork looking for a good home for a baby is used as a euphemism for Jem's birth in Anne's House of Dreams. A bit oddly placed, since Anne had already delivered one child, and while it wasn't gory, it was plainly written.
  • Denied Food as Punishment: Defied, since Marilla refuses to do this to Anne in the first book:
    Marilla: "Since when did you ever hear of me starving people into good behavior?!"
    • However, she will withhold dessert or substitute a simpler dinner as punishment. This irks Davy when he comes to Green Gables.
    • Subverted in Rainbow Valley: Una Meredith does this to herself for some misdeed and faints in church. Her absent-minded father is now forced to see that his kids have... issues.
  • Deus Angst Machina: Leslie's backstory is full of horrible deaths, suicide, forced Arranged Marriage, Domestic Abuse... and then she's forced to become The Caretaker to her now-imbecilic husband.
  • The Disease That Shall Not Be Named: Or even mentioned. Spanish Flu, which raged throughout the last year of World War I and killed enough people to depress global life expectancy by a decade—approximately five percent of the world population at the time—is never once brought up in Rilla of Ingleside, although the story ends before the Pandemic properly "kicked off" in the news. Weirdly, the same can be said of a lot of literature of the time, despite the fact that it significantly impacted civilian as well as military life and made people die like flies. Especially notable is everyone's complete lack of concern when the Blythes' youngest son is shipped overseas in 1918, a time when troopships could lose a quarter of their population to flu along the way. They worry about his boat getting torpedoed, but not at all about the far more likely chance he'd have of dying of the flu. In the final book, The Blythes are quoted (written 1942 but only published in 2009), the Spanish Flu played in integral part in several stories as several characters die from it.
    • Oddly enough, while Spanish Flu is never mentioned, it is noted that Walter had suffered from typhoid fever, the reason he had not been attending college the year Rilla of Ingleside starts.
    • Incidentally, LM Montgomery was almost killed by the Spanish Flu, and the uncaring attitude of her husband to her situation (he was going through a serious bout of what would probably be diagnosed as obsessive disorder and anxiety disorder), almost drove her to seek divorce.
  • Disposable Fiancé: Well, almost fiance. Roy Gardener fits perfectly under the "Bland Perfection" sub-type.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Gilbert teases Anne by calling her "Carrots" and tugging on her braid. Anne is livid and breaks her slate over his head. She subsequently ignores several honest attempts to apologize and gives Gilbert the cold shoulder for several years.
  • Does Not Like Men: Miss Cornelia, who likes to tell unflattering stories about men and has the catchphrase of "Isn't that just like a man?" She then shocks everyone by announcing with equal calm that she's getting married to a long-time beau (Marshall Elliott, who she explains she would have married years before but she refused to be seen walking down the aisle with him while he was still refusing to cut his hair).
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Gilbert is the epitome of the "Patient Friend" variation.
  • Double Entendre: Mild — and definitely more racy to modern readers — but still amusing, in The Blythes Are Quoted:
    Jerry Thornton: (to Susette King) "Well, he has a good start on me but a fast worker can do wonders in an afternoon."
  • Drama Queen: Anne herself.
  • Dramatic Necklace Removal: Anne intended to wear the necklace Gilbert gave her to the graduation dance. On the way there she hears gossip that he's about to announce his engagement to Christine Stuart. In a fit of disappointment and temper she rips the pendant off.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Gertrude Oliver has frequent prophetic dreams, including several to do with the war.
  • Dunce Cap: Though minus the actual dunce cap, as punishment for smashing her slate over Gilbert's head Anne is made to stand in front of the class with "Ann Shirley has a very bad temper. Ann Shirley must learn to control her temper." written behind her on the blackboard.
  • Eccentric Artist: Anne has a very vivid and whimsical imagination that causes her caring but prosaic guardian no end of frustration and sometimes leads to mishaps like nearly drowning when she tries to act out the funeral of Elaine of Astolat in a leaky rowboat. Although even some of her closest friends can't help finding her a little strange at times, her flights of fancy make her a talented writer who could probably have made a successful career of it had she chosen.
  • Emo Teen: Played for Laughs with the brooding, dramatic, incredibly dull Roy Gardner, whose own sister cheerfully tells Anne that he would have bored her to death had Anne married him. Yes, even in the 19th century, this trope was common enough to be parodied.
  • Empty Chair Memorial: Toward the end of Rilla of Ingleside, a place is set at the table for Walter.
  • Epistolary Novel: Quite large portions of Anne of Windy Poplars/Willows are narrated via Anne's letters to Gilbert.
  • Everyone Can See It: Anne/Gilbert, so much. To the point that Anne gets called out on it at least twice in Anne of the Island. Also Lampshaded in The Musical Anne & Gilbert with the song "Gilbert Loves Anne of Green Gables" where the Chorus sings about the two and how Anne will gradually understand that Gilbert loves her and return his love.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Josie dares Anne to climb the school roof when Anne says that her climbing a fence post is not impressive. When Anne actually falls, however, Josie is genuinely worried about her and apologizes. She's relieved that Anne only has a broken ankle.
  • Expanded Universe: Three — count 'em, three — short story collections dedicated exclusively to stories that fill out minor characters and incidents in Anne's universe. The final one, Road to Yesterday, was originally intended as more of a direct sequel, but Montgomery died before she could complete the Blythe-centric framing material for each story, and it was eventually published without. However, Road to Yesterday has now been republished as The Blythes are Quoted the way that Montgomery intended.
  • False Soulmate: Roy Gardner.
  • Fat and Skinny: Downplayed with Anne (skinny, especially as a child) and Diana (plump). The difference between their builds is only really highlighted when they are older and don't see one another as often any more, but the basic dynamic is there, with Anne the brighter and more imaginative of the two and thus usually the source of ideas.
  • Fiery Redhead: Need I explain?
  • First Love: Anne Shirley is Gilbert Blythe's from that moment she cracks a slate over his head, and he faithfully waits for years for her even to acknowledge him as a friend.
  • Flowers of Romance: Gilbert sends Anne lilies in congratulations (and to rekindle their drifting friendship) before their graduation from Redmond. This is a sneaky Call-Back to when Gilbert saved Anne from drowning in her ill-fated portrayal of the Lily Maid. For reasons she doesn't know, she ends up wearing his flowers to convocation, instead of her actual boyfriend Roy's. Gilbert is pleasantly surprised, and so is Roy—minus the 'pleasantly' part.
