|Peter Pan character|
Illustration of Peter Pan playing the pipes, by F. D. Bedford from Peter and Wendy (1911)
|First appearance||The Little White Bird (1902)|
|Created by||J. M. Barrie|
|Aliases||The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up|
|Significant other(s)||Wendy Darling
Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie. A mischievous boy who can fly and who never ages, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang, the Lost Boys, interacting with mermaids, Native Americans, fairies, pirates, and occasionally ordinary children from the world outside of Neverland. In addition to two distinct works by Barrie, the character has been featured in a variety of media and merchandise, both adapting and expanding on Barrie's works.
Peter Pan first appeared in a section of The Little White Bird, a 1902 novel written by Barrie for adults.
The character's best-known adventure debuted on 27 December 1904, in the stage play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up. The play was adapted and expanded somewhat as a novel, published in 1911 as Peter and Wendy (later as Peter Pan and Wendy, and still later as Peter Pan).
Following the highly successful debut of the 1904 play, Barrie's publishers, Hodder and Stoughton, extracted chapters 13–18 of The Little White Bird and republished them in 1906 under the title Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, with the addition of illustrations by Arthur Rackham.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (April 2013)|
Barrie never described Peter's appearance in detail, even in the novel Peter and Wendy (1911), leaving much of it to the imagination of the reader and the interpretation of anyone adapting the character. Barrie mentions in Peter and Wendy that Peter Pan still had all of his baby teeth. He describes him as a beautiful boy with a beautiful smile, "clad in skeleton leaves and the juices that flow from trees". In the play, Peter's outfit is made of autumn leaves and cobwebs. His name and playing the flute suggest the mythological character Pan.
Traditionally, the character has been played on stage by an adult woman.
In Peter Pan in Scarlet (released internationally in 2006), Geraldine McCaughrean adds to the description of his appearance, mentioning his blue eyes, and saying his hair is light (or at least any colour lighter than black). In this novel, Never Land has moved on to autumn, so Peter wears a tunic of jay feathers and maple leaves. In the Starcatcher stories written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Peter has carrot-orange hair and bright blue eyes.
In the Disney films, Peter wears an outfit that was easier to animate, consisting of a short-sleeved green tunic and tights apparently made of cloth, and a cap with a red feather in it. He has pointed elf-like ears, and his hair is a very red auburn. In the live-action 2003 film, he is portrayed by Jeremy Sumpter, who has blond hair and blue eyes, and his outfit is made of leaves and vines. In Hook (1991), he is played as an adult by Robin Williams, with dark brown hair, but in flashbacks to his youth his hair is light brown. In this film his ears appear pointed only when he is Peter Pan, not Peter Banning; his Pan clothing resembles the Disney outfit.
The notion of a boy who would never grow up was based on J.M. Barrie's older brother, who died in an ice-skating accident the day before he turned 14, and thus always remained a young boy in his mother's mind. The "boy who wouldn't grow up" character has appeared at a variety of ages.
- In his original appearance, in The Little White Bird (1902), he was only seven days old.
- Although his age is not stated in Barrie's later play (1904) and novel (1911), his characterization is clearly years older. The book states that he has all of his baby teeth.
- Barrie's intended model for the statue of Peter that was erected in Kensington Gardens in 1912 was a set of photos of Michael Llewelyn Davies, taken at the age of six.
- Early illustrations of the character generally appeared to be that age or perhaps a few years older.
- In the 1953 Disney adaptation and its 2002 sequel, Peter appears to be in late childhood, between 10 and 13 years old. (The actor who provided the voice in 1953 was 15-year-old Bobby Driscoll.)
- In the 2003 film, Jeremy Sumpter was 13 at the time filming started; by the end of filming he was 14 and had grown several inches taller.
