Peter Pan (Paperback)
Peter Pan is J. M. Barrie's most famous work, the story of Peter Pan, a mischievous little boy who can fly, and his adventures on the island of Neverland with Wendy Darling and her brothers, the fairy Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys, the Indian princess Tiger Lily, and the pirate Captain Hook. The play and novel were inspired by Barrie's friendship with the Llewelyn Davies family. Barrie continued to revise the play for years after its debut; the novel reflects one version of the story. Although the character appeared previously in Barrie's book The Little White Bird, 3] the play and the novel based on it contain the portion of the Peter Pan mythos that is best known. The two versions differ in some details of the story, but have much in common. In both versions Peter makes night-time calls on the Darlings' house in Bloomsbury, 6] listening in on Mrs. Mary Darling's bedtime stories by the open window. One night Peter is spotted and, while trying to escape, he loses his shadow. On returning to claim it, Peter wakes Mary's daughter, Wendy Darling. Wendy succeeds in re-attaching his shadow to him, and Peter learns that she knows lots of bedtime stories. He invites her to Neverland to be a mother to his gang, the Lost Boys, children who were lost in Kensington Gardens. Wendy agrees, and her brothers John and Michael go along. Their magical flight to Neverland is followed by many adventures. The children are blown out of the air by a cannon and Wendy is nearly killed by the Lost Boy Tootles. Peter and the Lost Boys build a little house for Wendy to live in while she recuperates (a structure that, to this day, is called a Wendy House.) Soon John and Michael adopt the ways of the Lost Boys. Illustration by F. D. Bedford from the first edition Peter welcomes Wendy to his underground home, and she immediately assumes the role of mother figure. Peter takes the Darlings on several adventures, the first truly dangerous one occurring at Mermaids' Lagoon. At Mermaids' Lagoon, Peter and the Lost Boys save the princess Tiger Lily and become involved in a battle with the pirates, including the evil Captain Hook. Peter is wounded when Hook claws him. He believes he will die, stranded on a rock when the tide is rising, but he views death as "an awfully big adventure." Luckily, a bird allows him to use her nest as a boat, and Peter sails home. Peter Pan is one of the protagonists of the play and the novel. He is described in the novel as a young boy who still has all his first teeth; he wears clothes made of leaves (autumn leaves in the play, skeleton leaves in the novel) and plays the pipes. He is the only boy able to fly without the help of fairy dust. He is afraid of nothing except mothers and growing up. He loves Wendy but can only see her as a mother figure, not a romantic partner. Barrie attributes this to "the riddle of his existence." Peter Pan.