Pollyanna was an immediate success, remaining on the best-seller list for two years, and it has never been out of print. Its popularity inspired Eleanor H. Porter to write a sequel, Pollyanna Grows Up (1915). In the sequel, Pollyanna moves to Boston to help cheer up an unhappy woman and befriends a range of people, including Jamie, a boy in a wheelchair. She continues to play and teach the Glad Game, which continues to change the lives of those who practice it. By the end of the book, Pollyanna is a young lady courted by both Jamie and the grown-up and more sophisticated Jimmy Bean.
After Porter’s death, her publisher commissioned further Pollyanna books from Harriet Lummis Smith and, later, Elizabeth Borton. The novels continued Porter’s tradition of portraying Pollyanna and her Glad Game transforming people’s outlooks. The sequels by later writers have not proven as enduring as Porter’s own Pollyanna books.
In 1920, Pollyanna was adapted into a film starring Mary Pickford, as well as a stage play. In 1960, the Walt Disney Studios released another film adaptation starring Hayley Mills. A third Pollyanna was released in 2003 with Georgina Terry as Pollyanna.
Pollyanna fits squarely into the tradition of late nineteeth and early twentieth century American girls’ novels such as Kate Douglas Wiggin’s Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1903), L. M....
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