- In the movie Hook (1991), Peter is said to have left Neverland many years earlier, forsaking his eternal youth and aging normally. When remembering his buried past, Peter is shown as a baby, and little boy, and also a near-teenager, suggesting that the aging process does not entirely stop in Neverland until puberty or just before, or that Peter aged a little bit every time he left Neverland to come to the real world. When Peter says, "I remember you being a lot bigger," in the final duel, Hook answers, "to a 10-year-old I'm huge." He is portrayed by Robin Williams, who turned 40 during production of the film.
Peter is mainly an exaggerated stereotype of a boastful and careless boy. He is quick to point out how great he is, even when such claims are questionable (such as when he congratulates himself for Wendy's successful re-attachment of his shadow). In the book and play, as well as both film adaptations, Peter either symbolises or personifies the selfishness of childhood, shown in Barrie's work through constant forgetfulness and self-centred behaviour.
Peter has a nonchalant, devil-may-care attitude, and is fearlessly cocky when it comes to putting himself in danger. Barrie writes that when Peter thought he was going to die on Marooners' Rock, he felt scared, yet he felt only one shudder run through him when any other person would have felt scared up until death. With his blithe attitude towards death, he says, "To die will be an awfully big adventure". He repeats this line as an adult in the film Hook (1991), during the battle with Hook near the film's climax. He then inverts the phrase at the film's very end claiming, "To live will be an awfully big adventure". This line was actually taken from the end of the last scene in the play, when the unseen and unnamed narrator ponders what might have been if Peter had stayed with Wendy, so that his cry might have become, "To live would be an awfully big adventure!", "but he can never quite get the hang of it".
In some variations of the story and some spin-offs, Peter can also be quite selfish and arrogant. In the Disney adaptation (1953), Peter appears very judgemental and pompous (for instance, he calls the Lost Boys "blockheads", and when the Darling children say they should leave for home at once, he misunderstands their wish and angrily assumes they want to grow up). Nonetheless, he has a strong sense of justice and is always quick to assist those in danger.
In the 2003 live-action film, Peter Pan is sensitive about the subject of "growing up". When confronted by Hook about Wendy's growing up, marrying, and eventually "shutting the window" on Peter, he becomes very depressed and finally gives up on Wendy.
Peter's archetypal ability is his unending youth. In Peter and Wendy, it is explained that Peter must forget his own adventures and what he learns about the world in order to stay childlike. The fact that the other Lost Boys are growing up and able to be killed in Peter and Wendy contradicts this idea. The unauthorized prequels by Barry and Pearson attribute Peter's everlasting youth to his exposure to starstuff, a magical substance which has fallen to earth.
Peter's ability to fly is explained somewhat, but inconsistently. In The Little White Bird he is able to fly because he – like all babies – is part bird. In the play and novel, he teaches the Darling children to fly using a combination of "lovely wonderful thoughts" (which became "happy thoughts" in Disney's film) and fairy dust; it is unclear whether he is serious about "wonderful thoughts" being required (it was stated in the novel that this was merely a silly diversion from the fairy dust being the true source), or whether he requires the fairy dust himself. However, in Barrie's Dedication to the play Peter Pan, The boy who wouldn't grow up, the author attributes the idea of fairy dust being necessary for flight to more practical considerations:
...after the first production I had to add something to the play at the request of parents (who thus showed that they thought me the responsible person) about no one being able to fly until the fairy dust had been blown on him; so many children having gone home and tried it from their beds and needed surgical attention. - J.M. Barrie
In Hook, the adult Peter is unable to fly until he remembers his "happy thought". The ability to fly is also attributed to starstuff – apparently the same thing as fairy dust – in the Starcatchers prequels.
Peter has an effect on the whole of Never Land and its inhabitants when he is there. Barrie states that although Never Land appears different to every child, the island "wakes up" when Peter returns from his trip to London. In the chapter "The Mermaid Lagoon" in the book Peter and Wendy, Barrie writes that there is almost nothing that Peter cannot do. He is a skilled swordsman, rivalling even Captain Hook, whose hand he cut off in a duel. He has remarkably keen vision and hearing. He is skilled in mimicry, copying the voice of Hook, and the tick-tock of the Crocodile. In the 2003 film, the mermaids speak by making dolphin-like noises, which Peter can both understand and speak.
