Peter Pan is an exciting story, atypical for fairytale because of the absence of a moral lesson that should be passed on to the children, as in every classical fairytale.
The author isn’t giving us any clue about how the children should behave or what is expected from them. Quite the opposite, he encounters us with a character who is refusing to grow up. Peter Pan doesn’t miss growing up, he finds it as a way for children to become boring and unimaginative.
With all that taken to our knowledge, the main character of the story, Peter Pan, is not an entirely a positive character. He is not good or noble, rather he is boastful, conceited and loving only himself. Likewise, the fairy who follows him is jealous and prickly, without any resemblance with the other good fairies, as they are usually expected to be like in fairytales. We also get to meet the lost boys who feel no sorrow for being lost, enjoying the freedom of living in Neverland among mermaids, Indians, and pirates.
The theme about never-ending childhood as described by author James Matthew Barrie is quite innovative in children’s literature. The main character who isn’t growing up is actually an allegory for author’s irony directed against children’s literature in general.
Place: House of Mr. and Mrs. Darling and the Neverland island
The Darlings are living together with their three children at the home number fourteen. They have a girl named Wendy and two sons, John, and Michael. While Mrs. Darling takes care of children and tells them fairytales, her husband’s role is to provide them a warm home, clothes and a sense of good manners, asking them to behave themselves in a more civilized way than the rest of the children.
As an additional way for keeping things in order the Darlings are hiring a nanny as well, who is taking care of children, changing their clothes and keeping them clean. That wouldn’t be considered as odd if the nanny isn’t called Nana, and actually is a dog. Besides Nana, Darlings also had a house keeper Lisa, for help around the house work.
They were living in perfect harmony until one day, a boy with an interesting name appeared. It was Peter Pan.
Peter Pan really was a quite an unusual boy who was visiting the nursery every night, playing the flute. Mrs. Darling didn’t believe the children, considering the story as a product of Wendy’s imagination, until one night she saw the boy and Nana jumped and caught his shadow. He ran away through the window, and the upset mother put the shadow away in one of the children room drawers. One evening the Darlings had to go out so mom closed the windows tight, and dad tied Nana in the yard because of some earlier misunderstandings.
After the children fell asleep, fairy Tinkerbell entered the room, followed by Peter Pan who immediately started a search for his missing shadow. He found the shadow in the drawer, but at that very moment, Wendy woke up. Seeing Peter Pan didn’t frighten her at all so she stitched his shadow back onto him. She found out all about Peter’s escape from his parents and his life as a leader of the lost boys in Neverland.
When John and Michael woke up, Peter Pan taught them how to fly so they made a deal to visit the Neverland together. Returning from the dinner, Mr. and Mrs. Darling found their children flying around, and dad realized he shouldn’t have tied the Nana in the yard.
When Wendy and her brothers arrived in Neverland they were completely amazed by its beauty. They noticed a pirate ship owned by Captain Hook, Peter Pan’s archenemy, who had to replace his fist with a hook after he lost it in one of their battles.
As they came closer to the ship, pirates started a cannon fire, and Tinkerbell was the first one who landed on the ground. Tinkerbell spotted the lost boys and told them not to shoot at Wendy. Toothless shot Wendy directly in her stomach so she fell. Peter arrived so mad that he wanted to kill the Toothless, but luckily for him, Wendy survived. Lost boys took good care of Wendy, making her feel comfortable by building her a house. She was like a mother to them, taking care of their hygiene, health and nutrition.
Tinkerbell was becoming more and more jealous, waiting for the opportunity to hurt Wendy. Pirates somehow managed to sneak their way to Wendy’s house and attack and capture some of the lost boys and Wendy as well. They took them to the pirate ship and prepared their execution. Wendy acted brave, refusing their proposals to step on their side as their lady. Peter Pan remained free, but Captain Hook put some poison in his glass while he was sleeping. When he tried to drink the poison, fairy Tinkerbell arrived, saving him at the last moment.
