|Kate Cooke||Porter, Eleanor H.: Pollyanna|
|Assignment 1: Bibliographic Description|
|1. First Edition Publication Information||L.C. Page and Company, 53 Beacon Street, Boston, Mass. 1913.|
First impression Feb.1913.
Published simultaneously in London: The Colonial Press, C.H. Simonds
and Co., Boston, USA.
|2. First Edition in Cloth, Paper, or Both?||First edition published in cloth. Pollyanna contained in a |
Cloth box with edition of Pollyanna Grows up. Because Pollyanna
Grows Up not printed until 1915, box must have been a later
|4. Pagination||181 leaves. 1-8, frontispiece illustration, |
10-11, vii-viii, 1-18, illustration, 19-27,
illustration, 28-82, illustration, 83-113, illustration,
114-136, illustration, 137-165, illustration, 166-232,
illustration, 233-310, 1-12, 1-10
(last 22 pages of bookm consists of advertisements for other
books by Eleanor H.Porter and for books published by L.C.
Page and Company).
|5. Edited and/or Introduced?||Not edited or introduced.|
|6. Illustrated?||Illustrated by Stockton Mulford.|
|8. General Appearance||Book in good condition, only slight tears on corners of cloth |
cover and cloth box. Large, clear, dark print. Well printed.
|10. Description of Paper||The paper is thick and rough-edged. The pages are different|
sizes. Thinner, waxy paper is used for the illustration
pages. The illustrated pages have not held up as well as the
text pages, which are in excellent condition.
|11. Description of Binding||Pages gathered into cloth piece that runs along interior of book|
|12. Title Page Transcription||POLLYANNA/ By/ Eleanor H. Porter/ Author of "Miss Billy," "Miss Billy's Decision,"|
"Cross Currents," "The Turn of the Tides," etc./ Illustrated by/ Stockton Mulford/
pen and ink seal with words: SPE LABOR LEVIS/Boston * L.C. Page & / Company * MDCCCCXIII
|14. Manuscript Holdings||First published serially in 1912 Christian Herald.|
Could not find location of original manuscript.
|15. Other||The first edition I examined is in pink cloth, the Library of Congress owns one that is not contained in box set and is in blue cloth. Also listed is a first edition, first impression volume in green clot|
In the first pages Porter dedicates the book to "My Cousin Belle."
There is a handwritten inscription on first page opposite cover, "In Remembrance of March 24-1913." Under this is written in pencil "Grandmother." On the same page far from the inscription is the handwritten name "Marion Meable."
Title stamp on cover, and similar one on spine, in gold color with flowers on either side.
|Assignment 2: Publication History|
|1. Other Editions:||1938 Silver Anniversary edition|
|4. First Edition printings or impressions?||February 1913, first impression|
1915, twenty-fifth impression
1916, thirty-sixth impression (360 thousand)
1919 fourty-sixth impression (460 thousand)
1920 fourty-seventh impression (bought out by publisher)
1946, seventy-sixth impression
|5. Editions from other publishers?||1913: London: Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons|
1925, 1927: London: Harrap
1940: New York: Farrar & Strauss (Page Co. merged with
Farrar and Strauss 1957)
1960: reprint of original Harrap publication
1967: Waltham, MA: Omnisys Corp. (microfilm of 1913 edition)
1969, 1973, 1982,1984, 1994: Harmondsworth, Middlesex:
1972, 1987: North Ryde, NSW (Australia): Angus and Robertson
1975, 1987: Scholastic INC. (trade paper, out of print)
1977: Laurel NY: Lightyear Press
1986, 1987, 1989, 1990: Dell Publishing (trade paper)
1988, 1989: Unicorn Publishing House, INC
(trade cloth, out of print)
1988, 1996: Puffin Books (trade Paper)
1992: New York, NY: Barnes & Noble Books
1993, 1994: Barbour Publishing INC (paper text)
1994: Random House Value Publishing INC (trade cloth)
1994: Ware, Hartfordshire: Wordsworth Classics
1995: Playmore INC Publishers (trade cloth)
1995: New York: Baronet Books
1996: Trafalgar Square, US (trade cloth)
1997: Troll Communications L.L.C. (trade paper)
1997: Core Knowledge Foundation (abridged, trade paper)
1999: HarpersCollins Publishers, INC (paperback)
unknown: Buccaneer Press (library binding)
unknown: Amereon, LTD, US (trade cloth)
unknown: A.L. Burt Co.
