Peter Pan is the story of a mischievous little boy who lived on an imaginary Island, “Neverland.” He got all he wanted on the Island and never wanted to be an adult because he does not want to embrace the responsibilities that come with adulthood. Unfortunately for Peter Pan, it’s all illusions because never can such land exist, where all is free without work. The book centers on an adventure, mother’s roles, family fantasies, reality, and responsibility.
Written by J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan is a classic and a timeless fairy tale which every reader enjoys, because what is for sure is that every human being at one time or the other has his or her imaginations and fantasies, “Neverland.” Such ambitions may turn out to be an urge towards determination to succeed.
Peter Pan or the boy, who did not grow up, is a beautiful piece of art that has inspired a lot of movies, TV series, plays, and other novels. In the book, Peter Pan is an exaggerated stereotype that is careless, cocky, and boastful. He thinks he’s great when in reality, he isn’t. But you will love the way Peter and Wendy Darling flies with fairy dust to Neverland.
The book has inspired lots of movie series and featured many actors such as Mary Martins, Tiger Lily, and others. The original play came out in December 1904. Walt Disney version, where Bobby plays Peter Pan, came out in 1953. Also another 1991 movie with the title “Hook” further made the book famous. It also appeared as a movie in 2004 with the title “Finding Neverland.” Peter Pan has become a Cultural Icon, which symbolizes the innocence of Youths.
A Scottish Novelist, James M. Barrie, wrote this great book. Several organizations have adopted the name as inspiration to name their brands. We now see Peter Pan Bus Lines, Peter Pan Records, Peter Pan seafood, and lots more.
The story begins in the nursery of Darling home, where Mrs. Darling is “sorting through her children’s minds” at bedtime. She is surprised to find that all the children have been thinking of someone named Peter Pan. When Mrs. Darling asks about this mysterious boy, Wendy explains that Peter sometimes visits them when they’re asleep. One night, when she is resting in the nursery, Mrs. Darling wakes up to find that Peter Pan has indeed come to visit. When Peter notices an adult in the room, he jumps out the window, but the children’s canine nanny, Nana, traps his shadow inside the room.
A few nights later, when the Darlings are dressing for a party, Mr. Darling quarrels slightly with the children and ties Nana in the yard, to everyone’s dismay. When the Darling parents leave for the party, the children are left unguarded, and Peter and Tinker Bell fly into the nursery. They are looking for Peter’s shadow, which Mrs. Darling had hidden away in a drawer. When Tink gives Peter the shadow, Peter finds that he can’t get it to stay on. His bitter crying wakes Wendy, who quickly sews the shadow on for him. Peter confesses that he has been listening in on the children’s bedtime stories so that he could repeat them to the lost boys. He asks Wendy to come with him to Neverland, where she could go on adventures and be a mother to all the little boys. Wendy hesitates but finally agrees. Peter teaches all three Darling children how to fly, and they set off to Neverland.
After flying for several days and nights, they finally spot the island on the horizon. The island seems dark and dangerous. Pirates who also inhabit the island fire a gun at the group, and everyone flies in different directions. Tinker Bell, who is jealous of Peter and Wendy’s new friendship, uses the opportunity to try and get rid of Wendy: she tells the lost boys to shoot Wendy, and Wendy almost dies. But soon everything is well: Peter returns, and Wendy agrees to be the boys’ mother. She cooks and cleans and mends clothes, and she has a wonderful time with it. The boys all love to have regular mealtimes and bedtimes, like ordinary little boys. Peter takes them on many wonderful adventures.
One night, Wendy is telling the boys their favorite bedtime story: it describes three children who flew away to Neverland, and who returned many years later to find their mother and father waiting for them with open arms. Peter doesn’t like the story: he reluctantly explains that his mother did not wait for him. Wendy becomes very upset and decides to take John and Michael home immediately. She invites all the boys to come, but Peter coldly declines.
As it happens, the pirates are waiting just above the children’s underground house. When Wendy and the rest come out, they are all captured and taken to the pirate ship. Meanwhile, Peter is lying in bed asleep. Captain Hook, the leader of the pirates, slips down into the lost boys’ house and poisons Peter’s medicine. When Peter wakes up, Tinker Bell tries to warn him about the poison, but he doesn’t believe her; at the last moment, she drinks the medicine herself. She grows weaker and weaker, but she is saved by the sound of children clapping all around the world. When she is well again, Peter sets out to save the others.
Hook and his crew have returned to the ship. They are about to make the children walk the plank when suddenly they hear the ticking of the crocodile – the same crocodile that has been trying to eat Hook. The children see that it is Peter who is ticking, not the crocodile. Peter slips onto the ship, and in the ensuing confusion, he and the children kill most of the pirates. When only Hook is left, Peter fences with him and finally throws him to the crocodile waiting in the water.
Soon, the Darling children come home to London. Mr. and Mrs. Darling are overjoyed, and they adopt all the lost boys except Peter, who returns to Neverland. Peter promises to take Wendy back to Neverland every year to do his spring cleaning, but he comes for her only twice.
Wendy and the other boys grow up. The boys get ordinary jobs, and Wendy marries and has a daughter named Jane. One day, Peter returns: he wants to take Wendy to do his spring cleaning, but she is too big to fly, so he takes Jane instead. When Jane grows up, he comes every so often for Jane’s daughter, and so on forever.
