Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Favorites: Peter Pan

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

Recommended For: All Ages

Rating: G

"I'll teach you how to jump on the wind's back, and then away we go," said Peter. "You just think lovely wonderful thoughts, and they lift you up in the air."

When the Darling children are visited by Peter Pan and Tinker Bell, he convinces them to fly away to the island of Neverland, where children never grow up! There they meet the Lost Boys, a giant crocodile, and the evil Captain Hook. Discover the magical adventures of Peter Pan in this timeless, classic tale.

We all at one time have wished never to grow up. We all have read about Peter Pan, the boy who never did.
I really don't know why I like Peter Pan so much. I first read it a long time ago when the only copy in the house was my sister's. It had small print and was rather daunting. But I finished it and I really liked it. I have since then acquired my own copy, and now I love it. I can't really say who's my favorite character, though. All of the children are heartless, and J. M. Barrie acknowledges this, especially in his last line which I really love: "...and so it will go on, as long as children are gay and innocent and heartless."

Peter Pan is, of course, the central character of this book, although Wendy is the protagonist. Peter Pan, I'm told, is a jerk in the movie (I don't really know; I haven't seen it in forever), and is even worse in the TV show Once Upon A Time, but in the book, while he badly needs a mother, he's not a jerk and certainly not a villain. Peter Pan is very forgetful, he's selfish, as all children are, carefree, a little rude, but nice to the ladies. He tries to be a gentleman, although I'm not sure he succeeds at times. But he does succeed at other times, namely the lagoon adventure (read the book if you don't know what I'm talking about). Namely it is his forgetfulness that shapes Peter Pan. He is a natural leader, he doesn't like the Lost Boys to dress like him or know anything he doesn't know, he loves a good game, he is extremely cocky, he won't strike a man when he is down (literally), strives to always be fair, he despises the thought of mothers (real mothers, that is) and is insanely good at imagining things. An oft-forgotten fact is that Peter Pan had nightmares. As J. M. Barrie said, "Sometimes, though not often, he had dreams, and they were more painful than the dreams of other boys. For hours he could not be separated from these dreams, though he wailed piteously in them. They had to do, I think, with the riddle of his existence." This really made me feel sorry for Peter (and gave me inspiration for one of my characters with the same name).

Sorry for the really long paragraph. Peter is a mystery and it takes a while to explain him. Wendy was fascinated with him, and she could tell, like her mother and her progeny, that he desperately needed a mother. She tried to fulfill that role for him for a while, albeit not very well, but she was just a little girl in need of a mother of her own. I like Wendy very much. She and Peter are probably my favorite characters.

The Neverland is a very interesting place. J. M. Barrie developed it very well. It's so interesting and weird, and its inhabitants are whimsical.

Captain Hook deserves a shout-out. His name wasn't really James Hook, or as he wrote it, Jas. Hook, but someone who "To reveal who he really was would even at this late date set the country in a blaze;" but by Barrie's own admission, was not wholly evil. He loved flowers and sweet music, and was no mean performer on the harpsichord, and was harped up on good form. Peter himself had the highest of good forms, good form without knowing you have good form.Captain Hook was not wholly a bad man, and I kind of like him.

I also really like Barrie's writing style. It's hard to explain, really; I guess you'll just have to read the book again. I do a lot: it's a comfort read.

Anyone and everyone should read this book, and read it again and again. I really like it and it's a really good book.

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