Pollyanna And My Lifes Quest Towards The Positive

So what is all this Pollyanna nonsense, you say? Let’s start with a little back story.

What does Pollyanna Mean?

The term pollyanna means an excessively cheerful or optimistic person.

Who is Pollyanna?/ What is the meaning of Pollyanna?

Pollyanna is the main character of the self-titled children’s novel Pollyanna, and leading character in subsequent books and other media. She is an orphan who lives in Vermont with her wealthy Aunt Polly, who has taken in Pollyanna after the passing of her mother. Pollyanna plays what she refers to as “The Glad Game,” which includes finding something to be glad about no matter the situation.

Due to the success of the novel, the terms “Pollyannaish” and “Pollyannaism” we coined.

Pollyanna In Books & Pop-Culture

As mentioned above, Pollyanna is best-selling novel written by Eleanor H. Porter and a classic piece of children’s literature. In 1915, Porter wrote a sequel named Pollyanna Grows Up. With that follows 11 Glad Books sequels, and 3 other non-Glad Book novels.

Other adaptations and mentions include:

  • ”Pollyanna: The Glad Girl” -1915 play
  • Pollyanna – 1920 silent film
  • Pollyanna – 1960 Disney movie
  • Pollyanna – 1973 BBC 6-part series
  • Polly – 1989 made for TV movie/special by Disney
  • Pollyanna – 2003 TV film

What does Pollyanna mean to me?

Life is hard. When life beats you down you have to get back up. I would say that I have always lived my life in a Pollyannaish type of way. Life has knocked me down many a time. However, I have always tried to look on the bright side of things even the bad, and keep a positive outlook.

This brings up and interesting piece of psychology – “Pollyannaism”.

What is “Pollyannaism”?

Eeyore - The opposite of a Pollyanna personality
Photo by JD Hancock

Also referred to as the Pollyanna Principle, this psychological principle is based on the character Pollyanna. The principle was developed by Matlin and Stang in 1978. It basically states positive information is recalled more accurately than negative information. Also, that we tend to remember things over time more positively, including memories which are negative.

It is important to know though that this is not true for people who suffer from clinical depression. Perfectly summed up here, “Anyone who isn’t clinically depressed is on some level more like Pollyanna than Eeyore.”

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