unknown: Grosset & Dunlap
|6. Last date in print?||The novel is still in print.|
|7. Total copies sold?||From 1913 to 1975 1,059,000 hardbound copies of "Pollyanna" |
were sold (Hackett,80 Years of Best Sellers).
|8. Sales by year?||Over 200,000 total copies were sold by 1922 (Encyclopedia of |
American Biography Volume XVIII, 1922). According to one
source over one million copies were sold in first few years
of publication (Dictionary of Literary Biography, 1981).
According to Mott in his book "Golden Multitudes"(1947),
new printings were required weekly through first month after
publication and at least monthly over next year. He also
says that the book sold over a million copies, selling
900,000 copies between 1910 and 1919.
|11. Other promotion?||"Pollyanna" is discussed in the 1914 issue of The Christian |
Herald as part of an advertisement for a new serial on
Pollyanna called "Pollyanna Returns." The ad is given the
entire back cover of the November 11, 1914 issue and
includes a picture of Mrs. Eleanor Porter and an
illustration of mother and daughter. Of Pollyanna the ad
says: "When Eleanor Porter wrote her great story of
"Pollyanna" she created an absolutely new type of American
fiction. Under the inspiration of "Pollyanna" who was the
sunniest and most delightful of optimists, people everywhere
began to play "the Glad Game". . . Just two years ago this
month, "Pollyanna" made her debut in The Christian Herald,
where for a whole season she played the game. . .When the
story was ended and the great curtain dropped over the game
and its player, a great sigh of regret for the vanishing
"Pollyanna" went up all over this continent.
There is also a blurb about Pollyanna in the book section of
the March 17, 1913 issue of "Boston Daily Advertiser." It
is titled "A home Missionary" with price and publisher
listed below. There is given a brief summary of the book and
the final sentence: "With a familiar type of story Mrs.
Porter does well."
|12. Performances in other media?||1915: Pollyanna, the glad girl; a four act comedy. Catherine|
Chisholm Cushing. New York: Klaw & Erlanger.(played on
1919: silent, black and white motion picture.
1920: silent film with music and english titles.
1960: Walt Disney Productions. Motion Picture.
1960, 1992: Walt Disney Productions. Videorecording of 1960
1960, 1982: Walt Disney Productions. Spanish edition of 1960
1961: film reel with film strip facts: collaborator Paul A.
1973, 1993: Fox video; CBS/Fox video; BBC video.
1974: Glendale, California: Walt Disney Education Materials
Co. (two rolls, two cassettes and guide)
1980, 1985: Blackhawk films. Reissue of 1919 motion picture.
1982: Walt Disney Productions. Two videodiscs of 1960 motion
1990: Mary Pickford Co.
1992: Foothill video. Video release of 1919 motion picture.
1995: Washington, DC: Audiobook Contractors (soundcassettes)
1995: Bath, England: Hampton NH: Chivers Audiobooks, Chivers
North America (4 soundcassettes)
1996: Entertainment Distributing. Video release of 1920
1998: Newport Beach, CA: Books on tape (4 sound cassettes)
|13. Translations?||1914: Bergen: Nygaard.|
1926?: Gen?e: J.-H. Jeheber. (French)
1955: Ankara Caddesi, Istanbul: Varlik Yayinevi.
1960, 1969?: Yerushalayim: Hotsa'at S. zak ve-shut. (Hebrew)
1962: Tokyo, Kadokawa Shoten. Translator: Hanako
1971: Istanbul: Ne* sriyat A.*S.
1973: Barcelona: Editorial Bruguera.
1976: Altin Kitoplar Yayinevi. (Istanbul?)
1978: Sao Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional.