  • Foil: Katherine Brooke for Anne. It takes a careful reading of her backstory, but Katherine had a very similar childhood to Anne's, although it was at the hands of neglectful relatives rather than foster parents. But Katherine didn't have Anne's irrepressible nature, or more importantly get a Matthew and Marilla in her life, and thus grew up to be a brilliant but bitter woman with no joy in her life, who has trouble admitting she even has dreams, much less trying to put them into practice. A careful re-read of Windy Poplars heavily implies that Anne sees this too; it's why she works so hard to win Katherine's friendship, and help her change her life for the better. In fact, without her experiences with Katherine, Anne might not have succeeded in winning Leslie Moore's friendship either.
  • Forbidden Friendship: For a time, Anne and Diana — short-lived, in the chapters after Diana's accidental drunkenness and her mother's blaming Anne.
  • Foreshadowing: Walter foreshadows his own death in World War I a few times in Anne of Ingleside and Rainbow Valley (which latter book itself heavily foreshadows the WWI generation's experience at many points).
  • Forgotten Anniversary: Subverted in Anne Of Ingleside. Anne thinks Gilbert has forgotten their anniversary because he doesn't mention it at all during the day and he doesn't give her a gift. It turns out that he did remember and had sent away for a diamond pendant to give her. The pendant didn't get delivered until the evening, and Gilbert didn't say anything about the anniversary because he felt guilty about not having anything to give Anne.
  • Forgotten Trope: The episode where Anne tries to dye her hair "a beautiful raven black" and it comes out an unearthly green contains a leitmotif of the result being just desserts for Anne's "vanity",note  I.E. that she should have been contented with the looks God gave her. This attitude appears puritanical and judgmental today but was a common one at the time and in the place in which the novel is set.note 
  • Free-Range Children: The Blythe and Meredith children.
  • Friendly War: Anne and Gilbert's academic rivalry, at least on Gilbert's side. To Anne, after her 'humiliation' at Gilbert's hands, it's almost a matter of life and death.
  • Friendless Background: Anne had one prior to coming to Green Gables, leading her to create two imaginary friends.
  • Full-Name Basis: Anne and a number of other characters in Windy Poplars find it impossible to refer to Rebecca Dew by anything but her full name.
  • Generation Xerox: When Marilla was young she had a romance with Mr. Blythe but broke with him over a disagreement and her pride wouldn't let her forgive him. Years later her adopted daughter Anne has a similar relationship with his son Gilbert, and Marilla notices the similarities, including Anne almost letting pride prevent her from a good relationship with Gilbert.
  • Genki Girl: Anne is the epitome of this trope. She's described as increasingly and significantly quieter and calmer growing up, however.
  • Giant Poofy Sleeves: Anne spent half the first book lusting over puffed sleeves, which are the height of fashion at the time. When Matthew gives her a nice dress as a Christmas present, he makes sure that it has puffed sleeves. Just look at it!
  • Girl Next Door: Diana.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Anne, for most of the first book—until she dyes them and they have to be cut off.
  • Good Parents: One major subplot in the first book is Marilla becoming this. In fact, when Anne nearly gets herself killed late in the first book, it's made clear that Marilla has truly come to love the girl. Anne and Gilbert are also portrayed as extremely good parents, though it is at least partially justified since Anne spent much of her own childhood caring for other people's children.
  • Good Stepmother: In Rainbow Valley, the minister's motherless children are told by another child that all stepmothers are wicked, but the youngest nevertheless persuades a woman to marry her father because he has been miserable since she rejected him. In Rilla of Ingleside it is clear that she has made a perfectly lovely stepmother.
  • Gossipy Hens: Montgomery loves this trope. Entire chapters are often dedicated to teatimes — and at least one quilting bee — wherein characters regale each other with fascinating story of their neighbors.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Gilbert switching schools with Anne so she can stay with Marilla, even though it means he'll have to pay for his room and board and wait to go to college.
  • Grande Dame: Mrs. Rachel Lynde would certainly like to think she's one.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Anne, though she has no idea she's doing it. She gets very cold to anyone who gets too close to Gilbert or mentions they would like to. It leads to one of the funniest comments of the book (Anne of the Island):
    Phil Gordon:I must marry a rich man, Aunt Jamesina. That — and good looks — is an indispensable qualification. I'd marry Gilbert Blythe, if only he were rich.
    Anne: Oh, would you?
    Phil (teasingly): We don't like that idea one little bit, although we don't want Gilbert ourselves, oh, no....
  • Growing Up Sucks: A point touched upon in the early novels is Anne's fear of adulthood. She starts out the series already acting a few years younger than her peers, though this can be attributed to Anne's wildly overactive imagination. As she gets older, she longs to cling to childhood and bemoans the fact that people have to "grow up and change", a viewpoint that even slightly clouds her joy over her best friend Diana's engagement. This is entirely justified by the fact that Anne spent most of her actual childhood being an adult; her childhood began when she arrived at Green Gables. So when her friends have tired of childish things and want to move on, Anne is reluctant to leave behind the freedom and security of childhood. In the Kevin Sullivan film adaptation, a reference to this made by Marilla to Gilbert, warning him that even though she is near his age (at the time, they're in their late teens), she is "still very young" and that he should tread lightly. The entirety of Anne of the Island centers around Anne's growing pains from young girl into woman, culminating in probably the most harrowing night of her life—Gilbert's near-death illness.
  • Half-Identical Twins: Davy and Dora Keith, with a side of Different as Night and Day.
  • Happily Adopted: It goes both ways: Anne Shirley is very grateful for her upbringing by the Cuthberts, and both Marilla and Matthew are very proud of Anne.
  • Happily Married: Anne and Gilbert, for the most part.
  • Have a Gay Old Time:
    • As preteens, Anne and her friends form a story-writing club. Anne comments that one girl "puts too much love-making in her stories" and that "too much is worse than too little".
    • "Pathetic" was used differently back then, too.
    • On meeting Anne, Diana pronounces her a "queer girl" (which doesn't discourage gay fans who see their relationship as laden with homoerotic subtext).
    • In a similar way, L. M. Montgomery probably didn't mean to inspire chuckles when she named the domineering clan of Windy Poplars the 'Pringles.'
    • The novel frequently uses the word "ejaculate" to mean "exclaim".
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Anne, obviously.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Subverted in "The Road to Yesterday" of The Blythes Are Quoted. It turns out that the person believed to be braggart and bully Dick is actually his second cousin who looks just like him, Nice Guy Jerry Thornton.
