Monday, October 14, 2013

Peter and Wendy Analization part 1: A Bit of History

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"So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you." 
~Romans 12:2~ The Message~

I've always wondered how Peter Pan remained young.  Perhaps the fairies kept him young, which would explain why, in the book, he was said to have a "fairyish" look, as if he was a fairy.  But I knew there had to be some story behind it all, so I dug deeper into the life of J. M. Barrie:

The first time anyone learned about the story of Peter Pan was when they went to see the play on the 27th of December, in 1904, in which a young woman played Peter.  Before the play began, some thought James M. Barrie crazy for having thought up the story.  A dog who was a nurse for children, who made their beds even, and even walked them to school!  A boy who could fly and not grow up!  A shadow that could be detached from its master.  Fairies and pirates and mermaids.  Some thought the play didn't have a chance of being successful, but it was.  Many enjoyed it, and some didn't.  The story had come from James' relationship with a bunch of boys who awoke in him a sense of adventure, and a reminding of something sad that happened long ago, when he himself was a very young boy.

James was the 9th of 10 siblings, and the eldest brother, David, was his mother's favorite of all.  Everyone was excited to see how David would be when he grew up, and had great expectations for him, while ignoring James a bit, who was only 4.  But David died on his 14th birthday, in a skating accident.  He would never have the chance to grow up now, and his mother was very heartbroken and hardly even noticed James, till one day when James went into her room dressed up like David, and pretended to be him, so that his mother might notice him.  He did this many times.

This made me wonder if Peter was like a ghost that had never fully faded away.  Neverland would be a little like heaven.  It would explain why in the book there was mentioned that Peter was said to have gone part of the way through that dark tunnel of death with children who had died, to comfort them on their journey to eternity (or something similar).  Things only mentioned in the book once I've been capturing lately.  It's very fascinating.  Although of course in the story Peter isn't a ghost, but a normal boy who simply decides not to grow up.

The edition of the book you see the picture of above is the very first version of Peter Pan I had read from the library.  It was a very special edition, hard cover with illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman, which made me forget about Disney's Peter Pan and led me to quite a different story, more fairy-tale-ish and dreamy and dark and filled with nostalgia.  It had characters that in my mind looked nothing like Disney's.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman (1980). same lady that illustrated the saint George and the dragon kids book!My next posts about Peter Pan will be coming soon. :)  Narnia may have to wait a bit, for I have much more to say.  What do you think about Peter Pan?  Have you read it?  

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. You make me even more curious to read Peter Pan. Someday soon!