1986: Soul: Ch'ongmok. Translator: Wi-su Kang.
1989: Tokyo, Kinno hoshisha.
1991: Praha: Oympia. (svoboda)
1991: Soul T'ukpyoisi: Yerimdang. Translator: Yong-mol Chang.
1992: T'ai pei shih: Hsiao Ch'ang shu fang.
1995: Tel Aviv: 'Ofarim.
|14. Serialization?||Serialized in the November 1913 issues of The Christian |
The Christian Herald. Chappaqua, New York.
|15. Sequels or Prequels?||Porter wrote a serialized sequel to "Pollyanna", called |
"Pollyanna Returns" for The Christian Herald, in 1914. She
published a sequel in novel form, Pollyanna Grows Up in 1914,
Page & Company. There was a series of 11 volumes of "Glad
books" based on the Pollyanna story, mostly written by
Harriett Lummis Smith and Elizabeth Barton. There are many
sequels written by other authors, such as "Pollyanna
Herself", by Ruth I. Dowell (Pollyanna Productions, 1988)
"Pollyanna Comes Home" and "Pollyanna Plays the Game," by
Colleen L. Reece (Barbour Publishing, INC, 1995). In other
countries and other languages readers, too, have been
enchanted by the Pollyanna stories and have written their
|Assignment 3: Brief Biography|
|Eleanor Hodgman was born in 1868,her father was a druggist (National|
Cyclopedia). Hodgman's mother, if not herself an artist, at least
had a love of art, as Eleanor lists her mother's paintings among
the estate in her will (papers of Eleanor H. Porter). Among
Eleanor's paternal ancestors was Thomas Hodgman who settled in
Massachusetts in 1663 and eleven soldiers in the American
Revolution (National Cyclopedia).Eleanor's older brother was Fred C. Hodgman (The papers of
Eleanor H. Porter). Besides teaching, singing and writing Eleanor
was involved in many social clubs, including the Daughters of
the American Revolution and the Boston Author's Club. She was
also a member of the Congregationalist church(National
Cyclopedia).Eleanor became Mrs. Porter in 1892, when she married a
businessman who later became president of the National Separator
and Machine Company (James, 85).Porter was a proficient writer, publishing at least one book
every year between after 1913, sometimes writing under the
pseudonym Eleanor Stuart (Kirkpatrick, 622). She had eight books
on the Bestsellers lists (Publishers' Weekly). It seems that she
had no agent but corresponded directly with her publishers
(The Papers of Eleanor H. Porter). When Mrs. Porter wrote
Pollyanna, that type of story, a secularized genre of earlier
evangelical stories, was very popular (Kirkpatrick, 622). Mrs.
Porter includes a journalistic aspect or commentary in many of
her stories. In Pollyanna the objects of criticism are the
"insincere and overorganized women's charity organizations." In
1918, an interviewer described Mrs. Porter as someone not unlike
her Pollyanna character, "a little woman, blonde,youthful
looking, her light and fluffy hair neatly combed, her blue eyes-
'Laughing Eyes'-changing rapidly with her thoughts"
(James, 85).Mrs. Porter may not have approved of that cheery description of
herself, as she did not altogether approve of the reception of
Pollyanna. In an interview Mrs. Porter said: "You know I have
been made to suffer from the Pollyanna books. I have been placed
often in a false light. People have thought that Pollyanna
chirped that she was 'glad' at everything. . . I have never
believed that we ought to deny discomfort and pain and evil; I
have merely thought that it is far better to 'greet the unknown
with a cheer'" (Overton, 262)Mrs. Porter died in May, 1920, at the age of 51 of Pulmonary
Tuberculosis (James, 85).
