Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chapter 15: A Tempest in the School Teapot

The post title for this chapter is the same as the actual chapter title, because it made such an impression on my when I first read the book. I hadn't yet come across the phrase "tempest in a teapot," so I didn't understand the play on words, but there was something about the rhythm or the imagery of it that stuck with me.


There are a lot of great lines in this chapter, so let's do a quick summary and then get into those.

Anne puts in her first appearance at Avonlea school -- coincidentally, on the same day that Gilbert Blythe gets back to town. Gilbert decides that the best way to get the attention of a redhead is to call her "Carrots," and is informed otherwise by means of a slate connecting with his skull. The situation is not improved by an incompetent teacher who singles Anne out for punishment -- and even worse, misspells her name -- and the chapter ends with Anne deciding that she's not going back there any time soon.

And the good bits:
  • "The little girls of Avonlea school always pooled their lunches, and to eat three raspberry tarts all alone or even to share them only with one's best chum would have forever and ever branded as 'awful mean' the girl who did it. And yet, when the tarts were divided among ten girls you just got enough to tantalize you."
  • "'Not that lovers ever really walk there,' she explained to Marilla, 'but Diana and I are reading a perfectly magnificent book and there's a Lover's Lane in it. So we want to have one, too.'"
  • "if you were quiet—which, with Anne and Diana, happened about once in a blue moon"
  • "'I guess Gilbert Blythe will be in school today,' said Diana. 'He's been visiting his cousins over in New Brunswick all summer and he only came home Saturday night. He's AW'FLY handsome, Anne. And he teases the girls something terrible. He just torments our lives out.'... Diana's voice indicated that she rather liked having her life tormented out than not."
  • "Gilbert Blythe wasn't used to putting himself out to make a girl look at him and meeting with failure."
  • "And then—thwack! Anne had brought her slate down on Gilbert's head and cracked it—slate not head—clear across."
  • "'Oh how could you, Anne?' breathed Diana as they went down the road half reproachfully, half admiringly. Diana felt that SHE could never have resisted Gilbert's plea."
  • "Diana hadn't the least idea what Anne meant but she understood it was something terrible."
  • "Mr. Phillips's brief reforming energy was over; he didn't want the bother of punishing a dozen pupils; but it was necessary to do something to save his word, so he looked about for a scapegoat and found it in Anne"
  • "Once, when nobody was looking, Gilbert took from his desk a little pink candy heart with a gold motto on it, "You are sweet," and slipped it under the curve of Anne's arm. Whereupon Anne arose, took the pink heart gingerly between the tips of her fingers, dropped it on the floor, ground it to powder beneath her heel, and resumed her position without deigning to bestow a glance on Gilbert."
  • "Marilla saw something remarkably like unyielding stubbornness looking out of Anne's small face. She understood that she would have trouble in overcoming it; but she re-solved wisely to say nothing more just then."
  • "'Well, since you've asked my advice, Marilla,' said Mrs. Lynde amiably—Mrs. Lynde dearly loved to be asked for advice"
  • "'I love Diana so, Marilla. I cannot ever live without her. But I know very well when we grow up that Diana will get married and go away and leave me. And oh, what shall I do? I hate her husband—I just hate him furiously. I've been imagining it all out—the wedding and everything—Diana dressed in snowy garments, with a veil, and looking as beautiful and regal as a queen; and me the bridesmaid, with a lovely dress too, and puffed sleeves, but with a breaking heart hid beneath my smiling face.'"
  • "Marilla turned quickly away to hide her twitching face; but it was no use; she collapsed on the nearest chair and burst into such a hearty and unusual peal of laughter that Matthew, crossing the yard outside, halted in amazement. When had he heard Marilla laugh like that before?"

No comments: