Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens

Perpetual Childhood in Peter Pan 11th Grade

Almost every child begins in this world dreaming of fairytales. She imagines herself a princess like Disney’s Ariel or Sleeping Beauty: bursting into song, radiating beauty, and living happily-ever-after. But when this child grows up, she realizes that Disney fairytales are just sugarcoated versions of the true stories: the Grimm brothers’ tales. She discovers that Ariel never wins Prince Eric and instead becomes sea foam; she learns that Prince Phillip rapes Sleeping Beauty instead of saving her. In other words, she uncovers the harshness of reality. Although readers tend to regard Peter Pan as a simple children’s tale, Barrie actually comments on the nature of childhood in his work. If Peter Pan represents the quintessential, eternal child, then his characterization shows children’s naivety concerning justice: they lack the ability to approach the topic logically.

Although the novel centers on the adventures of many children, Peter Pan is the only ideal, eternal child among them. The simplest evidence of this fact is that Peter never physically grows older; every other child, including the lost boys from Neverland, becomes an adult by the end. When Wendy is a mother and Peter visits her, he appears unchanged and still has “...

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