#JusJoJan: Pollyanna

Hayley Mills as Pollyanna (1960). Source: IMDb (screenshot)

Our JusJoJan word for today is optimism, selected for us by June over at her blog.

One of the classics of children’s literature is Eleanor H. Porter’s 1913 novel Pollyanna. Pollyanna is a girl who is orphaned at age 11 and goes to live with her Aunt Polly in Beldingsville, Vermont. Pollyanna is one of those perpetually cheerful, optimistic kids, living her life as “The Glad Game.” This was something she learned from her father, who was a minister. The idea was, no matter how bad something seems, try to find something good about it. That’s the attitude she takes through the story.

Being a “Pollyanna” is normally a derogatory term for someone who’s always optimistic and cheerful. There are always people around them who want them to “be realistic” and to understand that “life is full of disappointments,” that things don’t always go their way. The truth is that the Pollyannas of the world already know this. Being optimistic and learning to see the best in a bad situation is the way they cope with the disappointment.

I always think of a baseball manager whose team is on an extended losing streak. After the game, they don’t talk about the loss, the talk about how So-and-so is seeing the ball better and starting to make contact (even if he went 0-for-4 with a couple of strikeouts), this other guy is doing a great job in the field, that pitcher is throwing strikes, etc. Their attitude is always “we’ll get ’em tomorrow.” He knows what his team is capable of, and that tomorrow it all might come together.

From Wikipedia:

In a 1973 State of the Union message to Congress Richard M. Nixon wrote, “I believe there is always a sensible middle ground between the Cassandras and the Pollyannas. We must take our stand upon that ground.”

Words to live by…

20 thoughts on “#JusJoJan: Pollyanna

        1. I think there were three series altogether, and the third actually made the cover of the Chicago Tribune TV Week (the schedules for the week). That was unusual; they rarely featured any PBS series.

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    1. I didn’t especially like it when I was 11, but then, 11-year-olds don’t like much of anything. I’d want to see it now for some of the actors in it (there were a lot of great character actors that I knew from TV).

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    1. I saw it in grade school. I think it was the principal’s birthday, so they gathered us all in the theater and showed it. I was a little less than enthused, as I recall (I think I was eleven or so), now I’d want to see it for the cast. You can rent it on YouTube or Amazon, maybe even Disney+.

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