Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
As Miss Polly Harrington tells her servant Nancy to prepare an attic room for the arrival of her orphaned eleven-year-old niece, Pollyanna, it is clear that Miss Polly is not fond of children. Pollyanna’s mother—Miss Polly’s sister—died years ago, but Miss Polly still thinks disapprovingly of her sister’s marriage. Rejecting a proposal from a wealthy local man, Miss Polly’s sister instead fell in love with a humble young minister, married him, and moved west. Now, the minister, Pollyanna’s father, has died too, and Pollyanna is coming to live with dutiful Aunt Polly.
Good-hearted Nancy readies the room for Pollyanna and complains about Miss Polly’s prickly ways to Old Tom, the gardener. Old Tom reveals that Miss Polly’s sour demeanor began after an unhappy love affair, and the man she loved still lives in town. Nancy is eager to learn the man’s identity, but Old Tom refuses to give away the secret.
Miss Polly sends Nancy to the train station to meet Pollyanna instead of going herself. The attic room proves hot and uncomfortable, and Miss Polly punishes Pollyanna for climbing out the window. In each case, Pollyanna assumes the best motives of Miss Polly and finds a way to be glad about her situation.
Pollyanna then explains what she calls the “Glad Game” to Nancy. It began when her father asked for supplies for his missionary efforts, including a doll for Pollyanna. The churchwomen sending the supplies had no...
(The entire section is 1301 words.)
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