Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens

Playing vs Fulfilling the Role of the Mother College

Peter Pan (1911) by J.M. Barrie and The Story of the Treasure Seekers (1988) by Edith Nesbit are Victorian novels that follow the stories of two underprivileged families who entertain themselves and each other with their imagination. In both stories, the eldest female characters Wendy Darling– from Peter Pan – and Dora Bastable– from The Story of the Treasure Seekers – become the mother figure amongst their group of siblings. The role of the mother is very common in children’s literature and is traditionally given to an older and female protagonist. The role of the mother is necessary in children’s literature especially to give order and to be the person who takes care of the children.

Although the two young girls partake in accomplishing the same role, Wendy plays the role of the mother whereas Dora sees this position as a responsibility that needs to be fulfilled. Since the role of the mother is more of a game to Wendy, she is able to see this position as easy and enjoyable. Her perception of this task is more laid back because to her, it is a game, she is adored for playing this role, and because of the active presence of her parents. On the other hand, Dora struggles with accomplishing this role and does not find it...

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