  • Heel Realization:
    • Marilla has one when she thinks Anne took and lost a treasured brooch and then lied about it, so she bans her from attending the church picnic. When Marilla finds the brooch where she forgot she left it, she realizes Anne hadn't taken it at all. Anne admits she only said that she did because Marilla wouldn't believe her when she told the truth; that she only tried on the brooch but put it back. Marilla ends up asking for her forgiveness.
    • After the currant wine incident, Mrs. Barry bans Diana from seeing Anne. She too ends up asking Anne's forgiveness after she saves Minnie-May from dying of croup, finally realizing that getting Diana drunk really was just an accident and Anne never meant for it to happen.
  • He Is All Grown Up: Anne realises this about Gilbert in the concluding chapters of Anne of Avonlea, and it causes her to ponder some things....
  • Held Gaze:
    • Gilbert and Anne share a Passionate Look when the two reconnect in a gazebo in the second TV miniseries. After having held each other's gaze at least twice in the first miniseries, during important tests at school.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Not quite played straight. Gilbert Blythe, however, sure doesn't seem to mind her red hair as much as Anne does...
  • Heroic BSoD: Anne has one, after being told Gilbert is dying from typhoid fever.
    • Later Rilla when she finds out about Walter's enlistment. Curiously, both revelations come from third parties, but the second one was definitely a deliberate attempt to undermine Rilla, who fortunately rallies enough to get through the Junior Red Cross concert that she put together.
  • Home Sweet Home: After the war is over in Rilla of Ingleside.
  • Honorary Uncle: Marilla will not allow Anne to call her "Aunt Marilla," but allows Anne's children to do so.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Charlie Sloane, who is so far off of Anne's romantic radar that she's utterly stunned when he suddenly proposes to her in Anne of the Island. Nobody who knows the two of them ever considers him to have even the faintest ghost of a chance with her, aside from Charlie himself and his very proud family.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: In Anne Of Ingleside Di Blythe has an unfortunate tendency to get suckered by new schoolmates with compelling - and almost completely fabricated - stories. One girl convinces Di that she leads a fabulously wealthy and glamourous life, only for the reality to end up being underwhelmingly shabby; another goes the other direction and spins a pathos-laden tale of the abuse she suffers at home which turns out to be equally untrue (and adds insult to injury by turning around after spending the night at Ingleside and bad-mouthing Di's home and family to the other girls).
  • Hot for Preacher: Phil Gordon, with Jonas Blake a.k.a. "Reverend Jo". (Notably not a Sexy Priest.)
  • Hot for Student: Mr. Phillips and Prissy Andrews definitely have a thing going. The musical takes it a step further, making it blatantly obvious that the two are sleeping together.
  • Howl of Sorrow: Little Dog Monday does this at his train station post the night Walter is killed in World War One.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • In Anne of Ingleside, several women hold a quilting bee at Anne's house and spend all afternoon gossiping about everyone else in town. One woman asks if a certain rumor is true, and another says it isn't: "I don't know how such stories get around, I'm sure. You'd think some people never did anything but repeat gossip."
    • Aunt Mary Maria is frightened of fire and she constantly gives Anne and Susan lectures about fire safety. But she's the one who carelessly sets the curtains of her room on fire while walking around with a candle.
  • I Am Not Pretty: Anne. In the first book she's justified in thinking so, since she really is homely by the standards of her day. Her later belief that she's still not pretty, even when she's grown more attractive with age, mostly stems from how teased she was as a child. (Montgomery used a picture of Evelyn Nesbit she had come across in an advertisement as her mind's-eye picture of what Anne looked like by her late teens. Nesbit was actually one of the most celebrated models of the era, whose devastating good looks led to her dealing with a frenzy of rich, obsessed suitors.)
  • I Ate WHAT?!: More like "I cooked with what?" Anne has such a terrible cold that she can't tell vanilla flavouring from anodyne liniment, a medicine that is rubbed into the skin to relieve stiff muscles. Hilarity Ensues when her cake is served for tea—at least Mrs. Allan (Marilla's guest) thinks it was hilarious. Anne is humiliated.
  • I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship: Anne's reason for rejecting Gilbert's first proposal.
  • Imaginary Friend: Anne had two growing up, much to Marilla's disapproval.
  • Improbable Age: Maybe, but Anne becomes a high school principal straight out of college at 22. This partially explains why Katherine Brooke, who is older and has taught at the school for much longer, is so resentful of Anne (It is worth pointing out that Anne does have a B.A. while Katherine just has a teaching certification. Katherine even brings this up later.). The movie flipped the roles around and made Brooke the principal and Anne the rank-and-file teacher.
  • In Harmony with Nature: Anne has elements of this — she asserts she would never be happy in a place without trees. Her children Diana and Walter especially follow in her footsteps. A number of the short stories explicitly tie their protagonists' happiness to a similarly fundamental appreciation of natural beauty.
  • Initiation Ceremony: Gilbert is hazed when he joins a college fraternity by being forced to spend a day walking in the business district wearing an apron and sunbonnet.
  • Insufferable Genius: Anne's student Jen Pringle, although the insufferable part is mostly the result of participation in her family's feud and quickly disappears. In the book, Anne initially compares her to a young Becky Sharp. In the movie, Jen's more of a straight-up Alpha Bitch.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Anne becomes friends with her best friend Diana's Great-Aunt Josephine, Mrs. Allan (the minister's wife), and her teacher Miss Stacy. In Anne of Avonlea, as a teacher she befriends her pupil Paul Irving, and Miss Lavender, who becomes Paul's stepmother. In Anne of Windy Poplars, she becomes friends with a young girl named Elizabeth, and in Anne's House of Dreams, she becomes friends with Captain Jim (who is in his seventies) and Miss Cornelia, who is fifty.
    • Anne and Paul's friendship is kind of a subversion: when they meet, Paul is a child and Anne is effectively an adult, so they function as this; but their actual age difference is only six years.
  • In the Blood: A realistic feature of the small-town setting, wherein everybody knows everyone else down through the generations. Somewhat subverted, however, with the Pringles.
  • Intro-Only Point of View: Mrs. Rachel Lynde is the first POV.
  • I Will Wait for You: In Rilla of Ingleside, during the war, Jem's dog greets every train at the station in hopes of Jem being in one of them until Jem eventually does come home from the war. It's a Tear Jerker.
    • Also from Rilla of Ingleside: Rilla receives her first kiss from childhood friend/crush Ken Ford, who begs her not to kiss another boy until he returns from war. She keeps her promise, and the book ends with their engagement.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mr. Harrison and Norman Douglas.