Bibliograpy:James, Edward T. Ed. Notable American Women 1607-1950. Massachusetts
The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.1971.Kirkpatrick, D.L. Ed. Twentieth Century Children's Writers. New
York: St. Martin's Press. 1983.Mott. Golden Multitudes. 1947.The National Cyclopedia of American Biograpy, Volume XVIII. James
T. White and Co. 1922.Overton, Grant. The Women Who Make Our Novels. New York: Dodd,
Mead and Company. 1928.The Papers of Eleanor H. Porter. Special Collections Alderman. Barrett
Collection.Publishers' Weekly. Volume 149, part 1. Jan-Mar 1946.
|"Book Review Digest", 1913:|
"It is a story of the wonders worked by a sunny disposition
and shows the far-reaching influence of a child's love."
"A Little Girl who has been taught the game of finding
something to be glad for in whatever happens, and to do at
once what she thinks is right, is landed suddenly in a
somewhat fossilized New England Village. She applies her
scheme of life to the people about her with startling results,
as funny as they are pathetic." (New York Sun)"The Booklist", A.L.A., Vol. 10 Sept. 1913-June 1914
"Pollyanna after the death fo her father, a western minister,
lives with her aunt who 'hopes she knows her duty.' By what
is called the 'glad game,' which Pollyanna has learned from her
father, the whole community is transformed and most of all
the aunt. Although the story is sentimental to a degree, it
will be enjoyed by a large number of adult and juvenile readers.""Boston Daily Advertiser" March 17, 1913
"A Home Missionary" (caption)
"With a familiar type of story Mrs. Porter does well.""Bookman", May, 1915. "The Popularity of Pollyanna" by Grace Isabel
". . . some simple little book that comes without much
heralding, without the protection of a well-known author's
name. [Readers] take that simple little book to their
hearts just because they like it,. . . This is what has
happened to Pollyanna. . . [The reader] will not read
either of the Pollyanna books for the plot. He will
read it for the little heroine herself. . . There is little
artistry in the Pollyanna books, but great sincerity.
Many of the characters are merely foils to Pollyanna, and are
not true in themselves, but this is a fault of workmanship,
not conviction. . . It is an indication of the fact that
readers are willing to take a lesson for life out of their
books. And that, after all, is one of the great aims of art."Although most reviewers intimate that the story of Pollyanna is overly
sentimental, none blatantly criticise the novel. It is almost as
though the reviewers, too, have been taken in by the character of
Pollyanna and cannot bear to write a harsh word about her.
Besides reviews, Pollyanna's popularity can be seen in the number
of "glad clubs" that grew up around the country shortly after
publication of the novel. Children and adults, equally, participated
in these clubs.
|National Cyclopedia of American Biography 1922|
Leigh Mitchell Hodges wrote of Pollyanna, in Philadelphia North American:
"You do not 'read' this little girl. You just return her shout
of gladness with a smile and high thanks that she has come
your way, your weary way, perhaps. You just fold her to your
heart and make her sit down in the very best room of your life
and tell her she can never, never go away . . . I know of one
person who buried his face in his hands and shook with the
gladdest sort of sadness and got down on his knees and thanked
the Giver of all gladness for Pollyanna."Grant Overton in Women who Make Our Novels 1928
Overton writes of the character of Pollyanna in comparison
to Porter's other characters:
"These other characters lack something Pollyanna had, though
it may have been only a sublime assurance . . . Her philosophy may
be gold or trash; she rightfully exists, there is no doubt
Overton also reflects the contunued popularity of Pollyanna
in his list of products named after Porter's heroine:
"White Mountain Cabins, Colorado Teahouses, Texan babies,
Indiana appartment houses and a brand of milk." (163)Another sign of Pollyanna's lasring mark is that her name is actually
listed in Webster's Third International Dictionary as a word meaning:
"One having a disposition or nature characterized by irrepressible
optimism and a tendency to find good in everything; an overly and
often blindly optimistic person; an irritatingly cheerful person."
