Peter Pan - The boy who wouldn't grow up

Full Name: Peter Pan

Date of birth: 1902

Inventor: J.M. Barrie

The first time the character Peter Pan appeared in literature was in 1902 in the novel The Little White Bird written by the Scottish writer and play writer James M. Barrie. In this first novel, which was actually written for adults, Peter Pan only appears in a little part of the book. A few years after the first book, J.M. Barrie published a new novel only about Peter Pan, this time for children. It was called Peter Pan in Kesington Garden, which is a park in London. Later on plenty of stories and plays about Peter and his numerous adventures were made, and Peter Pan quickly became very popular. When Walt Disney in 1953 made a cartoon film the story really made a hit. Afterwards the stories about Peter Pan have been filmed a couple of times. He must really hit people somehow, now that it has been “alive” for such a long time – the latest film was produced more than 100 years after the first publication.

421px-Peter_pan_1911_pipes.jpgPeter Pan is a boy who doesn't want to grow up and in mysterious way he succeeds. J.M. Barrie didn’t really explain how Peter avoids growing up, but it has something to do with his immovable will. He felt deserted by his parents when he found out, they had got another baby and he didn’t want to become one of them. Somehow he ends in Neverland, a small island beyond our world, where fairies, mermaids, Indians and pirates live side by side. There he becomes gang leader of the Lost Boys, small boys who were lost by their nannies in parks and places like Kesington Garden.
Peter Pan’s worst enemy is Captain Hook, who he has fought a couple of times. One of the times he chopped off Hook’s right hand. That is why the captain is wearing a hook, and he longs for the time of revenge.
In Neverland Peter Pan is the imaginative, adventurous boy and sometimes troublemaker, but he is also the hero, rescuing and protecting his friends.
One day when Peter is visiting our world, he is attracted by Wendy who reminds him of his mother. He stops and rests outside her window, where he can hear her relating stories about himself to her brothers, but he finally leaves, he forgets to bring his shadow with him. When he returns to get it back, he takes Wendy and her brothers John and Michael to Neverland.
There they experience a lot of exciting things; Wendy becomes kind of a mother of the Lost Boys and Peter who after all deep inside miss a mother.

The movie Hook from 1991 is about the grown up Peter Pan who has forgotten his childhood. Some might say that it ruins the thought about eternal childhood and all the things Peter Pan represents.
The issue is also represented in the movie Finding Neverland from 2004.

Becoming a hero: Peter Pan symbolizes the eternal childhood, the child’s irresponsibility and the joy of playing. But even though he can be very annoying and selfish sometimes, we think it is okay - he is just a kid. Even though he denys his responsibility through his denial of manhood, he is truly heroic. His pure childish innocentness and sense of justice defeats his infantile acting and makes him choose to do the right thing in the end. All other fictional heroes become heroes when they realise that they have to treat their great powers with great responsibility, like Spiderman. Peter Pan never accepts this responsibility, but he is able to strike against evil without. He becomes a hero when he chooses the eternal childhood.

In these modern days, where children have to grow up very quickly and where they are just left in front of the television or the computer, because their parents don’t have time to play with them; in such times Peter Pan is a symbol of the perfect childhood with time for the children to develop naturally. The idea is almost as revolutionary as the French philosopher Rousseau’s thoughts about the subject. In the stories about Peter Pan and his friends the children are happy; they do what they like to do and there are no adults to refuse them doing the things they want. They are just themselves with a lot of time to play and have fun, and that is probably a dream for every family. When people think of Peter Pan they get hopeful about their own life.
In Peter Pan the enemies and anti-heroes are all adults. They are not heroic becauce they don't accept their responsibility towards being authentic. They are not living their lives as they truly wants to live them, and therefore there is no reason to grow up; you are simply sacrificing your identity and happiness.

Most famous quote/clip:
We think that the most famous quote/clip must be the song, You can fly.

Skills/abilities: First of all it is a very special ability to refuse growing up. No one else can do that. Peter Pan is also able to fly by the help of fairy dust and happy thoughts, and as the only one in Neverland he can speak with the fairies. He has an extremely keen vision and hearing, and he is good at imitating the voice of Captain Hook and the crocodile. And of course he is a brave fighter, so that he hopefully will defeat Captain Hook.

Aim: Peter's aim is to refuse growing up. He wants to play, have fun, experience interesting things and look for adventures. His aim is also to defeat Captain Hook so the inhabitants in Neverland can be released from him.