The Pollyanna Principle

Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna

Published by Puffin Classics, 1994. First published 1913. 288p

I hope I will not be considered old fashioned but I fell in love with the main character of this novel and I honestly do not find Pollyanna exaggerated or too theatrical. We all tend to remember the positive and rosy experiences we had in life rather than the unpleasant situations, don’t we? This girl is a powerful example that life is worth enjoying and the unpredictable is much easily handled with a smile and an optimistic attitude.

With both her parents dead, eleven years old Pollyanna Whittier goes to live with her rich aunt, Polly Harrington, in Beldingsville. The woman becomes responsible with Pollyanna’s education but she is incapable of offering her any kind of affection. However, the little girl is perseverant and identifies and sees only what’s good in people. Soon the whole community will enjoy her presence and play her Glad game. Pollyanna’s mother died when she was a little girl and her father was a minister who had raised her in poverty but with love and honesty. He was the one that taught her the game saying she should find something to be glad about in every situation (it all began when expecting a doll in the missionary barrel she received a pair of crutches instead. Her father told her she should just be glad because she didn’t need them).

Pollyanna teaches her aunt that living is not just breathing but doing the things you want to do – in her case, playing outdoors, reading, climbing hills, talking to people and enjoying living in a community. She is a child teaching adults how to be glad, how to express their feelings and how to live life to the max. Due to Pollyanna Aunt Polly finds her lost love, the reverend realizes that men and women need his encouragement not his critics, grumpy old John Pendleton adopts an orphan and Miss Snow learns living again. There is one moment at the end of the book when the girl seems to lose hope but it is the community’s turn to be around and play the good game for her. It is a book with happy end, as expected, but I do recommend it to those to feel optimistic again, to those who want to see the pure energy in a child and to those who miss classic humor.

I saw the 1960 movie too, the one with Hayley Mills playing Pollyanna. It is pretty much different from the book but it is good. The character is really funny, vivid and charismatic. And what I really liked is that in the movie Pollyanna gets the doll she was dreaming of.



Sper sa nu ma vedeti ca pe o batrana demodata, dar eu m-am indragostit de personajul principal al romanului si Pollyanna nu mi se pare deloc exagerata sau prea teatrala. Si doar toti incercam sa ne amintim doar lucrurile placute sau roz din trecutul nostru in detrimentul celor nasoale, nu? Fetita aceasta este exemplul concret ca merita sa ne bucuram de viata si ca neprevazutul este mai usor de manevrat cu o atitudine optimista.

Dupa ce ii mor ambii parinti, Pollyanna Witthier, 11 ani, merge sa locuiasca impreuna cu matusa ei cea bogata, Polly Harrington, in Beldingsville. Femeia va fi noul tutore al copilului, se va ocupa de educatia ei, dar este incapabila sa ii ofere orice tip de afectiune. Fetita e insa perseverenta, isi vede de ale ei si alege doar ce e bun in oameni. In scurt timp, intreaga comunitate se va bucura de prezenta ei si toti vor juca Jocul multumirii. Mama Pollyannei a murit cand ea era mica, iar tatal, preot, a crescut-o in saracie, dar cu iubire si onestitate. El a fost cel care a invatat-o jocul, spunandu-i ca trebuie sa gaseasca ceva de care sa se bucure in fiecare situatie (totul a inceput de la o situatie in care copila primeste o pereche de proteze in loc de o papusa, iar tatal o sfatuieste sa se bucure mai bine ca nu trebuie sa le poarte).

Pollyanna isi invata matusa ca a trai nu se reduce la a respira, ci presupune a face ceea ce indragesti – in cazul ei, sa se joace afara, sa citeasca, sa cutreiere dealurile, sa vorbeasca cu oamenii si sa se bucure de comunitatea in care locuia. Adultii invata de la un copil cum sa fie multumiti, cum sa isi exprime sentimentele, cum sa traiasca profund. Datorita Pollyannei, matusa Polly is regaseste iubirea pierduta, preotul realizeaza ca enoriasii au nevoie de incurajarile si nu criticile lui, morocanosul John Pendleton adopta un orfan, iar doamna Snow invata sa traiasca din nou. La sfarsit, exista un episode cand fetita pare sa isi piarda speranta, dar e randul comunitatii acum sa o sustina si sa joace Jocul multumirii pentru ea. E un roman cu final fericit, asa cum era de asteptat, dar il recomand celor care vor sa isi ia o doza de optimism, celor care vor sa vada energie pura intr-un copil sau celor carora le place umorul classic.

Am vazut si ecranizarea din 1960, cu Hayley Mills in rolul Pollyannei. Firul epic e destul de diferit de cel din carte, dar filmul mi s-a parut bun. Personajul e nostim, plin de viata si carismatic. Si cea mi-a placut cel mai mult in film e ca Pollyanna primeste papusa la care visa.


You can find the book here:


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