  • Just Friends: Anne and Gilbert have this type of relationship after they grow beyond the one-sided Slap-Slap-Kiss of their younger days, the two tropes succeeding each other in Anne and Gilbert's love story.
  • Keep the Home Fires Burning: It drives the plot behind Rilla of Ingleside.
  • Kill 'Em All: This is what Diana does to her characters in the girls' story-writing club, because she can't think of anything else to do with them. The club also copy out their "best" stories, in which "nearly everyone" dies, to send to Diana's aunt Josephine, who finds them hilarious.
  • Kill the Cutie: Walter, who was the kind-hearted poet of the Blythe children, is killed in World War One.
  • Kind Hearted Cat Lover: Captain Jim has a big orange cat called the First Mate that he rescued after it had been abandoned and starved as a kitten. He makes Anne promise to give the cat "a bite and a corner" after he dies.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Kenneth Ford, apparently.
    • Gilbert is arguably a younger version. Diana tells Anne how he spends his time teasing all of the girls, but after Anne breaks her slate over his head, he seems to focus his attention on her.
  • Landline Eavesdropping: A party-line phone example in Anne's House of Dreams. Anne notes that telephones have finally reached Avonlea (it's around 1890, telephones have only been around in Canada for about ten years at this point). Of course all of the busybodies listen in on calls. Anne recognizes the sound of a clock in the background during a call, a clock that she knows belongs to a busybody that's listening in. She asks if the person she's calling has a new clock, cue the click of the busybody hanging up.
  • Large Ham: As a child, Anne seems to have a knack for doing and saying everything in the most melodramatic way possible.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: At that time, dyeing one's hair would be seen as extremely vain, and so Anne gets her just desserts for trying to dye her red hair black.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Marilla does this toward the end of the first book.
  • Lies to Children: Anne often explains things to Davy in a lyrically philosophical way, only to have him accuse her of telling him lies. This leads Anne to lament at one point why Davy "can't tell the difference between a fairy tale and a falsehood".
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Nan and Jerry. Their "preferred method of sweethearting" is to go about their "ceaseless wrangles and arguments on profound subjects."
    • Also, Susette King and Jerry Thornton in "The Blythes Are Quoted''. They bicker and banter throughout the story, snarkier on Susette's part when she thinks he's Dick and more light-heartedly—with serious undertones—flirty on Jerry's. Example:
    Jerry: (as Dick) Susette, you are beyond any question the most exquisite creature I have ever seen.
    Susette: Do you say that to every girl half an hour after you've met her?
  • Like Father, Like Son: Career-wise, Jem takes after his father, attending medical school to become a surgeon. Personality-wise, it's gender flipped—Walter is almost exactly like Anne in personality. Di's personality is exactly like her father's, while Nan takes after Anne, though not nearly as much as Walter. Rilla, Shirley, and Jem do not specifically take after one parent or the other.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: and loads, and loads, and loads...
    • It backfires, however. Since Anne of Windy Poplars was written after Anne's House of Dreams, absolutely nobody from Summerside attends her wedding or even sends a present. And just about every B- and C-list character in the previous books was at least Name Dropped, if they didn't outright attend.
  • Long-Distance Relationship: Anne and Gilbert's engagement is mostly conducted at long distance; he is at Redmond for medical school while she is teaching high school miles away. They can only see each other during the summers and at Christmas.
    • Jem and Faith, too, who are engaged before he leaves for World War I.
  • Love Epiphany:
    • Anne has a jarring one in Anne of the Island when she learns Gilbert is dying of typhoid fever.
    • Marilla has a platonic one in the first book, after Anne climbs up onto a roof on a dare and falls off. Seeing her injured makes Marilla realize she isn't just fond of Anne, but has truly come to love her.
  • Love Revelation Epiphany: Gilbert hopes this will happen when he confesses his love to Anne in Island, but Anne is so Oblivious to Love that it doesn't. She doesn't realize her own feelings for Gilbert until he falls gravely ill.
  • Love at First Punch: Gilbert confesses to Anne that he first fell in love with her after she had cracked the slate over his head.
  • Love Hurts: Poor Gilbert. In some cases, this is literal for him.
  • Love Letter: Entire pages of Anne's letters to Gilbert in Anne of Windy Poplars are omitted because they are entirely too sappy and have no bearing on the plot.
  • Maiden Aunt: Marilla, despite not being Anne's aunt, certainly acts like one. There is also Aunt Josephine Barry, but she is more of a subversion.
    • Aunt Jamesina in Anne of the Island certainly counts.
    • Susan Baker acts as this to the Ingleside children.
  • Mary Sue: In-universe example. Anne openly wants to be one... right down to the 'velvety purple eyes.'
    • Every single heroine in her Story Club stories. Later LampshadedTrope in Anne of the Island when Anne rediscovers the old Story Club stories and finds them killingly hilarious because of their unrealistic heroines. Montgomery satirizes all Mary Sues through this incident.
  • The Masochism Tango: Ellen West and Norman Douglas.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: The Blythe children. It's Hilarious in Hindsight, since Anne had sworn never to forgive Gilbert for the slight against her hair. Well, not only does she forgive him, but they marry and have seven children (six living).
    • It really stands out, too, since none of the other main characters who have children have nearly that many. The only family to come close is the Meredith family, with four children. Large families, at the time, were most often found among the poorer classes, and the paradox of a 'blessed event' thus becoming an increasing burden is given a darkly comedic edge; in Anne's House of Dreams, Miss Cornelia is sewing a dress for an eighth baby out of a desire to make it feel "as if it were really wanted."
  • Maternal Death? Blame the Child!: In Windy Poplars, Elizabeth Grayson lives with her extremely strict and unloving great-grandmother because her father can't bear to be around her due to her mother dying in childbirth. It's implied that "the Woman", her great-grandmother's servant, is also very strict towards Elizabeth for the same reason, since she was apparently very fond of Elizabeth's mother when she was alive. Thankfully, by the end of the book Elizabeth's father realizes the error of his ways and how little affection her great-grandmother has given her, and he takes Elizabeth with him to live in Boston.
  • The Matchmaker: Anne, though it doesn't always work out.
  • Meaningful Echo: In Anne of the Island, Anne and Gilbert take a walk in the woods while Marilla and Mrs. Lynde discuss their changing relationship. Mrs. Lynde tells Marilla they will "be a match someday," while Marilla says they are still children. Mrs. Lynde points out that Anne and Gilbert aren't children anymore and that she was married by the time she was Anne's age. In Rilla of Ingleside, Anne, Miss Cornelia, and Susan have almost an identical conversation regarding Jem and Faith.
