Peter Pan – Many Stages, One Life

Peter Pan is a tribute to the miracles and wonders of childhood. Childhood as presented in Peter Pan incorporates both sadness and happiness. This is a very important realistic element of Barrie's play. In order for children to appreciate happiness, and to fully experience it, they also need to become acquainted with sadness. The children in Neverland – the Lost Boys as they are referred to – are free, adventurous, and happy. However, at the same time, they are stranded, and do not have mothers. Although a fantasy world where children can escape to, Neverland is not an idealized place. Neverland incorporates both happiness and sadness in the same way that real life does. It is commonly accepted that with the passage of time, memories of childhood become less and less clear. This is what J.M. Barrie strives to achieve with his play: he wants to depict childhood in its entirety; in this sense, his projection of the three Darling children, as well as that of the Lost Boys is aimed at painting a complete picture of childhood for adults to remember and help them relate to their children. It is also important to note here that there are no parents in Neverland. Children's imaginations –Neverland itself is a symbol of imagination – does not incorporate parents, because the latter are seen as elements of the real world. At the same time, parents represent authority, hence rules, and imagination does not abide by any rules, but is free and independent very much like the Lost Boys.
Mothers' efforts to "tidy up" their children's minds are in fact parents' attempt to shelter their children from sadness and fear. The fact that Mrs. Darling – just like any other mother, as Barrie writes – tries to tidy up her children's minds and let only the good things come to surface for children to experience the following day is in fact, her attempt to protect her children from hurt…

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