Summary-Chapter 1 2 Summary—Chapter 2 2 Summary—Chapter 3 3 Summary—Chapter 4 3 Analysis—Chapters 1–4 4 Summary—Chapter 5 5 Summary—Chapter 6 5 Summary—Chapter 7 5 Summary—Chapter 8 6 Analysis—Chapters 5–8 6 Small summary chapter 1 8 Small summary chapter 2 8 Small summary chapter 3 8 Small summary chapter 4 9 Small summary chapter 5 9 Character Sketch of Main Characters 10
Mrs. Rachel Lynde, the town busybody, lives with her meek husband on the main road of Avonlea, a small rural town in Prince Edward Island in Canada. Mrs. Rachel, as she is known, sits on her porch one afternoon in early June. She sees her neighbor, Matthew Cuthbert, leaving his home. This activity is surprising, since the painfully shy Matthew is known as a bit of a recluse. Even more surprising is that fact that he is wearing his best suit and driving his buggy, evidence that an important errand calls him away. Mrs. Rachel, her mind abuzz with questions, goes to the Cuthbert house to seek an explanation.
Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert live tucked away on a farm called Green Gables. Marilla, though more talkative than Matthew, is severe and private. Her house and her appearance reflect this severity: the immaculate house seems too sterile for comfort, and Marilla has an angular face and tightly knotted hair. Despite her stiffness, however, something about her mouth suggests a natural, if undeveloped, sense of humor.
When Mrs. Rachel asks about Matthew’s errand, Marilla informs her that he is on his way to pick up the Cuthberts’ new orphan from the train station. With Matthew getting older—he is sixty—they realized they needed help around the farm and decided to adopt a boy from the orphanage. This news shocks Mrs. Rachel, who launches into a monologue about the horror stories she has heard about orphans—a boy who set