(Dictionary of Literary Biography 1981)Pollyanna proves by her continued popularity that her rise to fame in the
early 1900's was not just a reflection of the times. She continues to
be well-known in the present day, to such a degree that her name is one
in everyday usage.
|Eleanor H. Porter's novel, Pollyanna, is one which met with unique|
success. The book was number eight on the bestseller list in 1913 and
number 2 in 1914. In 1916 the story was written and produced as a broadway
play (Notable). Sparking "Glad Clubs" around the U.S., Pollyanna
soon became a household, and eventually a dictionary, term. Published
not long after Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and Anne of Green Gables,
Pollyanna is also a story about a young girl with an optimistic
spirit and a gift for sharing that spirit with others; yet neither
of the former achieved the same level of success as Pollyanna. Singular
about Porter's success is the initial acclaim the book received
as an adult book, yet it doesn't fully explain its continued
success. In 1960 Walt Disney produced a Pollyanna film, which was
rereleased in 1992; and the book is still widely printed and read
today (Virgo, Worldcat). Critics describe the book as overly sentimental,
with shallow characters, yet millions of people, adults and children
love the Pollyanna stories. The biggest factor for the book's unique
success is Pollyanna herself and the message she brings to her readers.In the years before 1913, the world was developing and changing. It was an age of
industrialization and urbanization. By 1913, industry was commonplace and
the automobile new and primitive. Only in the last twenty years had the internal combustion engine
been invented, and cars begun to be able to go faster than six
miles an hour. For people the age of Pollyanna's aunt and adult readers,
the automobile likely seemed a strange, scary creation (Columbia
Encyclopedia). In Pollyanna, in fact, it was an automobile that
caused Pollyanna to lose the use of her legs. After the accident,
no one in the book says a word about the driver's misuse of the
vehicle, instead they blame the machine itself. Nancy, the domestic
servant, says, "Ter think of it runnin' down our little girl! I
always hated the evil-smellin' things," (Porter, 201).Also during this time, European countries were growing, adding new countries
to their own in a great imperial race. Porter refers to the role
of imperialism when she speaks of the Ladies Aiders who "had decided
that they would rather send all their money to bring up the little India
boys than to save enough to bring up one little boy in their own town," (Porter, 111).
A similar idea drove imperialism, the belief that the "heathen" in
other countries could be helped and civilized by the Western Powers.
Different political idealogies were being experimented with all over
the world. Anarchists assasinated leaders in many countries, including
a U.S. president. It was a time of psychologists like Freud, who
found that humans were only driven by animal desires and philosphers
like Nietzsche who sent up a cry that "God is Dead" (Noble). People
were looking for stability, for something to believe in and Pollyanna
offered them that.In 1913 itself, war was impending and people were actually excited and ready
for it. Most people believed that the war would be short and just.
Pollyanna was higher on the bestseller list in 1914 when Europe was actually embroiled
in World War I (Hackett, 68). This timing aided Pollyanna's popularity.
Many people expected a good outcome to the war and Pollyanna echoed this
hopefulness in a general way. with so many dissenters about the
good and rationality of people, Pollyanna shouts that there is goodness
in everyone and always something about which to be glad. Pollyanna's
first words in the book are "oh, I'm so glad, glad, GLAD to see you"
(Porter, 16). The "Glad Clubs" likely increased the sales of the book and led more people
into Pollyanna's enchanting web. With no help from Porter herself,
the "Glad Clubs" brought the spirit of Pollyanna into people's homes.
In a time of much change, Pollyanna and the clubs provided a very simple
place to which people could turn. Gladness required no faith or
analyzation, not even Nietzsche could say that happiness was dead.
Porter even brings religion into the mix whith the reverend in her
book. When he is down about arguing amongst his congregation, Pollyanna
gives him the "rejoicing" verses. These are texts in the Bible which
tell people to rejoice and be glad. "Thus it happened that the Rev.
Paul Ford's sermon the next Sunday was a veritable bugle-call to the best that
was in every man and woman and child that heard it; and its text
was one of Pollyanna's shining eight hundred" rejoicing verses (Porter, 196).
Pollyanna's message is a similar "bugle-call." Whether or not one
believes in God, such texts can provide comfort and anyone can find
something in which to rejoice. In this way Pollyanna was somewhat
universal. Religious beliefs are not in any way a hindrance to believing
in Pollyanna's message.Pollyanna is also universal in audience according to age. Unlike
heroines in other children's books, Pollyanna does not consort
with children but with adults. There is only one other child
Pollyanna's age in the entire book. Otherwise Pollyanna is
consistently meeting with and helping adults. The subject matter
of the book concerns specifically adult problems, such as
unrequited love and poverty. A doctor who is despairing in his
work looks "into Pollyanna's shining eyes, he felt as if a loving
hand had been suddenly laid on his head in blessing" (Porter,137).