  • Missing Mom: The Meredith kids's mom, Jims' mom.
  • The Missus and the Ex: In Anne of Ingleside, Anne and Gilbert are invited to dinner at a socialite's house (on their anniversary, no less), only to find that Gilbert's college girlfriend Christine Stuart had also been invited. Since Anne has become convinced Gilbert has fallen out of love with her, this doesn't help. It also doesn't help when Gilbert compliments and converses with Christine all night. Anne alternates between snarking silently about this and doubting herself. Gilbert confesses later that he spent the evening tuning out everything Christine had said and that she had not aged well. The reason he had been so distant with Anne was because he was worried over a patient, for whom he had prescribed radical treatment his colleagues did not approve of. It worked, after several weeks.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • In Anne of Green Gables, this happens a lot. One notable event is when school lets out, and Anne is bickering about Josie about if anyone could climb the roof of the school. Josie dares Anne to do it. Anne climbs up... and then falls. Everyone is seriously worried that she's been killed, Marilla chews out Anne for being so foolish, and a broken ankle keeps Anne laid up for weeks afterward.
    • Used in Anne of the Island (the book) and Anne of Avonlea (the miniseries) very well, especially because it is so sudden how the atmosphere changes to happy to being at home again (for Anne) to unspeakable grief at how abruptly she is informed that Gilbert Blythe is dying, and she may well be too late to let him know that she loves him.
    • Also in Anne's House of Dreams, when Gilbert and Anne's sunny life at Four Winds is abruptly changed after their first child, Joy, dies only a day after her birth.
  • Moral Guardian: Marilla Cuthbert initially does this for Anne in-universe, after discovering the girl has never been taught to say even a simple prayer.
  • More Hero Than Thou
  • Motor Mouth: Anne, who famously introduces herself with a 5-page long monologue. This lessens noticeably as she grows up, however.
  • Mouthy Kid: Mary Vance
  • Mr. Fanservice: Most girls claim Gilbert Blythe as their first literary crush, but not for the usual reasons. While the books do make a point to tell the reader just how handsome he is, the reason he has just a rabid fan following is more due to his love for Anne and the way he shows it. He is the epitome of the Dogged Nice Guy despite his first interaction with Anne. Poor guy waits a decade for her to realize that she's in love with him, too, and spends that ten years very patiently trying to show her that he loves her unconditionally.
    • Walter Blythe in Rilla of Ingleside — a dark-haired, grey-eyed, tormented poet who goes to war in spite of his fear of pain and the horrors of it. His dad Gilbert can also come across this way, largely thanks to his patiently devoted courtship of Anne.
  • Mr. Imagination: Young Anne. Her children, as well, have Rainbow Valley, in which they act out all sorts of vivid imaginary play.
  • The Musical: There is one, in fact. It is called Anne & Gilbert: the Island Love Story, and it premiered in 2005. Since, it has become internationally acclaimed.
    • That would be, at best, the second such musical. The first has been running on P.E.I. and elsewhere since 1965.
    • There was another 2005 musical that ran Off-Broadway starring Piper Goodeve in the title role.
  • My Hair Came Out Green: Anne thinks there's nothing worse than having red hair. She learns how wrong she is when she tries to dye it black: even being shaved bald is preferable to the hideous green hair that is the result of Anne's vanity. Due to the values of the time, there is definitely a lesson being taught here.
  • Nature Lover
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Anne finds this after she rejects Gilbert's proposal in Anne of the Island, and their close friendship is irrevocably changed. It really hits home after she has her Love Epiphany and finds that friendship is no longer enough for her but she thinks she may have ruined everything.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted, though it might be lost on modern audiences. In Anne of Green Gables, the doctor warns Marilla to let Anne get plenty of exercise and fresh air and leave off her strenuous studying for the summer—Anne is around 14 at the time. In the time period this story is set (the 1880s) most medical professionals believed that menstruation weakened women and made them anemic and nervous, and that too much cerebral activity could make it worse. At the time the book was published, older girls and women would understand what was happening to Anne, without it being spelled out.
  • No Sparks: Anne and Roy Gardner's relationship in Anne of the Island.
  • Oblivious to Love: Anne, naturally, to Gilbert's love for her. However, she takes it one step further; not only is she oblivious to Gilbert's feelings for her, she's also oblivious to her feelings for him. When she realizes that she's in love with him, it blindsides her. No one else is surprised; it's been obvious to them for years.
  • Obvious Pregnancy: Highly averted — another case of Values Dissonance between the mores of Montgomery's day and modern readers, who are used to discussing the concept much more frankly. With only a few mentions of preparations, like making baby clothes or discussing if they should tell their other children or wait, it's hard to even tell when Anne and Gilbert are expecting a baby. There was no preamble to Jem's arrival...just his birth!
    • There is a very vague reference to Anne's pregnancy with Jem. A couple of chapters before the birth, Anne is described as "once more a dreamer of dreams", but that her dreams are now tainted with anxiety since her ill-fated first pregnancy.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. Several characters share the same name, one notable instance being the two Josephines in the stories - Josie Pye and Diana's Aunt Josephine, and also Davy Keith and Dr. David Blythe, Gilbert's uncle, and of course Jem Blythe and Captain Jim, and also Anne Blythe and Nan Blythe, and Diana Barry Wright and Di Blythe.
    • Especially averted in The Blythes are Quoted, which partially explains why its earlier edited version changed the setting of short story "The Road to Yesterday" from WWII to post-WWI 1920s. Gilbert Ford, named after his grandfather, and Walter Blythe, named after his uncle, were already known examples. But there's also Jem Blythe, named after his father; Di Meredith, named after her aunt; Rilla Ford, named after her mother; and an Anne who is specifically differentiated from Mrs. Dr. Blythe.
  • The One That Got Away: Near the end of Anne of Green Gables, we find out that John Blythe is this for Marilla. She and he had a fight, and she wouldn't forgive him when he asked her to. And when she finally made up her mind to forgive him, it was too late. It's mentioned a few more times as Anne and Gilbert get closer; she even has a passing thought that had only she forgiven John Blythe, Gilbert would have been her son.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Captain Jim's full name is Captain James Boyd, but nobody ever calls him that.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Gilbert only wanted to get Anne's attention when he called her "Carrots" but immediately realizes it was stupid and spends the next five years regretting it. And he's usually a little more careful about what he says to her from then on.
  • Opposites Attract: Philippa Gordon is flighty, fashionable, and more than a little silly. She finds true love with Jonas, a homely minister.
