Who is Peter Pan?

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  • Written By: Wanda Albano
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 May 2020
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Peter Pan is the protagonist of a tale of the same name written by J.M. Barrie around 1904. Barrie first wrote it as a play, then novelized it in 1911, calling it Peter Pan and Wendy.

In these stories, Peter Pan is a young child who refuses to grow up. He is the leader of a group of like-minded boys, the Lost Boys, and they all reside in a place called Neverland. They are kept company by a pretty little fairy called Tinkerbell, a tribe of Indian braves whose princess is named Tiger Lily, and a few mermaids. The boys also engage in skirmishes with a shipload of pirates, whose leader is Captain Hook.

Many readers believe that the basis of the Peter Pan character is likely a conglomeration of the Davies boys, with whom J.M. Barrie had struck a special friendship. In fact, the name Peter is the name of one of those boys. Pan, on the other hand, is thought to have been taken from the god Pan, deity of the forests.

The story most commonly familiar to us begins with an overview of the Darling family and Peter Pan losing his shadow. Wendy, the oldest Darling child, sews his shadow back for him, and in a fit of fancy, is invited back to Neverland to mother the Lost Boys. Wendy's two brothers, John and Michael are brought along as well. After a sprinkling of Tinkerbell's pixie dust, the children fly and journey into the stars. Their time at Neverland has hardly begun before it soon becomes apparent that Tinkerbell, Tiger Lily, and the mermaids are all jealous of Wendy's new status as first lady of the house.

After a host of adventures, Wendy finally realizes that home is the place for her. She persuades her brothers, one of whom has already begun to forget their mother, that it is time for them to go home to Kensington, England. Peter Pan and his Lost Boys accompany them back, and before the night is through, the Lost Boys have all decided to stay with Wendy's family. Peter, on the other hand, goes back to Neverland, promising Wendy that he will come for her once a year so she can do the spring cleaning.

However, Peter Pan being the slightly self-centered child that he is, he quickly forgets his promise to Wendy. By the time he goes back, she has left childhood for adulthood and is a mother herself. Wendy then offers her own daughter, Jane, for a fortnight once a year in her place.

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Post 1

Actually, Peter Pan was a small story in the 1902 book by James Barrie called “The Little White Bird”. In 1906, it was published as “Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens”.

The name Wendy was created by Barrie for the book. Wendy Darling was named after a young girl named Margaret Henley who passed away at the age of 6. Barrie’s nickname for her was “my friendly”, but little Margaret could not make the “fr” sound so it became “my fwendy”.

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