The Ladies Aid is another element more readily understandable to
adults. These elements make the book appealing to adults and such
adults are more likely to share the story with their children.
Regardless of age, Pollyanna touches every person's heart.
The same year that Pollyanna reached number 2 on the bestsellers
list, two books about boys were on the list, one of which was
Locke's The Fortunate Youth (Hackett, 69). This shows a trend not
only for books about young children, but also a desire
among people for books that are unreservedly happy. Perhaps with
Europe in the first year of war people wanted books that shared
their own optimism about the war. Another interesting note to
this trend is the similar success of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. This book was number 8 on the bestseller list in 1904,
when the Russo-Japanese war was in progress. Again another time
of war that did not physically touch America. Also in that year
the New York Subway opened, a sign not only of increasing technology
but also of urbanization. During 1904 historical and romantic
fiction were consistently topping bestseller lists (Hackett, 68).
Such events result in a trend towards romantic or "glad" books,
which are not far different from events in the years Pollyanna
was most popular. Mott describes the primary virtue of Pollyanna
as "cheerfulness in the face of troubles," and this term could
also be applied to the other three books (Mott).Another trait that Pollyanna, The Fortunate Youth and Rebecca of
Sunnybrook farm have in common is simplicity of landscape and a
movement away from urbanization. Perhaps this aspect of getting
back to a simpler life also appeals to people. In The
Fortunate Youth, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, and even Anne of
Green Gables, which made it on no American bestseller lists, the
main characters rarely ride in cars, but travel in carriages. In
all four there is very little mention of new technologies or city
life. Although there are many similarities between Pollyanna and
these other popular books of the time, Pollyanna has enjoyed a
success different and perhaps greater than the other three.
The Fortunate Youth is no longer in print, Anne of Green Gables
wasn't a bestseller and when Walt Disney chose to make a movie in
1960 it chose Pollyanna, not the better selling Rebecca of
Sunnybrook farm. Aside from books about young children of the
early 1900's, there are few books that cause people to meet
together in clubs dedicated to a primary message of the book.
There are few books that become broadway plays. Pollyanna's
success makes the book stand out from the others as a phenomen
all its own. Porter, with a genre that was not unique or new in
itself, touched on an unprecedented popularity. There was
something about Pollyanna that caused people to love her.The immediate appeal Pollyanna held for many Americans is readily
explainable. Less obvious is why the popularity has continued so
consistently. Of course, Americans of any era can appreciate an
ideal child and good family values, but that doesn't explain the
reach of the success. Pollyanna is a term still in use, and it is
hard to find anyone who doesn't know something of the story.
Other authors have written books about Pollyanna, and the story
has been translated into many languages. Another sign of the
continued popularity of Pollyanna is the fact that Disney made
the story into a movie in 1960. There must be a contiuing audience for Pollyanna,
as well as a continuing need for some part of the message she
sends.Again current events provide part of the answer. The 1960's were
a time of turmoil for the US, there were demonstrations across
the country for a variety of causes and many people were questioning
what it meant to be American. Yet it was also a time of great hope. There
were strong leaders, such a John Kennedy in the U.S., and foreign troubles,
such as the cold war, seemed to be ending. Porter's story and her Pollyanna
could have been a reminder of sorts about what it is to live in
America. Parents probably appreciated a children's movie that
preached a good set of ethics, although the message of American
values was likely a subtle one. In a troubled era such a film
could remind viewers of a simpler time in America. It was likely
the movie itself which reminded a wide audience of Americans who
Pollyanna was, brought the name back into American households;
that is, if it had ever left. Through a mixture of these traits,
Pollyanna became a children's classic. Pollyanna's message and her character are wholly American, yet
also universal, making her loveable in any language. Pollyanna
has traits that Americans claim for themselves proudly. In 1913,
when different political idealogies abounded and war was imminent
people probably loved anything that made them proud to be American
and to live in a democracy. In a captilist society, Pollyanna is
an entrepreneur of gladness. Pollyanna allows people to forget
about the fast-paced urban world and get back to a more traditional
image of small-town America, where everyone knows everyone else
and no one ever leaves. Porter's criticism of the Ladies Aid for
choosing to support an Indian boy rather than an American
emphasizes this focus on America.