  • Ordered Apology: When she is rude to Mrs. Lynde on first meeting her.
  • Pair the Smart Ones: Anne and Gilbert were both the top of their class and competed with each other academically.
  • Parental Abandonment: In Windy Willows, little Elizabeth's mother died when she was a baby, and her father her in the care of an unloving great-grandmother and didn't contact her for the next ten years. Anne sends him a letter explaining how lonely Elizabeth is without him, and he eventually sees the error of his ways and takes Elizabeth to live with him in Boston.
  • Parental Substitute: The friendship between Anne and Captain Jim often has a distinct resemblance to a father-daughter relationship.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Reverend Meredith and Rosemary West.
  • Peaceful in Death: Ruby Gillis, who exerts herself to be almost manically lively because, as she admits tearfully to Anne in private, she knows she doesn't have much longer to live and is desperately afraid of dying. After her death, Anne observes how peaceful she looks at her funeral and takes some comfort in the thought that her death did not turn out to be the terrifying event she was so dreading.
  • The Penance: A mild one. After Anne has to have her head shaved after trying to dye her hair, she vows to look in the mirror every day to remind herself of her vanity.
  • Pet Positive Identification: In Anne's House of Dreams, Dick Moore's dog Carlo doesn't recognize its master when the latter returns, mentally disabled, after a long voyage. The man's sanity is restored thanks to a new successful treatment, and it turns out he is in fact Dick's almost identical-looking cousin.
  • Platonic Co-Parenting: Anne is raised by siblings Matthew and Marilla.
  • Platonic Declaration of Love: Anne and Diana declare their love for each other when they think they won't meet again.
  • Plucky Girl: Montgomery's default female model, to the point where very fragile and 'ethereal' females are generally held in mild contempt. Major examples include Anne, Philippa Gordon, Faith Meredith, and Persis Ford — from what we've seen in Anne of Ingleside.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Twins Nan and Di Blythe.
    • Even more so, twins Davy and Dora Keith.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: In the musical, minor antagonists Mrs. Pye and Mrs. Blewett have some disparaging things to say about Tartrars, Turks, and the Roma.
  • Posthumous Sibling: Anne and Gilbert's first child Joyce died in infancy, but they had six other children after her.
  • The Power of Love: It saves Gilbert from death by typhoid fever. While heartbroken over Anne's rejection of his proposal (twice) and very sick, he receives a letter from Anne's friend Phil, who tells him that Anne is not getting married to Roy Gardner and advises him to "try again". Gilbert remarks to Anne later that the doctors were amazed at his speedy recovery after that.
  • Power Trio: Anne, Gilbert, and Diana.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: In the first Megan Follows film, the producers didn't want Anne to give up her academic dreams at the end, so a throwaway comment of Anne's in the book that she's planning to keep up her studies turns into a full-blown correspondence course.
  • Preacher's Kid: The Merediths, whose earnest efforts to live up to what the community requires of them only sink them deeper and deeper into trouble with it.
  • Prim and Proper Bun:
    • Marilla has one, but it seems to loosen up after awhile.
    • Susan Baker is described as having a "spiky little knob of grey hair." This fits her personality, but it's also a practical style for someone who spends all day doing housework and caring for children.
  • Product Placement: After Anne's short story is rejected by a literary magazine, Diana sends it to a baking powder company's advertisement competition, after rewriting the ending so that all hardships are conquered by love and loving uses of baking powder. The story is published as an advertising flyer for the company and—to Anne's eternal horror—becomes roaringly popular. (Interestingly given modern opinions about such blatant product placement, Anne is the only person who sees any reason to be embarrassed about this; her friends and acquaintances consider it an enterprising and practical thing to do and are nearly universally quite proud of Anne's success.)
  • The Promise
    • Anne and Diana solemnly vow to be "bosom friends" forever. Though they begin to grow apart after Anne leaves to attend college while Diana stays home and marries, their friendship remains special to both of them throughout the books.
    • Ellen and Rosemary West are spinsters, and years ago they promised to never marry and leave each other. Ellen holds Rosemary to it, implacably, when Mr. Meredith proposes. When Ellen reunites with her New Old Flame, she doesn't even ask, but she does tell him why, and he asks; Rosemary agrees to free her — and refuses to tell Mr. Meredith that yes, she can marry him after all. So Ellen can't accept it and is quite certain they will be miserable together.
    • A sillier example of this is Rilla's acquiring a Nice Hat at the start of the war. After being chastised for shopping during a war, she promises to wear it for three years or until the war ends, whichever is longer. "I hate that hat already." She also gleefully destroys it as soon as the war's over. And it wasn't so much for shopping—she'd been sent to buy a new hat—as it was for spending so very much on an ostentatious hat. Frugality during wartime is a running theme throughout the book, with disapproval being heaped on others who seem too materialistic.
  • Proper Lady: Diana and Marilla, in contrast to Anne. However, Anne does try her best to be one.
  • Public Domain Character: And oh, doesn't Prince Edward Island love it that way.
  • Punctuation Changes the Meaning: Davy misinterprets a phrase in his catechism: "Why should we love God? Because he makes, preserves and redeems us." Davy misses the comma and believes that God makes jam ("Preserves is just a holy way of saying jam"). Anne must point out that the comma is important in the meaning.
  • The Quiet One: Una Meredith and Shirley Blythe, for each respective family.
  • Quitting to Get Married: Anne gives up being principal to marry Gilbert, common for the time period.
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: In Anne Of Windy Poplars, one of Anne's matchmaking efforts goes Off the Rails when the girl's mischievous siblings start implying to her would-be fiance that their father is responsible for all manner of over-the-top abuses ("what would you think of a man who...") while the man himself listens in increasingly infuriated silence. What finally pushes him past the limit of his tolerance? When his wife, in a desperate attempt to defend him, declares how beautifully he crochets.
  • Reality Ensues: Pointed out by Marilla quite bluntly over the red currant wine and cordial mix-up; Diane wouldn't have gotten drunk from raspberry soda, but three glasses of it would have made her sick regardless and she shouldn't have drunk so much because that's greedy.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: When Gilbert pledges a fraternity in Anne of the Island.
    "As a preparatory initiation ordeal he had to parade the principal business streets of Kingsport for a whole day wearing a sunbonnet and a voluminous kitchen apron of gaudily flowered calico. This he did cheerfully, doffing his sunbonnet with courtly grace when he met ladies of his acquaintance. Charlie Sloane, who had not been asked to join the Lambs, told Anne he did not see how Blythe could do it, and HE, for his part, could never humiliate himself so. "Fancy Charlie Sloane in a `caliker' apron and a `sunbunnit,' " giggled Priscilla. "He'd look exactly like his old Grandmother Sloane. Gilbert, now, looked as much like a man in them as in his own proper habiliments."
