Peter Pan

Peter Pan Essay Questions

  1. 1

    What is Peter Pan's main objective and what makes it complicated?

    Peter Pan's main goal is to always be a little boy and have fun. He wants to shirk adult responsibility and always live in Never Land, pursuing wild adventures and resisting the square and settled life of the adult world. While this is a magical quest, a swashbuckling existence, it also isolates Peter. He initially comes to the Darling residence hoping to eavesdrop on the stories that Mrs. Darling tells her children, and when he takes Wendy to Never Land, he wants her to act as his mother. When the Darling children and the Lost Boys eventually want to leave Never Land, Peter is left all alone in his lair, free but lonely and orphaned by the world.

  2. 2

    What are some of the typical traits of a fairy that explain Tinker Bell's behavior and personality?

    Fairies are very small and as such, cannot hold onto emotions for very long. Thus, Tinker Bell is especially capricious and changeable in her moods. She is also very attached to Peter and jealous of Wendy, who she sees as a threat to her intimacy with the boy who will not grow up.

    Another defining feature of fairy life is the fact that they have a very short life span, one that is completely dependent on the belief of children. Thus, while Tinker Bell seems to have a great deal of power to affect those around her, she is also extremely vulnerable, and is at risk of dropping dead at any moment.

  3. 3

    What does the crocodile represent?

    Symbolically, the crocodile who has swallowed a ticking clock comes to stand in for the imminence of death. The ticking of the clock represents the passing of time, and it pursues Captain Hook throughout the story, a manifestation of his fears of becoming disempowered or defeated by youth.

  4. 4

    How does the author, J.M. Barrie, leave room for the readers' or viewers' imaginations?

    Throughout the story, Barrie describes locations and characters in great detail, but also describes them in a way that leaves room for the readers' projections. For instance, of the Darling house, he writes, "That is what we call the Darling house, but you may dump it down anywhere you like, and if you think it was your house you are very probably right. It wanders about London looking for anybody in need of it, like the little house in the Never Land." In this way, we can see that the Darling residence is a kind of apparition, a manifestation of the concept of home or childhood belonging. Throughout the story, Barrie describes places and people in this way, to account for the fact that the fantastical elements of the tale are containers for the readers' imaginings, not altogether literal locations and events.

  5. 5

    Why is Wendy disappointed in Peter throughout the story?

    At various points in the story, it becomes clear that Wendy harbors an affection for Peter that is less motherly and more romantic. While they are cohabitating in his underground lair and playing mother and father, she asks the perpetually youthful boy what feelings he has for her and he replies, "Those of a devoted son." She finds this answer disappointing, and in this moment we see that Peter's inability to grow up not only saves him from the responsibilities of adulthood, but also prevents him from more adult connections and intimacy. He wants to be mothered, but he does not want to experience romantic love.