In both Peter Pan and Wendy and Peter Pan in Scarlet, there are various mentions of Peter's ability to imagine things into existence, such as food, though this ability plays a more central role in Peter Pan in Scarlet. He also creates imaginary windows and doors as a kind of physical metaphor for ignoring or shunning his companions. He is said to be able to feel danger when it is near. In Peter Pan in Scarlet, it says that when Curly's puppy licks Peter, it licks off a lot of fairy dust, which may be interpreted to mean that he has become fairy-like to the point of producing his own dust, but could also simply mean that he spends so much time with fairies that he is coated in their dust.
In Peter and Wendy, Barrie states that the Peter Pan legend Mrs Darling heard as a child was that when children died, he accompanied them part of the way to their destination so they would not be frightened; he thus resembles the Greek god Hermes in his role as a psychopomp.
In the original play, Peter states that no one must ever touch him (though he does not know why), and the stage instructions specify that no one does so throughout the play. Wendy approaches Peter to give him a "thimble" (kiss), but is prevented by Tinker Bell.
Peter does not know his parents. In Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens Barrie wrote that he left them as an infant, and seeing the window closed and a new baby in the house when he returned some time later, he assumed they no longer wanted him. In Starcatchers he is said to be an orphan, though his friends Molly and George discover who his parents are in Rundoon. In Hook, Peter remembers his parents, specifically his mother, who wanted him to grow up and go to the best schools in London to become a judge like his father and have a family of his own. After Peter "ran away" to Neverland, he returned to find his parents forgot about him and had another child (the gender of Peter's sibling is revealed to be another boy in Peter and Wendy).
Peter is the leader of the Lost Boys, a band of boys who were lost by their parents, and came to live in Neverland; it is reported that he "thins them out" when they start to grow up. He is best friends with Tinker Bell, a common fairy who is often jealously protective of him. His arch-enemy is Captain Hook, whose hand he cut off in a duel. Hook's crew, including Smee and Starkey, also consider him a foe. The Starcatchers books introduce additional foes: Slank, Lord Ombra, and Captain Nerezza.
From time to time Peter visits the real world, particularly around Kensington Gardens, and befriends children there. Wendy Darling, whom he recruited to be his "mother", is the most significant of them; he also brings her brothers John and Michael to Neverland at her request. It is hinted that Wendy has romantic feelings for Peter. In the 2003 film Peter Pan, the feeling is mutual, as the only unhappy thoughts that Captain Hook is able to use to take away Peter's ability to fly are thoughts of Wendy leaving him, growing up, and replacing him with a husband; Wendy is also able to save Peter by giving him her hidden kiss (signifying that Peter is her true love), which once again gives him the will to live. He later befriends Wendy's daughter Jane (and her subsequent daughter Margaret), and Peter and Wendy says that he will continue this pattern indefinitely. In Starcatchers he previously befriends Molly Aster and young George Darling.
Peter appears to be known to all the residents of Neverland, including the Native American princess Tiger Lily and her tribe, the mermaids, and the fairies.
In Hook, Peter states that the reason he wanted to grow up was to be a father. He married Wendy's granddaughter, Moira, and they have two children, Jack and Maggie.
In the 1953 Disney film version it is hinted at the end that Wendy's father George also met Peter Pan once and went to Neverland, when Mr. Darling, seeing the Pirate Ship flying through the air, remarks that he has a strange feeling he has seen the ship before, when he was very young.
In the adaptation of Peter Pan by French comic artist Loisel, Peter Pan is a bastard child and is kicked out of the house by his abusive mother. He does not have a good relationship with her; he tries to win her love by procuring gold for her from Neverland, yet she rejects him countless times. She is later murdered, but Peter Pan eventually forgets her death and seems to remember his mother as a kindhearted, beautiful woman and believes she is still alive; the series also implies that Hook is his father, as Hook has a photo of Peter's mother, but this point is never developed in the series.
