Peter Pan Peter Pan question


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I have a question to people who have read and understood the original Peter Pan book very well.
Kassandra Kassandra (last edited Jun 30, 2011 08:40PM ) Jun 30, 2011 08:40PM
Why is it that in Peter Pan, Wendy doesn't stay with Peter in Never Never Land? If Wendy really cared for Peter she would have stayed with him in Never Never Land with the lost boys.If she truly loved Peter she wouldn't have grown up and had children with some other guy, who she probably wouldn't have had a bigger connection with. Sometimes I wish somebody would write a version of Peter Pan where Wendy and Peter do stay together.



Jo (last edited Jul 21, 2011 03:47AM ) Jul 21, 2011 03:45AM   6 votes
I think you both got it absolutely right. I read Peter Pan as a child and then again when I'd had children of my own. It changed completely the second time around.

In my mind, Peter Pan is all about growing up and letting go of childhood, even if you don't really want to. Wendy's biggest hero was always her mother. She always wanted to be a mother herself and I think that leaving Peter was not a choice she made lightly. But Peter cannot move on and grow older with her, so she had to leave him behind. He was almost a metaphor for her childhood.

This is what I love about this book, and I find it extremely moving, more so than if it was a simple romance with a happy ending. It's about the endless cycle of life and the inevitability of growing-up. The sadness of losing our own youth, but the joy of seeing the sparkle of adventure in our own children's eyes.

Apparently, J M Barrie lost his 14-year-old brother in an accident and lots of people think he based Peter Pan partly on his brother - the boy who would never grow up.


Kassandra wrote: "Why is it that in Peter Pan, Wendy doesn't stay with Peter in Never Never Land? If Wendy really cared for Peter she would have stayed with him in Never Never Land with the lost boys.If she truly lo..."

Wait a minute, why should Wendy give up her life, her dreams, to stay with Peter and never grow up? If they are such a perfect couple, shouldn't he have to meet her half-way?

Yes, to love someone you have to let them be who they are, but can you love them as they need to be loved if you feel that you have to give up yourself to love them? It seems like perhaps by allowing Peter to stay and remain a little boy forever, by not pressuring him into returning with her and growing up, which is what we can pretty clearly see that Wendy wants to do - she wants love and marriage and motherhood from the very beginning of the story, she is loving him the best way she can. She is letting him go and living her life as completely as she can.

By letting Wendy go back to the mundane world and grow up while Peter remains in his fairy land, forever a child, Barrie is perhaps showing us that self and love transcend such things. People are who they are, whether it means they become responsible adults or remain forever child-like and that it is possible for them to respect and love each other, despite their differences. Perhaps they will never be able to be lovers, but perhaps that is not what they need from one another. Perhaps what they need is the love and understanding of a friend who never forgets them, even when everyone else does.


Like others have said, the kind of love Wendy had for Peter was something he couldn't comprehend and something that ultimately terrified him. She wanted to be a mother, even as a child, and that was simply not possible in Neverland. She was only a make-believe mother, and maybe it was that precisely that made her realize just how much she did want to grow up. It's not really a love story, because both Wendy and Peter are ultimately children, and because Peter doesn't even understand what love means. He is simply the embodiment of childhood - something everyone must eventually leave behind. Also, as a love interest, Peter is about the worst character you could choose to stay with; he is fickle, gets bored of things very fast, and even forgets about you if he's away for a while... As Barrie says, he's happy, innocent, and heartless, and you don't really want to spend your life with someone like that. (Also, he's apparently extremely young - in the prequel to Peter Pan, he's only eight days old, which is kind of a continuation issue because he's supposed to not be able to age. From what I gather, he's younger than eight.)

A much better question is why the boys followed Wendy back home. I personally think it's because all children besides Peter do have to grow up - they simply have no choice. There's a throwaway line about Lost Boys who show signs of growing up, and how Peter "thins them out" when that happens. Basically, not even in Neverland can other children stop growing up, so they can't stay there forever like Peter can. So, in the end, the other kids have no choice but to either die in Neverland or leave it and grow up. Growing up is inevitable, there's no ifs or buts about it.