  • Rejected Apology: Marilla and Anne go to apologize to Mrs. Barry for the raspberry cordial fiasco on two separate visits. Mrs. Barry blames Anne for serving her daughter red currant wine, and yells at Marilla for making it in the first place.
  • Releasing from the Promise: Ellen refuses this to Rosemary. When Rosemary nobly frees Ellen and refuses to consider taking her own freedom, Ellen can't take it.
  • Remembered Too Late: No, Marilla, the raspberry cordial is in the cellar, that's currant wine in the pantry. Poor Diana and poor, poor Anne.
  • Replacement Sibling: Marilla suggests, when Jem is born, that he will take the place of Joy. Anne replies that Joy has her own place in her parents' hearts, as will Jem.
  • Retired Badass: Captain Jim lives a quiet life in Glen St. Mary, but he became a sailor when he was only 15 and spent many years sailing all over the world. He has survived shipwrecks, severe storms, pirate attacks, and countless other life-threatening situations.
  • Re Vision: Anne of Windy Poplars and Anne of Ingleside were written after the rest of the series had been concluded to appease the rabid fans.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: Middle-class rural doctor Gilbert vs. wealthy urban Roy Gardener, poor minister Jonas Blake vs. blue-bloods Alec and Alonzo, etc.
    • Gilbert even lampshades it after he and Anne get married. Anne tells Gilbert that Leslie's life was wasted by staying in Four Winds taking care of her mentally disabled husband, that she was born for leadership in social and intellectual circles. Gilbert makes the point that some people might consider Anne's B.A. from Redmond wasted by being married to a poor country doctor. He goes on to say that if she had married Roy Gardner, she could have been a leader in social and intellectual circles. Anne is not amused.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Anne and Diana. When Diana's mother forbids her from seeing Anne, Anne and Diana speak almost exactly like two lovers who are forced to stay apart (though they usually arent's so sentimental):
    Anne: Oh, Diana, will you promise faithfully never to forget me, the friend of your youth, no matter what dearer friends may caress thee?
    Diana: Indeed I will, and I’ll never have another bosom friend — I don’t want to have. I couldn’t love anybody as I love you.
    Anne: Oh, Diana, do you love me?
    Diana: Why, of course I do. Didn’t you know that?
    Anne: No. I thought you liked me of course but I never hoped you loved me. Why, Diana, I didn’t think anybody could love me. Nobody ever has loved me since I can remember. Oh, this is wonderful! It’s a ray of light which will forever shine on the darkness of a path severed from thee, Diana.
  • Said Bookism: Used frequently. Instead of saying things, characters exclaim, cry, sigh, falter, demand and so on.
  • Scenery Porn: One of the reasons for reading the books. Montgomery limns the beauty of the Island so gorgeously it makes you want to go there for that sake alone to see the Scenery Porn.
  • Schoolmarm: And schoolmasters. There are so many in the series, as all of the schools on the Island minus colleges are one-room schoolhouses. Anne has a few, then eventually becomes one, as do many of her classmates. Gilbert becomes a schoolmaster, and it becomes a plot point that he gives up his Avonlea school post so Anne can remain closer to Green Gables and assist an ailing Marilla.
  • Secret Identity: There's a bit of this in The Road to Yesterday/The Blythes Are Quoted. George Fraser assumes a made-up identity Don Glynne when courting Christine in "The Pot and the Kettle'' to see if she would love him even if he wasn't rich. Jerry Thornton is mistaken for his second cousin, Dick, by Susette King but decides to go along with the charade for a pragmatic reason — until she figures it out towards the end.
  • Shipper on Deck: By Anne of the Island, the Anne/Gilbert UST has become so prominent that everyone close to Anne ships her with Gilbert. Mrs. Lynde and Marilla are overt supporters of the two, and then Davey innocuously asks if Gilbert will marry Anne soon, which is then followed by Mrs. Irving nee Lavender scolding Anne about her stubbornness of her denials of not loving Gilbert. Philippa Blake is aghast when Anne refuses him, and if you hold to the Fanon view that Diana has feelings for Gilbert but selflessly hid them because she knew her "bosom friend" was in love with Gilbert, that counts too.
    • In the Kevin Sullivan films (AOGG 1, part 2), Diana actually asks Anne this after she'd blanked Gilbert at the party where Anne sports that puffed-sleeve dress. IIRC, she actually confesses to being interested in him but backing off for Anne's sake.
  • Sibling Rivalry:
    • Surprisingly absent, considering there are six Blythe children.
    • We don't see too much of that with the Meredith children, either. The closest is when Jerry, the oldest, is a bit domineering with enforcing the "good conduct club" on the younger children.
  • Sibling Triangle: Could be considered a sibling square. Jem Blythe and Faith Meredith are in love with each other. Walter (Jem's brother) is implied to also be in love with Faith and writes poetry about her, though his love remains secret and unrequited. Una (Faith's sister) is in love with Walter, and unfortunately does not get a chance to tell him before his death in World War I.
  • Slice of Life: pretty much the whole series is this.
  • So Beautiful It's a Curse: Leslie, Leslie, Leslie. Railroaded into marriage with a Jerkass who's implied to be a drunk and unfaithful, and who only went after her because she's incredibly pretty. At one point in Anne's House of Dreams she says she wishes she had been "as brown and plain as the brownest and plainest shore girl" so her unwanted husband would never have taken notice of her. This being L.M. Montgomery, she does get a happy ending.
  • Society Marches On: A minor example; Rilla is very tired of being called by her middle name, a contraction of "Marilla," which makes it both childish and old-fashioned, and she wishes people would call her "Bertha," her first name, which she sees as much more glamorous and refined. Nowadays, "Bertha" is considered frumpy and largely obsolete, while "Rilla" retains a touch of The '60s mysticism.
    • Red hair is considered beautiful today, but both when the book was written and when it was set, it was deemed very unattractive. Likewise freckles, which are now considered cute. Anne would be lovely by today's standards, but back then, especially as a child, she would have been quite justified in considering herself extremely homely.
  • Speech Impediment: Rilla has a pronounced lisp as a child. She outgrows it by Rilla of Ingleside, but it still crops up when she's nervous. Much to her embarassment, because she apparently works very hard to get rid of it. When Ken Ford proposes, she answers with "Yesth".
