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Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Point of Peter Pan

I feel like clarifying this, because I just got back from a class that literally picked Pan's character apart as a violent and abusive bully. This is not the point of Peter Pan. Peter himself is representative of two things, childhood and denial. Peter is a child who wants to be a child forever. His extreme case can often be a complex tragedy. He forgets things, people and make believes so often that he has no constant in his life except to make believe. He is also incredibly lonely because he has no family structure, hence why he creates one. Wendy's character represents the transition from childhood to adulthood. This is why Peter and Wendy cannot be together. During the story Wendy is sitting on the fence about whether or not she wants to grow up, but she eventually realizes that she must grow up, as all children must. This realization is a rite of passage that anyone child or adult can relate to. I don't think that children's literature should be dissected with such a biased view that it has to have some sort of "adult" or "mature" element. To do so seems to defeat the purpose, because it is an immature act in of itself. There, my rant is over.
Peter Pan is a very interesting piece of literature that has lasted so long because it contains a universal theme. Everyone must grow up. I think in all honesty that the reader envies Peter and would love to go back to childhood and not have to worry about so many complications in life. But Peter also is portrayed as a complicated character who sort of lives a lie. In all honesty, Peter is an empathetic character who is in denial of reality. This type of personality is a major fault, but it also makes him endearing. He does care about others, but always masks it when he feels like his pride has lowered. He is human, and yet he isn't human. He doesn't age, but still has faults. So to sum this up, I love Peter Pan, both the character and the story. I think it hits home in the rite of passage in growing up.
The point of Peter Pan's story is that all children must grow up, because if they don't they will be stuck in a constant cycle of forgetfulness. Even so, I still love Peter Pan, because I feel that childhood is an important part of your life, and it doesn't need to be dissected into "adult" minds.

1 comment:

  1. No, Peter Pan being a bully may not be the moral of the story, but it is possible that being an immature bully is part of him being still a child and refusing to grow up. It's one part of him, but it does not mean that's all he is. Also, the reason this story is still around is because it contains enough elements for both children AND adults to enjoy. It contains adult themes that children don't recognize but adults do, so by saying it's "biased" to interpret it as an adult is silly. Now, if someone tried to find "adult themes" in Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, then I'd be worried.