Peter is rather a tragic character, honestly, at least in my opinion. He's basically eternally left out of most of the things in life, in genuine love and care and companionship, and whatever he does get, he soon forgets. Leaving him behind was something Wendy did very reluctantly, because she recognized this tragedy about him. Ultimately, though, she simply had no choice.

It's also interesting that Wendy's husband isn't mentioned in the book at all, not once. We have no idea who he is, and he doesn't even get a single line to his name (that we also don't get). But that's another issue entirely.


It will always be a love story to me. It will be a love that will last forever.... he will wish he would have gone with her. She will treasure the time they had together. He will visit again and again. They will share memories forever and ever.


On I agree. Honestly if you want to see more of their relationship touched on watch the 2003 movie version. It's my favorite.


i would have never left neverland if i was wendy or any of the boys. why would u want to grow up and get chores and duties its stupid

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DelinahLoves HouseRabbits Monty J Heying, Lea was specifically considering the *hypothetical* situation of being *able* to choose to never grow up in Never Never Land: “i would ...more
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I also think that Wendy was "an old soul" to begin with. She loved taking care of Peter (and she just loved Peter period), but she wanted to really be a wife and a mother. That was never going to happen if she stayed in Neverland. It also really scared her that her brothers were forgetting their parents. Peter was also kind of heartless, as I'm sure you noticed. He's the child in us all, and Wendy is the part of us (especially women) that knows we need to grow up or will be missing out on a lot of other wonderful experiences. In the end, everyone should have both a little Peter and Wendy in their life. Hang on to the wonder of childhood, but embrace the future as well.


Kassandra wrote: "Why is it that in Peter Pan, Wendy doesn't stay with Peter in Never Never Land? If Wendy really cared for Peter she would have stayed with him in Never Never Land with the lost boys.If she truly lo..."

Although there have been many good points made here, I feel a lot of people are missing the most obvious one of all.

And that is that, had Wendy decided to stay with Peter in Neverland, it wouldn't have ended well. Neverland (in the original book/play) doesn't stop you from aging; the lost boys grow up and Peter either kills them or disposes of them in some other way as punishment ("thins them out"). So, if Wendy stayed with Peter in Neverland, sooner or later, he'd have to notice she was getting taller, if nothing else, and figure out "Hey wait, Wendy's a grown up, and I'm still a child." And what would have happened THEN? Would he have kicked her out for "Breaking the rules", forcing her (assuming she can no longer fly, being a grown up) to live either with the Indians or pirates or wander around aimlessly until she got drowned by mermaids or died of starvation? Would he have "thinned her out" too? Who knows? But it wouldn't have worked. I mean, I ship Peter/Wendy, too, but there's no way they could have stayed together forever.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (last edited Aug 08, 2016 11:44AM ) Aug 08, 2016 11:44AM   0 votes
Kassandra wrote: "Why is it that in Peter Pan, Wendy doesn't stay with Peter in Never Never Land? If Wendy really cared for Peter she would have stayed with him in Never Never Land with the lost boys.If she truly lo..."

The book is about the cycle of life and growing up and showing that Peter is stuck. Wendy is not stuck, so it is inevitable she must grow up and away from Peter - the only way they could have stayed close is if they continued to grow together.


Liv (last edited Nov 26, 2015 03:36AM ) Nov 26, 2015 03:32AM   0 votes
Hold on, this is going to be a long post. Sorry about that.

For me, Peter Pan is everything every child is. He is not an actual person, he is every one of us.
Peter is a symbol for kids, how they fight, tells story, play, imagine. Whereas Hook is a symbol for adults. Hook symbolizes the fear children have for growing old but even though they fear to become boring, dull and angry they play grownups. They create their on little family in a game, just like Peter and Wendy became Mother and Father of the lost boys.
So if Wendy had stayed with Peter it would have been all wrong, since she is a girl and Peter is her spirit.
Neverland though, that is the place childrens imagine comes from. Wendy dreamed every night of a tame wolf and on Neverland that exact wolf roamed around, John had a dream and puf, there it was on Neverland.

