Reflection on Peter Pan (by J. M. Barrie)

Peter Pan is certainly a legendary character, having soared in the skies for so many years without growing up, continuing his mission for perpetuity to bring delirious children to the far-flung Neverland in search of eternal joy and happiness. He is a famous novel character in every child’s dreams, not less because it is not very ubiquitous for a normal English young gentleman to escape from the claws of social norms and the monstrous phase of ‘growing up’, in an attempt to seek the real answer to ‘bliss’ and ‘joy’.
Many might criticise Peter’s recklessness when making his decisions. ‘So like a child’, an unenthusiastic and negative critic might comment, with due reference to his naivety when considering the next steps in his life. Of course, it seems out-of-character for an English boy to pursue nothing but a child’s happiness by running off to a place of his dreams – a land where no one ever grows up or anchors worries. That is precisely the answer to flying and soaring high above the crystal blue skies – happy memories. Peter once said, ‘Think of the happiest thing, it’s the same as having wings.’ I truly believe that your dreams will come true once you deposit your faith in it, especially when that dream initially seems impossible or simply out of one’s hallucinations. However, is it true for adults to criticise or appraise a child’s thoughts? Peter is, after all, a young adult having experienced his first bite on adulthood, when his parents decided that he should grow up and learn how to become a man. Everyone has at one point considered reversing time and returning to one’s childhood, enjoying lazy afternoons reading fairy tales with the accompaniment of nothing but their fluffy toys strewn across the floor or simply wrapping up in a cold winter evening watching a Disney classic, sipping their hot cocoa in extreme bliss and warmth. These childhood memories are definitely memorable and it is somewhat nostalgic to recall such traces of the past. Peter desires nothing of merely recalling such crumbled bits of his past, adopting an aggressive approach instead towards childhood – he has to get it, for eternity. He travels solo to Neverland, obliterating any thought about his family or parents and set sail to a faraway place.
It is beyond reasonable doubt that he certainly succeeded in fulfilling all his desires when he arrived in Neverland. With Tinkerbell on his side, he fought hard against the demon Captain Hook and his team of crafty pirates, whilst adopting the Lost Boys as a means of developing a private army. The realms of Neverland were eternally attractive and charismatic, with the Mermaid Lagoon starring numerous mermaids showcasing their beauty and grace as they wander around in the water waiting for Peter’s arrival. The Red Indians were hostile at first, but displayed the utmost of their hospitality when Peter saved their princess, Tiger Lily. Everything seemed happily set in place, with extreme harmony and happiness as Peter Pan embarked on various adventures with his beloved Tinkerbell and the Lost Boys. Sometimes Captain Hook might have won a few matches, Peter was still the winner hands-down. However, something simply happened when a third person entered his life. A person from a nursery in London, the most metropolitan megalopolis around the world, jumped into his little childhood. That is Wendy, the girl in his dreams.
Peter did have a ‘crush’ with Wendy, in search of less formal words to describe the teenage romance that was explicitly expressed in many Peter Pan adaptations. The original script was titled ‘Peter and Wendy’, giving the inkling that the bond between the two protagonists must have been strong and unbreakable. However, this is also a reason behind why such a romantic fairy tale turns out to be poignant and saddening yet memorable and unforgettable. Wendy is a girl who wishes to grow up so fondly, receiving secret kisses from Peter as he peered over the window and even advanced to her bedside every silent night when no one was watching. One time he attempted to escape after visiting Wendy, but resulted in a tragic loss of his shadow. Nonetheless, that also provided a nice excuse for him to return to the Darling’s house.
The plot was deduced swiftly and smoothly with Peter introducing flying to Wendy, John and Michael, bringing them to various adventures as well as their final combat with Captain Hook. However, the most important part lies on Peter and Wendy’s love. Love might emerge as a rather alien concept in children, since children consider affection as something similar to sharing out sweets and going nearer and hanging out more with a friend or a girl. Peter did feel – he did feel Wendy putting a tender hand on his heart, her hand warm and glowing as it melted the snow on his chest. Wendy refused to stay in Neverland forever, not less because she wanted to grow up as well as the fact that she was tied with numerous responsibilities as the eldest in the family. She was quite different from Peter, a lone boy never desiring to leave his little old place – like a real mother than one in make-believe. She gave her hidden kiss to Peter when he lost strength whilst fighting with Captain Hook and being injured tremendously by the villain’s words tantamount to swords of attacks. The villain appeared to be right for once after all – Wendy would forget him when she grew up. Wendy has to return to London and continue with her own life, then adopting the same life every Englishwoman aspires: marry, give birth and mother her own children. Peter would soon be forgotten by the forces of time and reality. After all, who wants to have a boy as a husband?
Peter is although touched by Wendy’s hidden kiss and favours Wendy’s evidence of love, he also sadly admits that Wendy has to go and they must separate. Of course, the entire story would have changed should Peter go for a relinquishment of boyhood and enter manhood, being adopted by the Darlings and remaining as Wendy’s boyfriend. However, I am afraid matters do not work this way and Peter eventually left Wendy during his final flight to Neverland. The Lost Boys went to the Darlings’ House in search of a home and a mother, while Wendy and her brothers returned home. Peter simply watched quietly, conceiving absolute melancholy as he witnessed how blissful it was for children to be caressed by their parents. However, he was compelled to stay on the other side of the window ledge and watch as the Lost Boys embraced Mrs. Darling tightly and Wendy explaining her adventures to Mr. Darling with great zeal. Classically put, Wendy could not suppress saying to Peter in the end, ‘Will you forget me, Peter? Please, please, don’t forget.’ She loved him with all her heart but the tide just worked in her disfavour and Peter, horrified of the made-up scenario of Wendy getting married with children, growing up silently without any single moment recalling her joyful moments with Peter, knew better to leave the girl in his dreams than continue with his pure and rather idealistic imagination.
Women are known to grow up faster and mature earlier than men. They do understand the meaning of duty and responsibility, while we indulge in our delightful childhood and continue thinking about changing impossibilities into possibilities. This raises a question – is childhood that nice? The stark contrast between Peter and Wendy does pose considerable matters of deeper thought by children and even the wider audience. Should we pursue eternal youth? Is it a worthy commodity to chase for? I suppose this can never be answered, since the human thought alters in accordance to one’s own experiences and age. Children crave adult life whereas the majority of adults find comfort in Disney films and animations. However, with youth busting around, the all-too-conspicuous effect is that you cannot love anyone. You are deprived of the chance to love and protect the girl you have always dreamt of. She will never be yours. This is why Peter Pan establishes itself as a classic rather than a mere romance.
This is what makes it stand out from the nonchalant bookshelf.

Filed Under: Peter Pan Literature English

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Uploaded Date: Apr 02,2016

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To commence with, I am a high-achiever in various examinations and am keen to learn. I am an active learner, having partaken in numerous internationally recognised examinations at an early age. At the age of 14, I desired to challenge myself using internationally rigorous benchmarks and.... Read More