Who is Pollyanna?

Sometimes when you read a passage in GP Paper 2 (or any article really), the writer makes a reference to a person/historical event/literary character and expects the reader to make instant connections . But often, we do not and thus lose the ability to understand the deeper meaning behind that particular reference. In this blog, I hope to help us understand as many of these allusions and references as possible by sharing some stories.

The first of these is ‘Pollyanna’. Just the other day, we were analyzing a passage on environmental issues, and this word popped up in the middle of a sentence. So who was ‘Pollyanna’ and how is it used?

Pollyanna is the title of a children book written in 1913, which spawned many other sequels. The title character is a young orphan girl who is always able to find something to be glad about in every situation. Today, ‘Pollyanna’ is used to describe someone who is infectiously optimistic, and able to find the good in every circumstance. At times, it can also be used in a negative sense to show how someone can be overly idealistic or optimistic to the point of being naive and refusing to recognize the facts of an obvious misfortune.

How you can use this blog entry:

Paper 1 (Global Issues, Our Outlook of the Future)

Related synonyms & ideas you can use:

Optimistic, idealistic, naive, sanguine, ‘rose-tinted glasses’

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~ by irwin on May 8, 2010.

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