When I read this book the first time all i noticed was the adventures and all I wished for was for Peter to come pick me up without me ever noticing that he did, every time I played Indian in the grass or played princess in my moms dress.

The book ends with "and so he will, as long as there are innocent, gay and happy children" (free translation from my Danish book) and it tells us exactly what we need to know, that now Wendy and her brothers and the lost boys are grown up and therefor they NEED to let go of Peter. But Peter still exist, plays, fear grow ups and hate his medicine, just through another child.

All in all, J. M. Barrie wrote about real kids (the one he would later adopt) and the games they played. He learned about Neverland through these boys and he made a story about all kids.
Barrie has a quote saying something like "you know that place between waking and dreaming, that where I will always love you" = the short moment where adults can imagine like a child and WE will remember Peter. Barrie also said something like that we (grown ups) will be able to see glimpses of Neverland but never really touch it again ever...


Okay, I think I am done. I really hope you got something out of this, cause I fear I didn't really make sense... :/ Sorry


For what it's worth, when they visited J.M. Barrie's house on Antiques Road Trip last week, they said that he wrote 5 different endings to Peter Pan.


People say that Peter Pan couldn't comprehend the feelings that females had for him. Yet he knew how to manipulate them by saying things like, "One girl is worth 20 boys," to flatter them into doing what he wanted. Peter is a character full of contradictions: on the one hand he is an obnoxious little boy who is not romantic at all, yet he can turn on a dime and make the reader believe that he is not as innocent as Barrie wants us to believe.


She understood that she had to grow up, that it wasn't right for kids to stay young forever. I think towards the end she wanted to be a woman. At least that was my take on it. I understand though what you mean about them staying together in the end. But in the book, Peter Pan kind of makes a remark, I believe, that he had been with Wendy's mother. And then he goes off with Wendy's daughter at the end, so for me it wasn't a huge disappointment because he does take her children on the magical adventure as well. They get to experience youth and joy like she did. Plus, only one child can never grow up. And it has to be Peter Pan. There's something special in that.


Good comments from many others. They DID make a movie about a timesless love interrupted: Robin and Marian, starring Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn.


Monty J (last edited Aug 29, 2016 08:27PM ) Aug 19, 2016 02:46PM   0 votes
Kassandra wrote: "Why is it that in Peter Pan, Wendy doesn't stay with Peter in Never Never Land? ."

It isn't a love story; it's about growing up--specifically that transition from juvenile to adult that takes place in during the teen years.

In the behavioral sciences, the phrase, puer/puera eternus refers to adults whose childhood needs have not been met, so they go through life unconsciously striving to meet them--needs for security, love, and playfulness. In extreme cases, they've been infantilized and cannot adjust. The film, Psycho illustrates an extreme example.

Peter represents the puer eternus male who never successfully completes the transition from adolescence into adulthood, and having failed to do so, craves to be "mothered" (looked after, tended to) by potential mates. I've seen a few, still living at home, sponging off parents, unable or unwilling to hold a job. One example got a PhD, married a hardworking woman, and never worked a day in his life. Now he's caretaking for a 90-year-old.

For every male "Peter Pan" there are just as many female counterparts--adult women incapable of true love and bonding because they were denied that experience as children. They often date or marry much older men (as in Joyce Maynard/JD Salinger or Oona O'Neill/Charlie Chaplin.) Childhood trauma can be the cause. Without adequate therapy and a dose of good luck, they're forever a child inside.

The Peter Pan story resonates with that part within each of us that either longs for what we missed as a child or aches because we've been denying our need for recreation as adults. The truly mature/evolved individual can engage in objective self-observation and evaluate our personalities in this way, then make adjustments to create a brighter future. Taking dance classes or learning a musical instrument, learning to draw or paint, etc.