The theme teaches about the essence of a good family relationship. Mr. and Mrs. Darling epitomize the family unit to the fullest. By taking care and interacting lovingly with their three children is an important lesson that children learn most of their values from the family. If they grow up seeing violence, then they tend to be violent towards others. The book teaches that good parenting is necessary for bringing up decent children.
Loving and kind communication between family members can significantly affect a child. Peter Pan teaches us that children begin to develop their senses of self when they see themselves through the eyes of their family members. Kids absorb the tone of voice from older members of the family, the body language, and every other expression. Words and actions of parents and other family members develop a kid’s self-esteem and make them who they are eventually. Mr. and Mrs. Darling always praise their children. Praising accomplishment of your kids no matter how small can make them develop self-esteem, become very proud, and propel excellence. However, belittling them would destroy their self-worth. Peter Pan teaches the reader to avoid loaded statements or use of words as a weapon against family members. It tells us to choose words carefully and always show compassion.
The upbringing of children is not limited to the parents; mother and father. Other members of a family also have significant roles to play. The author explains the example through Wendy. Peter Pan discovers two lost boys, and Wendy immediately acts as a mother by taking complete care of them. In today’s society, a majority of inmates grew up in fatherless or motherless homes. In a past study of Inmates in America, researchers discovered that 70% of the inmates didn’t grow up with both parents.
In the novel, Wendy is the prototype mother. She knows her role as a mother and represents an older structure. A mother should teach her children ethical values; the mother should be loving and caring. She should guide her children against making poor decisions. In the novel, Wendy and her brothers enjoyed good motherly care, which helps to shape her character. As a result, she could stop the lost boys from making poor decisions and be homely and honest to them.
There is good evidence that playing the role of a good mother to children can significantly influence them. In the novel, Wendy acting like a mum was due to the ethical values from Mrs. Darling, who took absolute care of her. A good mother should set limits like in the case of Wendy when she asks the lost boys not to eat the pirate’s cake. The novel teaches us that discipline is necessary for every home. Discipline would ensure that kids choose acceptable behaviors and also learn self-control amid temptation. Sometimes they can test the limit set for them, but they need those limits to grow into responsible people. In today’s homes, mothers should establish house rules, when to watch the TV, when to do homework, when to sleep, and lots more. All these need time so, a good mother should make time for the kids. Making time for the kids would ensure that you spot their flaws and correct them on time for, “A stitch in time saves nine”.
Lastly, Peter Pan teaches the reader to be a role model for their kids. Mrs. Darling was a role model for Wendy. Children learn very fast from the little things their parents do. Wendy could pass on the good values she learned from Mrs. Darling to the lost boys, who growing up into parents would pass over such values in their homes for the general good of society as a whole.
Growing Up and Reality
Growing up is the most critical stage for every child. If this stage is not well handled, the future of the child may just have been compromised. The theme of growing up is also the most obvious theme in Peter Pan. Peter Pan lived on an imaginary Island, “Neverland”. He was gradually transitioning from a child to a teenager, but his fears altered his mental state. His mother could not change it because he did not trust her. The novel teaches the reader that parents should endeavor to gain the trust of their children.
The teenage period brings about lots of mental and behavioral changes. Brain scans show that teenagers are less likely to respond to punishment, more prone to embarrassment, and more visually creative than adults. So, parents need to know the neuroscience behind teenage brain development. This knowledge would help them better to teach and relate to them. If Peter’s mum understood this, then she would have given him better advice and make him accept his fears.
The book teaches the reader that we should help kids overcome their fear in life. Learning to overcome fear is vital for growth and self-confidence. Peter lived on an imaginary Island and saw the suffering adults passed through in the real world. He never wanted to grow, evidently afraid to go through the thorns of adulthood. This explains why he panics when he hears that he would eventually grow up. He couldn’t accept his fears, and that’s not healthy.
Peter does not want to take up adult responsibility, which was the reason he never wanted to grow up. He wants to remain as a child and continue to have fun and be pampered. This theme teaches that sometimes in life, we won’t get what we wish to, and reality would eventually set in. Peter would not remain as a child despite his wishes. The other children came to terms with the fact that they would eventually grow up to be adults.
As a child, you can talk and act like a child. But as you grow up to become an adult, you act like an adult and become a bread-winner to those dependent on you. This is one of the lessons of the theme of responsibility.
In today’s society, most people do not understand what it takes to be adults. One of the biggest reasons for the rise in social vices and corrupt government is many adults act like bad-tempered children, wanting to be spoon-fed and so reaping from where they have not sown, thus perpetuating the spiral of corrupt practices. If you want to be a man, then you should act like a man, not like a boy or woman. If you’re going to be a woman, you should act like a woman and not like a little boy or girl.
Peter Pan teaches the readers that if you want the respect that comes with being an adult, you have to understand your adult responsibilities. Until you know and act like an adult, you would forever be an unworthy child impacting negatively on society.
In spite of Peter Pan’s wish to remain as a little boy, to escape from the headaches that come along with adult responsibilities, he eventually learns that people must grow up and face the reality of life. The book has evolved since its first performance in 1904. Originally it was just three acts, but the Author let the story grow through several other novels and became standardized in 1928.