1/25/14

The Boy Who Never Grew Up

Peter Pan, the "boy who would not grow up," originally appeared as a baby living a magical life among birds and fairies in J.M. Barrie's sequence of stories, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. His later role as flying boy hero was brought to the stage by Barrie in the beloved play Peter Pan, which opened in 1904 and became the novel Peter and Wendy in 1911. In a narrative filled with vivid characters, epic battles, pirates, fairies, and fantastic imagination, Peter Pan's adventures capture the spirit of childhood-and of rebellion against the role of adulthood in conventional society. This edition includes the novel and the stories, as well as an introduction by eminent scholar Jack Zipes. Looking at the man behind Peter Pan and sifting through the psychological interpretations that have engaged many a critic, Zipes explores the larger cultural and literary contexts in which we should appreciate Barrie's enduring creation and shows why Peter Pan is a work not for children but for adults seeking to reconnect with their own imagination.
Spoilers are up ahead
(so proceed with caution)




"Second to the right, and straight on till morning" (37).
What I love about this book
-  The narrator includes us in the story, as shown here: "Let us pretend to lie here among the sugar-cane and watch them as they steal by in single file, each with his hand on his dagger" (47).
- The adventures they have on Neverland, from the Mermaid’s Lagoon to killing off some pirates.
-  Some of the lost boys actually believe Wendy is their mother.
-  This is a kid’s story that’s for everyone.
-  There isn’t much romance found throughout the story. However there are quite a few “thimbles” involved, especially in Peter Pan in the Kensington Gardens.
-  Peter Pan’s ignorance at the fact that there are quite a few girls who has a crush on him.
-  Tinker Bell’s catchphrase, "you silly ass"
-  This is a story centered around children and how they’re “gay and innocent and heartless” (153). There are of course a few adults in the books, such as Mr. and Mrs. Darling, the pirates, and a majority of the red skins.
- John’s, Michael’s, and Wendy’s nurse is a dog named Nana. Who does an excellent job at taking care of the children.
- Children were “birds before they were human” (167).
- The personification of the stars, plants, and flowers.

What I love/hate about this book
- Peter Pan
- There’s more to Peter Pan than being the boy who doesn’t grow up, which I have to admit, disturbs me in some ways. For example, he’s perfectly fine with killing people, from the lost boys, when they start getting too old, to the pirates.
"The boys on the island vary, of course, in numbers, according as they get killed and so on; and when they seem to be growing up, which is against the rules, Peter thins them out;" (47).

-"...you felt it was his cleverness that interested him and not the saving of human life" (38).
 He doesn’t really care about a human life at all; in fact he’s more interested in the fact that he’s clever. Which is something he picked up from the fairies.
-  He gets bored pretty easily, "... the sport that engrossed him one moment would suddenly cease to engage him, ..." (38).
-  "And if he forgets them, so quickly," Wendy argued, "how can we expect that he will go on remembering us?" (39).
It’s like his brain has a black hole and everything he just did, and everything he said just find themselves getting pulled into it. Never taking a quick moment to grab onto something, so he can at least remember them. There are however, a few exceptions like his mother’s betrayal and Wendy.
-  "... to him make-believe and true were exactly the same thing" (61). This is another trait he picked up from the fairies. And it is quite a cumbersome thing sometimes, especially because make-believe food doesn’t fill lost boys’ stomachs.
- Also, Peter Pan isn’t exactly human. In fact, he’s a “Betwixt-and-Between” (172). He’s stuck between being a bird and being a human.
- Note some of the characteristics described above does not mean I don’t like Peter Pan. In fact, I really enjoy having him around considering that he’s so happy, occasionally sad or angry. Plus he knows how to have fun, proven through all the adventures that he has. And in some way, he cares for the lost boys willing to rescue them when they got taken by pirates. He is also pretty clever, and at one point in time, he did care for his mother. Though it broke my heart when he finally decided to go back to her permanently, only to find the window was closed and barred, and she already had another child replace him.

What I don’t like about this book
-  The lost boys eventually lose faith in Peter Pan, in fairies, in Neverland, and everything imaginative. They eventually grew up and became boring adults.
- How it didn’t describe any more of Peter Pan’s adventures. But as the narrator did say, "To describe them all would require a book as large as an English-Latin, Latin-English Dictionary," (71).

- Character deaths are treated lightly, with the exception of Captain Hook. 

And now the weather:
Never Grow Up by Taylor Swift
~ Stacy N.

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