Peter Pan arrived to save Wendy, her brothers and the rest of the lost boys. The final battle between Peter Pan and Captain Hook took place, appearing unresolved until Peter pushed Captain Hook from the boat, so he ended in the jaws of the crocodile. After the great victory over the pirates, Peter Pan, and the lost boys became the masters of the island, enjoying the carefree life. Suddenly, a moment came for Wendy and her brothers to return back to their parents, who were waiting for them.
Seeing them asleep, mother Darling first thought that she is dreaming, but at their own fortune, everything was real. Soon after that the six of the lost boys appeared and the Darling family decided to adopt all of them. Despite everything, Peter Pan wanted to stay a boy and never to grow up. He returned with Tinkerbell back to the Neverland. As years were passing by, Wendy grew up and became a mother of a little girl Jane. She often talked to her about her adventures until one night Peter Pan appeared and took Jane to the Neverland as well. Wendy was sad because she, as an adult, couldn’t go.
Characters: Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Wendy, Michael, John, Captain Hook, the pirates, mother Darling, Indians, the lost boys, and many others…
Peter Pan – the main character in this novel,Peter Pan, never wants to grow up and has the ability to fly wherever and whenever he wants to. Usually residing on the imagined island of Neverland, together with pirates, Indians, and mermaids. Despite his tiny structure, he is extremely brace.
Agile and good at using weapons, he is an enemy to Captain Hook, finishing as a winner in all of their duels. He is also a leader of the lost boys who listen and obey to him. Together they can conquer all of their enemies. He is also conceited and boastful, unreliable, self-loving, sassy and oblivious. He is an eternal child, keeping himself uninterested in the matters of reality.
Wendy – also the main character, alongside with Peter Pan. As an opposite to him, she is nice, noble and helpful to everyone facing the trouble. She is impersonating her mother the whole time, from whom she has taught a lot about life. She provided the lost boys mother-like care by feeding them, washing their clothes, cooking for them… She is aware of her beauty and acts aligned. When pirates imprisoned her, she kept her ladylike manners. She likes receiving compliments from men, and their courting as well.
Her character appears again as she grows up and becomes a mother of a girl Jane who continued her adventures with Peter Pan. Wendy raised her daughter the same way her mother raised her. When she became an adult, she lost her ability to fly.
Captain Hook – at first impression very mean and cruel man who’s main occupations are theft and murders. But, deep inside he is very sad because he can’t stand if anyone acts unfairly. His greatest enemy is Peter Pan, and fighting him even resulted in his loss of the right hand, now replaced with a hook. The hook makes his appearance even scarier.
Captain Hook likes nice clothes, so he wears lacy white shirts as worn by pirates of the sailboats. He is frightened the most by the crocodile who ate his hand with a watch on it. Whenever he hears the clock ticking, he becomes aware of the crocodile’s presence. At the end he finished his life in his jaws, being pushed from the boat by Peter Pan.
Mrs Darling – a kind and caring woman who loves her children more than anything else in the world. She is patient and kind and her children can always rely on her. Every evening before going to sleep she puts ugly thoughts away from her children, leaving them only with the happy ones.
James Matthew Barry Biography
James Matthew Barry is born in a large working-class family, May 9th, 1860. His father was a weaver, and he was his ninth child.
A huge fan of theater from the beginning, he organized plays and played as an actor in them as well since he was a child.
At the age seven, Barry lost his younger brother in an accident. That event made a huge impact on his further life, being incorporated in his creations as well, best visible in a story about a boy who never wanted to grow up- Peter Pan.
After finishing his college education, Barrie began working as a journalist, writing short stories, dramas and novels as well, mainly for adults. At the beginning of his writing career, James has earned a great reputation not only in literature but in a theater as well.
His best-known work is Peter Pan. First written as a theatrical play, it became a huge success so James adapted it into a novel. He also wrote, “Ibsen’s spirit”, “Jane Annie”, “Quality street”, “The Admirable Crichton” …
James Matthew Barrie died in London, on June 19th, 1937.