Matthew indirectly helped Marilla raise Anne Shirley, an orphan from Nova Scotia, after she arrived at Green Gables at age eleven. He died of a heart attack when Anne was sixteen, the first death of someone close she had ever known.
Matthew was born in 1816 in Avonlea, Prince Edward Island, to Mr. and Mrs. Cuthbert as their first child. A few years later, his younger sister Marilla was born. They were raised along in Avonlea until Mr. Cuthbert built a new house which they named Green Gables.
Matthew wasn't very educated as is shown when Anne asks him to relate to studying geometry with her. It can be inferred, however, that he was very shy and didn't go to school a lot or communicate with people, because he worked on the farm..
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Matthew Cuthbert was shocked when he saw Anne waiting at the train station, as he had been expecting an orphan boy to be waiting for him insted of an orphan girl and he was afraid of women. However, when he drove her back to Green Gables, he warmed up to her chatter and Anne had found a Kindred spirit. He took her to Marilla where she would learn that she could not stay, and she becomes extremely disappointed. Later he convinced Marilla to let her stay.
Though Marilla warned Matthew not to interfere with her decisions on how to raise Anne, Matthew would discreetly find ways to help her. When Marilla threatened to send Anne back when the latter refused to apologize to Rachel Lynde, Matthew persuaded Anne to do so. Though Matthew did not always understand everything Anne spoke of, he listened to her and responded in the best way he knew. As time went on, Matthew became more overt with his gestures of kindness and love towards Anne, including criticizing Marilla for not allowing Anne to attend a Christmas Ball and acquiring a dress with puffed sleeves, which Anne had always wanted, for her to wear. Marilla disapproved of Matthew's gestures, concerned that he was spoiling Anne, but allowed him to continue. Both the Cuthbert siblings were proud of Anne as she excelled in school, eventually going to attend Queen's Academy and obtaining a scholarship to study at Redmond College.
Matthew had had heart trouble and died from a heart attack upon hearing that his and Marilla's money was lost in bank failure. Both Anne and Marilla deeply mourned his death, although Anne had trouble crying and letting out her tears at first. Marilla stopped crying when she realized it was real and she had to comfort Anne when she finally let her tears out in the middle the night.
Matthew was a nice, loving person. He almost spoiled Anne but made excuses for doing it. He bought her a dress with puffed sleeves for Christmas when he noticed she wanted a dress, which Marilla originally disapproved of, but later decided that Anne deserved it. As with Marilla, he was proud of how she excelled in school.
Matthew was also extremely shy and was afraid of women. He originally wanted a boy, but due to a mix-up, got Anne instead and enjoyed her company. He also convinced Marilla to keep her, because she was going to send her back to the orphanage.
Matthew was one of Anne's kindred spirits. He was a very good-natured man. He loved Anne with all his heart. He was simple and a hard worker. Matthew was often the voice of reason for Anne and Marilla.
- "He was an odd-looking personage, with an ungainly figure and long iron-grey hair that touched his stooping shoulders, and a full, soft brown beard which he had worn ever since he was twenty. In fact, he had looked at twenty very much as he looked at sixty, lacking a little of the greyness."
- —Anne of Green Gables, Chapter 2[src]
Matthew is a male given name of Hebrew origin and means gift of God. Cuthbert is derived from the Old English word for famous and bright.
Behind the scenes
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- Anne of Green Gables
- Anne of Avonlea (mentioned only)
- Anne of Windy Poplars (mentioned only)
- Anne's House of Dreams (mentioned only)
- Anne of Ingleside (mentioned only)