In the 2011 Neverland TV miniseries, the origin story of Peter Pan is discussed. It is hinted at at multiple points throughout the TV special that Peter and Tiger Lily have romantic feelings for each other. It is also mentioned that James "Jimmy" Hook was originally a friend of Peter's. Prior to the film, Hook loved Peter's mother and murdered Peter's father. Feeling guilty after Peter's mother died, Hook took care of Peter, until later on when Peter finds out and becomes angry with Hook, sparking his hatred towards him. The hatred became mutual when Peter (as in other adaptations) cut off Hook's hand and fed it to a crocodile.
Major stories 
Of the stories written about Peter Pan, several have gained widespread notability.
By Barrie 
- Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens: Infant Peter flies from his home, makes friends with fairies, and takes up residence in Kensington Gardens. It is a "book-within-a-book" that was first published in Barrie's The Little White Bird.
- Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up (play) and Peter and Wendy (novel): Peter brings Wendy and her brothers to Never Land, where he has a climactic showdown with his nemesis, Captain Hook. This story was originally told in Barrie's stage play and novel, and repeatedly adapted in various media.
Later expansion 
- Hook (1991), a film by Steven Spielberg: Peter has grown up and is now a business attorney called Peter Banning. He has forgotten about his life in Never Land and has a wife and children of his own, having decided to remain with Wendy's granddaughter Moira during a later visit to Wendy. While the family is in London visiting a now elderly Wendy, Captain Hook abducts Peter's children to lure him back for a final duel to the death, prompting Peter to remember his past to save his children. Although he returns to London in the end, he notes that he will not forget his Lost Boys now, and comments at the conclusion that, although his adventures as Peter Pan are over, "To live would be an awfully big adventure".
- Return to Never Land (2002), a Disney film: During World War II, Wendy's slightly war-hardened daughter Jane is taken to Neverland by Captain Hook, but Peter saves her and asks her to be the first "Lost Girl".
- Peter and the Starcatchers (2004), Peter and the Shadow Thieves (2006), Peter and the Secret of Rundoon (2007), Peter and the Sword of Mercy (2009), a series of novels by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson: Peter leaves a London orphanage for a series of adventures, which offer an origin story for Captain Hook, fairies, his abilities, and the Lost Boys.
- Peter Pan in Scarlet (2006), a novel by Geraldine McCaughrean: Wendy, John, and most of the Lost Boys return to Neverland, where Peter has begun to take Captain Hook's place. It serves as an official sequel to Peter and Wendy.
In popular culture 
The character of Peter Pan (or thinly disguised versions of him) has appeared in tributes and parodies and has been the subject of several later works of fiction. (See Works based on Peter Pan for notable examples.)
- J. R. R. Tolkien's biographer Humphrey Carpenter has speculated that Tolkien's impressions of a production of Barrie's Peter Pan in Birmingham in 1910 "may have had a little to do with" his original conception of the Elves of Middle Earth.
- Since featuring the character in their 1953 animated film, Walt Disney has continued to use him as one of their traditional characters, featuring him in the sequel film Return to Neverland and in their parks as a meetable character, and the focus of the dark ride, Peter Pan's Flight; he appears in House of Mouse, Mickey's Magical Christmas, and the Kingdom Hearts video games.
The name Peter Pan has been adopted for various purposes over the years:
- Three horoughbred racehorses have been given the name, the first born in 1904.
- It has been adopted by several businesses, including Peter Pan Bus Lines, Peter Pan peanut butter, and Peter Pan Records.
- An early 1960s program, in which Cuban children were sent unattended to Miami to escape mistreatment anticipated under the then-new Castro regime was called Operation Peter Pan (or Operación Pedro Pan).
- Dr. Dan Kiley popularized the Peter Pan syndrome (puer aeternus) in his 1983 book, The Peter Pan Syndrome: Men Who Have Never Grown Up, about individuals (usually male) with underdeveloped maturity; his next book, The Wendy Dilemma (1984), advises women romantically involved with "Peter Pans" how to improve their relationships.
