Peter Pan is the story of a young boy who can fly and has magical abilities, but refuses to grow up choosing instead to spend an ever-lasting childhood leading a group of young, orphaned boys called the ???Lost Boys??™ in exciting adventures with fairies, Indians and mermaids, exploring a magical fantasy island called Neverland.
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Peter and the ???Lost Boys??™ are befriended by Tiger Lily, the Indian Princess and Tinkerbelle, the Fairy in their many adventures with arch adversaries, the villainous Captain Hook and his motley crew of pirates, Smee and Starky.
Perhaps the most important and significant character in this story, apart from Peter himself is Wendy Darling, a young child that Peter meets and befriends in one of his flying visits to the real world.
Wendy lives with her younger brothers, John and Michael in Kensington Gardens with their beloved dog, Nana. Wendy enjoys looking after her brothers and likes to tell them bedtime stories about a mythical, magical little boy called Peter Pan, who can fly and spends his time in adventurous play in a place called Neverland.
One night as Wendy is telling her stories to Michael and John, Peter appears at their bedroom window and after sprinkling them all with fairy dust and telling them to believe and have faith that they can fly, whisks them off to Neverland ??“ ???somewhere past the second star, to the right and then straight on ???til morning??™ and so their adventures begin. Once in Neverland the children are terrorised by the dastardly Captain Hook, who intends to capture Peter and his friends and do away with them once and for all.
On the surface the story of Peter Pan appears to be a childhood tale of escapism and fantasy, full of fairies, mermaids and swashbuckling adventure. However, there is an underlying plot about a girl who must grow up and take responsibility.
As the story unfolds it explores and challenges concepts and perceptions of gender, roles and responsibilities through the dynamics of relationship between the main characters. Peter??™s youth and immaturity enable him to triumph over his adult rival, Captain Hook and always save the day. Wendy??™s role of big sister to her brothers and assumed mother role towards the ???Lost Boys??™, provides the maternal element that both Peter and the ???Lost Boys??™ have been lacking all their life.
However, the tragedy of this story is demonstrated when Wendy and her brothers come back to their real world and are reunited with their family, while Peter looks on through the bedroom window – an almost physical barrier – it becomes clear that through his quest for youth and eternal childhood, Peter has become lonely, isolated and his development stunted.
Peter Pan is a celebration of childhood, filled with escapism, immaturity and fantasy, but it also serves as a warning that those who choose to remain immature will become, like Peter, unable to progress into adulthood.