  • Spell My Name with an E: Anne famously insists that her name to be spelled with an "e", regardless of the fact that it's silent anyway. In her mind's eye it looks far more dignified than just plain Ann.
  • Spirited Young Lady: Anne.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Even Dick's wife couuldn't distinguish between his cousin and him!
  • Sweetie Graffiti: Avonlea school children chalk up "Take Notice" comments about who likes so-and-so on the schoolhouse wall.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Younger Anne's only requirements for her future husband.
  • Tears of Joy: Discussed. Anne wants a pearl engagement ring and Gilbert mentions that pearls are said to be for tears. Anne says this is fine because tears don't always mean sadness. She says that she has had tears in her eyes during some of her happiest moments in life, like learning she was going to stay at Green Gables and getting a beautiful puffed-sleeve dress for Christmas when she'd never had anything to wear except inexpensive plain dresses.
  • Textile Work Is Feminine: Particularly noticeable in Miss Cornelia.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Gilbert's aunt comes to visit in Anne of Ingleside and sticks around a good two months longer than she meant to, making everyone's lives miserable in the process, but Gilbert is "clannish" and won't even hint that she ought to go home already. She only does leave because Anne, feeling somewhat guilty for disliking her so much, throws her a birthday party, with all the (very few) things she actually likes. Turns out Aunt Mary Maria is extremely sensitive about her age, and is convinced Anne did the whole thing to be nasty, so she's out of the house within the next few days.
  • Thinks Like a Romance Novel: Anne, especially as a teenager. She has an overactive imagination as it is, but add in a hopeless romantic streak and one too many romance novels, and you get some of the funniest moments in the series. As she gets older, however, her idealized notions of who she wants as a partner and what being in love is supposed to feel like start working against her. She is oblivious not only to Gilbert's feelings for her, but of her own growing feelings for him. She suffers a painful reality check near the end of Anne of the Island, when she realizes she isn't in love with the man who fits her ideals, and is in love with the man she rejected for not fitting her ideals—the same man she might lose forever.
  • Through His Stomach: Gilbert's mother was given at her wedding three rules for managing a man, which Gil gives to another engaged woman. The second rule is "feed him well." The woman is quick to reply "With enough pie."
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Walter
  • Too Unhappy to Be Hungry: Anne often declares she doesn't want to eat when she is in despair.
  • Train-Station Goodbye: Jem and Faith before he leaves for the war front. Also, Nan and Jerry but without the kiss.
    • Anne and Gilbert get one in the third film adaptation of the series, as Gilbert is sent to fight in World War I.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Inverted; the trauma (Ann's hideous green hair) results in the haircut, rather than the other way around.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Anne fears this has happened at the end of Anne of the Island after realizing her feelings for Gilbert; she thinks he has moved on and become engaged to someone else (he hasn't).
  • Unsuspectingly Soused: Diana drinks "three tumblerfulls" of what she thinks is raspberry cordial, but is actually currant wine. Marilla is quite disgusted by Diana's gluttony and her mother's blaming everything on Anne regardless of this.
  • Unwanted Harem: Anne. By the third book she's fielding off several marriage proposals from several different boys.
  • Victorian Novel Disease: Ruby Gillis, one of Anne's childhood friends, in Island. It's explicitly consumption
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: So much of this. Anne and Gilbert, Diana and Fred, Jem and Faith, Nan and Jerry...
  • Wartime Wedding: Anne and Gilbert's wedding in the film Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story.
    • In Rilla of Ingleside Rilla's friend Miranda marries her fiancé, Joe, just before he ships out.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Marilla has a much reduced role in the later books, especially Anne of Windy Poplars and Anne of Ingleside, and in Rilla of Ingleside, it's mentioned in passing that she has died.
  • When She Smiles: She wouldn't be a Genki Girl without being able to light up a room doing this. It's even lampshaded at a few points in the later stories, this being a point at which authors could still get away with it un-ironically.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?:
    • Lampshaded by Anne; she says she thinks that Walter and Bertha Shirley were beautiful names for her parents and it's a good thing he wasn't named Jedediah Shirley.
    • In Anne's House of Dreams, Miss Cornelia comments approvingly on Anne's choice of baby name (James Matthew), and mentions in passing that another new mother in the neighborhood has decided to call her baby Bertie Shakespeare. The poor kid becomes a common fixture in subsequent stories about Anne's children, and is never referred to by anything other than the whole thing: Bertie Shakespeare Drew.
    • Earlier books in the series feature Anne's classmate Moody Spurgeon McPherson, who is last heard of at college, studying to be a minister. "He couldn't be anything else with that name." (Moody and Spurgeon were two famous preachers.) Much as with the aforementioned Bertie Shakespeare, Moody Spurgeon is almost always referred to by his full name.
  • Wicked Stepmother: In Rainbow Valley, the Meredith children are afraid Rosemary will turn out to be a wicked stepmother thanks to the warnings of Mary Vance, and are very relieved when it turns out to not be the case.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Anne, in the earlier books. She eventually outgrows it a little, but not entirely.
  • World War I: Rilla of Ingleside, as seen from the home front.
    • Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story, an originally-written addition to the series rather than an adaptation of the last four books in the series, features Gilbert travelling to the front lines. Anne joins the fray when it is revealed that Gilbert has gone missing.
  • World War II: Mentioned or alluded to in The Blythes Are Quoted. Ken and Rilla Ford's son Gilbert and Jerry Thornton serve as RCAF pilots — with the latter specifically mentioned to be in the ferry bomber service — during the war.
  • Youthful Freckles: Anne, who gets herself into trouble a couple of times in Anne of Avonlea trying to get rid of six lingering freckles on her nose. Mention is made of an ointment she tried which caused her skin to peel, and in another instance, she mistakenly dyes her nose bright red due to carelessly mistaking a bottle of red dye for the bottle of lemon juice she was using to try to bleach away the freckles.

The Kevin Sullivan miniseries provide examples of:

  • Age Lift: Anne is 13 at the beginning of the first miniseries, whereas she was 11 at the beginning the original novel.
  • Longing Look: Gilbert does this a lot in Anne of Green Gables (1985). One scene in particular has Anne and Diana wistfully gazing at each other, and then Gilbert in the background casts a Longing Look in Anne's direction. Naturally, she doesn't notice.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: You can hear that Schuyler Grant, who played Diana, is not Canadian.
  • One Head Taller: Gilbert and Anne, when played by Jonathan Crombie and Megan Follows in the Sullivan production.

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