Karen's Reviews > Peter Pan

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
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Jun 01, 10

bookshelves: childrens, classics, fiction, read-in-high-school

I'll start with the cons so we can end on a happy note.

Cons:
This book is weird and sexist. It's been ages since I saw the Disney version, so I don't remember all those sketchy parts of the story.

Pros:
This is such a sweet, sad fairy tale about the pains of growing up, and at the same time it's a bittersweet love story.

I love how flight is used as a symbol for youth:
It is sad to have to say that the power to fly gradually left them. At first Nana tied their feet to the bed-posts so that they should not fly away in the night; and one of their diversions by day was to pretend to fall off buses; but by and by they ceased to tug at their bonds in bed, and found that they hurt themselves when they let go of the bus. In time they could not even fly after their hats. Want of practice, they called it; but what it really meant was that they no longer believed.

My favorite part of the book is the last chapter:
"Why can't you fly now, mother?"
"Because I am grown up, dearest. When people grow up they forget the way."
"Why do they forget the way?"
"Because they are no longer gay and innocent and heartless. It is only the gay and innocent and heartless who can fly."

Magical, isn't it?

When I become a grown-up who's no longer gay or innocent or heartless (oh, how I shudder to think!), I know I will love to reread Peter Pan, particularly the last chapter, for its unparalleled ability to stir up nostalgia.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Annalisa (new)

Annalisa I've never read this, but I have recently watched the Disney version. it's amazing the difference in the fun story you get as a child and the symbolism you see as an adult, including all those sexist messages.


Karen Yup, the sexism is extremely apparent in the book. Wendy's only appeal is that she is a motherly figure, and the boys' only use for her is so she can clean for them and take care of them...


Christopher As a new mother, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this classic for the first time. Though I grew up on the Disney animated and Mary Martin stage adaptations, reading the book was a treat and as usual provided me with deeper insight to each character. My favorite bits were how Mrs. Darling discovers Peter while dutifullly tidying up the stray thoughts in her children's minds each night, and the personification of Nana. Overall a charming story with much to offer readers of all ages. I look forward to sharing it with my daughter before she grows up and "forgets how to fly."


Erin But they are also indulging Wendy in letting her be mother, she wants to play house. She also wants a pet wolf. Anyway, some girls like to be girly. Not me, I was mud and frogs all the way. I think how they treat her is a reflection of her as a character and not a sexist author. She intimates in some scenes that she's playing along and you get the idea that she could at any moment get bored change her role.


Rebecca Sexist? Really? Give me a break.


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