The opening line of Peter Pan is one of the most famous in the history of children’s literature. It outlines the central characteristic of the title character, Peter, the fact that he stays in Never Land avoiding the inevitability of aging.
"I won't go to bed, I won't, I won't. Nana, it isn't six o'clock yet. Two minutes more, please, one minute more? Nana, I won't be bathed, I tell you I will not be bathed."
Michael, the youngest Darling child, says this to his nurse, Nana, who is a large dog. He rides on Nana's back and resists all his pre-bed responsibilities.
"I will sew it on for you, my little man."
When Peter Pan comes back to the nursery looking for his shadow, Wendy awakens, and finds him trying to reattach it with soap. She offers to help him, suggesting that she can sew it back on to his body.
"The first time was a week ago. It was Nana's night out, and I had been drowsing here by the fire when suddenly I felt a draught, as if the window were open. I looked round and I saw that boy—in the room."
When their children are out of the room, Mrs. Darling tells her husband about the fact that she saw Peter come into the nursery a week before, an apparition, and that he left his shadow behind. Curiously enough, this is a moment in which the adults in the play adhere to childlike rules, taking the missing shadow story at face value.
"To die will be an awfully big adventure."
When Peter is trapped on the Marooners' Rock at the lagoon, Wendy tries to take him with her to fly away on a kite, but he opts to stay trapped on the rock instead. Left on the rock, he utters this line, suggesting that even the prospect of death seems like an adventure to him.
"Pirates! Let us go at once!"
After Peter tells John that there are pirates in Never Land, John becomes very excited and eager to go there, as he is anxious to pursue such a swashbuckling adventure. Rather than deter him, the promise of pirate danger is all the more enticing to the sheltered John.
"What are your exact feelings for me, Peter?"
When Wendy has assumed the role of mother to the Lost Boys in their underground lair, she suggests that Peter is their father. Having developed a little crush on him, she questions Peter about whether he has any feelings towards her, hoping that he returns her romantic interest.
"I just want always to be a little boy and to have fun."
Wendy invites the Lost Boys to come home with the Darling children and join their family, and they accept. When Tootles asks Peter why he does not want to come, this is Peter's reply, an intention to live his whole life as a child.
"Do you believe in fairies? Say quick that you believe! If you believe, clap your hands!"
When Tinker Bell drinks the poison that Hook left for Peter, she begins to die, so Peter calls out to whoever is listening, be it reader or audience member, and entreats them to proclaim their belief in fairies and clap their hands in order to save Tink.
"How still the night is; nothing sounds alive. Now is the hour when children in their homes are a-bed; their lips bright-browned with the good-night chocolate, and their tongues drowsily searching for belated crumbs housed insecurely on their shining cheeks."
After he captures Wendy and the Lost Boys, Hook stands on the deck of his ship and notes how quiet it is, that it is the hour when most children are asleep in their beds.
Peter Pan Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Peter Pan is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.