Also Peter never did or could love Wendy the why she wanted to be loved. he was a carefree boy that thought only of having fun.


Kassandra wrote: "Why is it that in Peter Pan, Wendy doesn't stay with Peter in Never Never Land? If Wendy really cared for Peter she would have stayed with him in Never Never Land with the lost boys.If she truly lo..."

I guess they had to wait for a movie to be made with Robin Williams for that to happen where he followed Wendy home, married her grand daughter and had children with her then he had to go back to Never-Never Land and rescue his children from Hook. Fun movie, by the way.


This is really fascinating and a great discussion. While reading, I realized another way to describe Peter: he himself is not tragic or unhappy; quite the opposite, in fact: he is carefree and adventurous and really has some great traits. The reason that his character comes off as sad sometimes is because we as readers can see the world he is choosing to ignore: that of love, growing up, responsibility, and the friendships and developments that come from it. Peter isn't unhappy (ignorance is bliss, ins't it?) but it is bittersweet watching him because you of the dramatic irony of knowing he is in ignorance of some great things in life.


I suspect all the female characters in P.P. are parts Wendy has to integrate.
Peter is quite androgenous leaning to the masculine. I think HE is a PART of Wendy ,also. Wendy has to integrate her masculine ,also.
Tinkerbell is the female "child" , Tiger Lilly is the healthy female ,future, adult that must be rescued by Wendys inner masculine . T.L. then goes back to her tribe healthily. Ultimately ,Tinkerbell [nearly] dies to save Peter. This must happen in adolescence. Tink , the child must be diminished to let Peter do his work, of saving T.L.
If Peter does not save [grow] T.L. in time she will either drown [the tide is coming in] or time ( the crocodile] will ravage her never to grow up.
Time and tide wait for no masculine [Peter]
Without making the Neverland passage at puberty Wendy will always have her inner selves battling each other.
Note. She seems to always have a choice.
She is given a "safe" place by her father and left to "grow". Mr Darling Takes Mrs Darling out to a beautiful place all dressed up and leaves Wendy to " grow".
There is so much in this myth


Peter is a metaphor in terms of literary tropes.

The book is a tragedy, with the lost boys serving as the chorus - on one hand praising Peter to the skies but ultimately following Wendy in the inescapable world of adulthood.

It was never a love story. Only a mirror set up against Wendy's rite of passage. The positive to be taken from that move is in how she never forgets the wonder of childhood. The very thing that Peter fears.

His love for Wendy is Oedipal because she is the Mother Figure to all of the Lost Boys.


Because all boys (and girls) except one grow up. :) Also, choosing to love a girl was a very grown-up thing that terrified Peter more than losing Wendy. The story encompasses the brevity of childhood fancy. If you're lucky, you can hold onto that sense of wonder for a lifetime. Wendy, deep in her heart, held onto that, even as she grew up. At least, that is why I do creative things... I get to tap into that swimmy-headed, bottomless fount of imagination we're supposed to lose when we become adults. And here I ramble on about it. Oops!


Wendy cared about Peter but knew the love between them couldn't be true and real if neither grew up. If she had chosen Peter, she would essentially be giving up her life, remaining in a perpetual state of childhood, never progressing. Neverland is kind of like her last hurrah before growing up.


I think there was a nice little love story in there but I think the main thing in the book was Wendy's acceptance of getting older and becoming an adult, but for Peter, even though he wanted some of those things he was never daring enough to live a life. He was daring in many courageous ways but not in the way where he would dare to grow older, have a job and settle down. I think its a lovely story and I'm sure if everyone was honest, most of us have been in relationships where love isn't enough...that's the feeling I get from Wendy and it's something I can definately relate to


The book is not about Wendy's feelings for Peter Pan. It is not a love story, and her feelings are only mentioned a couple times. She mainly acts as a mother and missing her own mother at the same time. This is a story about growing up, not of children falling in love.


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