At the age of sixty, Matthew is known as a strange, timid man. His painful shyness becomes paralyzing when he is forced to interact with women, and he spends most of his time away from people, working the land at Green Gables. Despite Matthew’s extreme shyness, Anne immediately appeals to him and sets him at ease. From the beginning, Matthew advocates for Anne. He expresses pride in all she does and seizes every opportunity to spoil her. Although when they adopt Anne Marilla makes Matthew promise not to interfere with the raising of the child, Matthew becomes increasingly involved in parental duties, especially when he feels Marilla is treating Anne too harshly. With his gentle persistence, he often wears away at Marilla until she agrees to let him and Anne have their way.
Whereas Anne and Marilla butt heads for years, Anne and Matthew instantly understand one another, and Anne listens to Matthew when no one else’s arguments can sway her. She recognizes him as a “kindred spirit” and confides in him when she wants a sympathetic ear. In contrast to Marilla’s manly severity and difficulty expressing emotion, Matthew exhibits motherly qualities. He openly tells Anne of his affection for her and pride in her, and he wants her to look pretty and feel comfortable with her friends. More gentle than Marilla, Matthew treats Anne with unflagging kindness. Anne influences Matthew positively; he loves her bright presence at Green Gables and becomes more outgoing and happier after she arrives.