Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pollyanna by Eleanor H Porter

Title: Pollyanna
Author: Eleanor H Porter

ISBN: 1853261459

Publisher: Wordsworth Classics/1913

Genre: Children’s Fiction
Pages: 188

Somehow, I had missed reading this, although I had bought this book for my niece a few years ago. Yesterday, I picked up from her place and decided to read for the Decades Challenge 2008. I am glad I finally read it at one go.

Pollyanna’s father dies and she comes to live with her aunt, Miss Polly, who takes her in as duty. She has no love for the eleven-year girl, who had lost her mother, Polly’s sister at a very young age. The little girl is unaware of her aunt’s sour nature and is very glad to be with her.

Pollyanna has the ability to adapt to any situation. She can find something positive in the most adverse of things. Her father had taught her call it the ‘glad’ game. Pollyanna's Glad Game is truly a beneficial effect. She and her father made-up the game,- which consists of always looking for something to be glad about, after their missionary relief barrel held not the doll that Pollyanna wanted so much, but a pair of crutches. They decided to be glad they did not need those crutches.

Slowly we observe Aunt Polly thawing from her coldness by her niece’s sunny nature and good humour. Pollyanna’s nature is a tonic for everyone who meets her. Those who do not, she goes out of her way to make them happy. She succeeds too until she is hit by an automobile and loses the use of her legs…her gladness turns to despair. Again, we observe a shift in her nature when something no one envisaged for her Aunt Polly, happens and brings back her optimism. Does she get better?

This book has many similarities with Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and Anne of Green Gables. Still it can stand on its own. All three books reinforce positive thinking.
Although, it gets too much at times. How any one can be happy all the time? It sounds unrealistic.

After analysing it, I deduced that there is also a grim almost mocking sense of humour, significant profundity and a lot of sensible psychology. The exposé of turn-of-the-century benevolence is cutting. Pollyanna is not naive. She knows there is pain and misery, in fact she suffers for it too. She may be an angel, but she is a very perceptive angel with a true understanding of the ability of her own goodness. If we grasp that aspect, the story becomes poignant at some point. A brave little girl, forced to accept hard times as something good, which she does with much bravado.


Italia said...

The story of Pollyanna, the girl of gladness or as later called in the beautifully done anime series from 1986, the girl of love, is a tale of pure wonder that will stay within you forever. This book is for children and grown-ups, for anyone will find the simple beauty of this book, followed by a sequel that was just as wonderful.