Pollyanna herself epitomizes American values, such as independence
and self-reliance. Pollyanna, even from the start is very
independent, the first day she is at her aunt's house she goes
out exploring on her own. She sees a tree outside her window that
is a path to exploration of the outdoors. She decides to attempt
the climb, with the words, "I believe I can do it" (Porter, 30)
and she does. It is this attitude of faith, determination and
bravery that Pollyanna carries with her in her striving to
achieve various goals. When she sees a problem she doesn't ask
anyone else for help, but does what she can to better the
situation. Her "glad game" is a sadness solving device her father
developed and which she uses repeatedly to help every adult she
meets. Never does Pollyanna fail to believe in her ability to
make others happy or that there is always hope for a better
tomorrow. The first settlers in America helped their neighbors
erect homes and survive in the wilderness. In a similar way
Pollyanna helps her neighbors find happiness in the
20th Century. Pollyanna looks at none of what she does as a duty,
as does her aunt, but rather as a joy. She helps people altruistically
and has an innate understanding of right and wrong. Pollyanna is a
good child, along with the many American attributes she has and
so she makes a fine representative of an American child.The Pollyanna books appealed to adults not only with the image of
the ideal American child but also because so many of the issues
with which Pollyanna dealt were adult ones. Many of these adult
problems reflect moral values, as well. Pollyanna finds a home
for an orphaned boy with a lonely man, emphasizing not only the
importance of family, but also the different shapes families can
take. Pollyanna makes a family with her aunt, when she is orphaned;
in America not all families must be traditional. It is also
important that Pollyanna helps an American boy rather than
looking abroad as do the Ladies Aiders. Another aspect of such
family values is mentioned near the end of the book when a woman
whom Pollyanna has helped comes to visit the injured Pollyanna.
Pollyanna's aunt at once recognizes the woman as someone of "ill-repute."
The stranger explains to the aunt that Pollyanna has helped her
to change her ways and prevented her and her husband from getting a
divorce. She said that Pollyanna, "didn't know, I suspect, that
her kind of folks don't generally call on my kind. Maybe if they
did call more, Miss Harrington, there wouldn't be so many--of my
kind" (Porter, 244). Thus, Pollyanna brings people and families
together in a wholesome way.
Porter's timing of Pollyanna was advantageous to the popularity
of the book. With the turmoil of the time and the fast rate at
which America and Europe were becoming industrialized, people
appreciated books that focused on a simpler, slower life. When
science was displacing religion and philosophers turning away
from religion people needed something to believe in and Pollyanna
offered them gladness. The popularity of the book was furthered
by "Glad Clubs" that came into existence not long after the book.
Porter wrote a book that is both age-centered and universal, she
does not write for a particular age group or an audience with
particular religious beliefs. Books about young children were
popular in Pollyanna's time, yet Pollyanna's popularity has
loomed larger and lasted longer than the others. This unique
success reflects the unique character of the book. It is Pollyanna
who wins people's hearts and spreads the message of morality and
joy. Pollyanna, makes up for what else the book lacks and is a
small symbol of America which will be remembered for decades. Works Cited:Columbia Encyclopedia. Fifth edition.Hackett. 80 Years of Bestsellers 1895-1975.James. Notable American Women 1607-1950. 1971.Mott. Golden Multitudes. 1947.Noble. Western Civilizatioon. Second Edition. Boston, New York:
Houghton-Mifflin Company. 1998.Porter. Pollyanna. England: Puffin Books. 1994. Virgo, Worldcat.
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