- Adaptation Displacement: The Disney film is probably more commonly known than the book it was based on. Things such as Nancy having a sweetheart Aunt Polly disapproves of, the town being Harrington Falls and characters such as Angelica and Tilly are inventions of the film. Likewise there was a silent adaptation starring Mary Pickford, as well as a couple of TV adaptations. But if someone says 'the movie', they're usually referring to the Disney one.
- Alternate Character Interpretation:
- Pollyanna seems like an extremely good junior version of a Stepford Smiler. At least until she starts to move toward the Despair Event Horizon.
- Aunt Polly's dislike of Pollyanna's father is tied to her sister marrying him. Is it because she wanted her sister to marry Mr Pendelton (as in the book)? Or does she resent him for the fact that her sister died of malaria in the West Indies because he was a missionary? This is heavily implied in the book as well- she felt sorry for Mr. Pendelton, but Old Tom says she hated Pollyanna's father for taking her sister away across the country- and, presumably, for letting her die so young out there. Jennie (Harrington) Whittier died 'a few years after' announcing Pollyanna's birth, which puts her at about age 37 or so (5 years older than Polly, who is 40 when Pollyanna is 11)
- Does Mrs Snow have depression? She never gets out of bed and talks constantly about dying, as if she were terminal. It's quite possible that after the death of her husband, she may have just given up altogether.
- Angst Aversion: The sudden death of Dr. Chilton and Aunt Polly's personality returns to old self in the second-half of Pollyanna Grows Up are off-putting to some readers and feel unecessary.
- Common Knowledge: Everyone 'knows' that Pollyanna is a silly naive optimist. They'd be surprised to discover that the story hints she's a Stepford Smiler - as she does crack once or twice before her accident causes a Despair Event Horizon. Notably the author spoke against The Pollyanna trope - claiming Pollyanna did not deny any kind of sadness or negativity, but rather maintained a positive outlook in the face of such tragedy.
- Contested Sequel: Pollyanna Grows Up can be seen as this. Some readers enjoyed it but others dislike it for several reasons. There are also people who think it's okay for what it is but felt it doesn't hold up to its predecessor. The contested part lies primarily from recycling some concepts from the first book (e.g. Pollyanna trying to cheer a crabby aunt, romantic misunderstandings, etc.), the Happy Ending Override time skip in the second-half, dated romantic relationships and the ending can be seen as too mushy and predictable.
- Esoteric Happy Ending: While Pollyanna Grows Up ends with a positive note with some major characters get a happy ending, some readers have pointed out that Aunt Polly was neglected after getting the short end of a stick.
- First Installment Wins: Many people aren't aware that Pollyanna has an official sequel called Pollyanna Grows Up and other "Glad Books" written by different authors.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Pollyanna is very popular in Japan and Turkey. The former even made an anime based on it.
- They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Some readers have pointed out that Pollyanna Grows Up should have covered her life in Germany in her teenage years. That idea never comes up in favor of romance for some reason.
- Tear Jerker: When Pollyanna prays at her father's grave, saying how hard it is to be glad all the time.
- Unbuilt Trope:
- This is indeed the Trope Namer for The Pollyanna. But the trope itself Flanderises this part of Pollyanna's character. As noted above, she appears to be a bit of a Stepford Smiler and the Glad Game is really all she has - and we see that happy face disappear once or twice. She's nearly broken by the end, but gets better.
- Parts of the story feel like a deconstruction of White Man's Burden, and the novel was written back in 1913. The book criticises the fact that Aunt Polly donates her money to various causes, because she only does it out of a stuffy sense of obligation.
- Values Dissonance:
- At one point in the book, Pollyanna mentioned that she had a neighbor who was forced to sleep outside every night because the latter has consumption.
- In the second book, the idea of Pollyanna potentially marrying Mr. Pendleton due to obligation can be seen as plain creepy to many readers nowadays. While it turned out to be false and the latter didn't actually fell in love with the former, the fact some people all around them found it tolerable doesn't help.
- Also from the second one, Aunt Polly refusing to allow Pollyanna in marrying Jimmy due to different social class, despite that they know the latter much for many years can be seen as absurd in today's standards.
- The Woobie:
- Pollyanna herself. She's lost both her parents by the age of twelve, and growing up she never had enough money for luxuries like toys or new clothes. What's more is that she's saddled with an aunt who couldn't give a rat's ass about her (at first anyway). It's hinted that the Glad Game is really the only thing keeping her going.
- There's a case to be made for Millie Snow too. She's forced to put up with her crabby old mother every day. Imagine how she must feel hearing her own mother talk as if were going to die any minute. Although Mrs Snow's When She Smiles moment is Played for Laughs, there is something a little unnerving about the idea that Millie is so shocked at her mother being nice.
YMMV / Pollyanna