Yesterday’s post discussed the importance of opposites in creating tension within the writing.
In 1960s, Disney released the film “Pollyanna” starring a then-child actress, Hayley Mills. The story line is: the orphaned child of missionaries comes to live with her Aunt Polly Harrington, a wealthy bitter spinster who has an iron-fist control over the town, of Harrington.
Pollyanna sets about changing the town with her sweetness. She falls from a window and is seriously injured; everyone unites and become sweet people themselves; Aunt Polly hooks up with her old flame Dr. Chilton and she converts to sweetness. Sweet, sweet, sweet.
I propose flipping this movie on its head and creating an Oppositional-Defiant Pollyanna.
The State Child Welfare system places Pollyanna into foster care under her delightful Aunt Polly. Pollyanna has been booted through the system, after setting fire to one foster home and stealing the family silver at another home.
Aunt Polly welcomes the teen-age monster Pollyanna gladly, and the cheerful loving townspeople make it their mission in life to help Pollyanna change. The character of Pollyanna undergoes a very painful slow transition to niceness, but not before she steals the church offering. When she is busted for buying drugs, the kindly Dr. Chilton helps her into rehab where she discovers that she is loved unconditionally.
Pollyanna tests the town by driving Aunt Polly’s limo through the town square during a fund-raising event to save the orphanage. Although Pollyanna smashes all the charity booths, she inadvertently uncovers a devious plot to destroy the orphanage in order to build a Wal-Mart.
Pollyanna is the hero, she is changed forever. She marries the town doctor, Aunt Polly marries Reverend Ford, and Mayor Thomas is arrested for master-minding the Wal-Mart deal.
See the change?! Doesn’t the presence of opposites improve the story dramatically?
I rest my case.
|courtesy of Wikipedia, God bless 'em|