- Patricia Craine's book, Wendy's Club: ...for women hooked on "Peter Pans" and how to break the addiction (2006), addresses the same target audience as Kiley's 1984 book.
- Japanese manga artist, Mayu Sakai, appropriated the English version of the term, puer aeternus, for her series, Peter Pan Syndrome.
- Peterpan is the former name for an Indonesian pop-rock band, now called Noah.
Peter Pan has appeared in a number of adaptations, sequels, and prequels. These include the 1953 Disney animated feature film Peter Pan, various stage musicals (including one by Jerome Robbins, starring Cyril Ritchard and Mary Martin, filmed for television), live-action feature films Hook (1991) and Peter Pan (2003), and the authorized sequel novel Peter Pan in Scarlet (2006). He has also appeared in various works not authorized by the holders of the character's copyright, which has lapsed in most parts of the world.
Peter Pan is depicted in public sculpture.
- The original statue in Kensington Gardens by sculptor George Frampton was commissioned by Barrie and erected overnight on 30 April 1912 as a May Day surprise to the children of London. There are seven statues cast from the original mould. The other six are located in:
- Two statues by a different sculptor are in Kirriemuir, Scotland, the birthplace of J. M. Barrie.
- A bronze statue by Diarmuid Byron O'Connor was commissioned by Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and unveiled in 2000, showing Peter blowing fairy dust, with Tinker Bell added in 2005.
- A pair of statues by Cecil Thomas, one showing Peter Pan and Tinker Bell, and the other Wendy and the Darling children, have been located in Dunedin Botanic Gardens in Dunedin, New Zealand since the 1960s.
|Statues of Peter Pan|
See also 
- Birkin, Andrew (2003). J.M. Barrie & the Lost Boys. Yale University Press. p. 47. ISBN 0-300-09822-7.
- Birkin, Andrew (2003). J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys. Yale University Press.
- Peter Pan (play) by JM Barrie, Act V, Scene 2 (1928)
- Peter Pan (play) by JM Barrie, To the Five - A Dedication (1928)
- Carpenter, Humphrey (1977), Tolkien: A Biography, New York: Ballantine Books, ISBN 0-04-928037-6
- Kiley, Dr. Dan (1983). The Peter Pan Syndrome: Men Who Have Never Grown Up. Avon Books. ISBN 0380688905.
- Various materials compiled from University of Granada (May 3, 2007). "Overprotecting Parents Can Lead Children To Develop 'Peter Pan Syndrome'". ScienceDaily. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
- Kiley, Dr. Dan (1984). The Wendy Dilemma: When Women Stop Mothering Their Men. Arbor House Publishing. ASIN B000O6BTHI. ISBN 9780877956259.
- Craine, Patricia (2006). Wendy's Club: ...for women hooked on "Peter Pans" and how to break the addiction. AuthorHouse. ISBN 1425960472.
- "Peter Pan Syndrome". 20 September 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
- "Peter Pan Statue". Public Art Around the World. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
- "Peter Pan". Liverpoolmuseums.org.uk. 16 June 1928. Retrieved 8 May 2010.
- "Johnson Park Restoration". Johnson-park.camden.rutgers.edu. 24 September 1926. Retrieved 8 May 2010.
- "Perth Vista-Queens Gardens". Globe Vista. 2008.
- Cities of the World, Lostrivers.ca
- "Peter Pan House J M Barrie Birthplace Kirriemuir Scotland". Aboutaberdeen.com. Retrieved 8 May 2010.
- "Tinker Bell statue dedication press release". Ich.ucl.ac.uk. Retrieved 8 May 2010.
- "New life for Peter Pan and Wendy - the art and science of bronze conservation in Dunedin". nzine.co.nz. 3 December 2002. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Peter Pan at Project Gutenberg (1991 Millennium Fulcrum Edition)
- The Pain of Peter Pan – Newsweek