Peter Pan & Wendy – J.M. Barrie

Thanks to Disney, it’s safe to say the majority of people know who Peter Pan is. It was one of my favourite Disney films growing up and holds a special place in my heart. I was having a low day last week and decided to watch the Disney version of Peter Pan to boost my spirits. I then watched the 2003 film because I saw it was on Netflix. After having watched both films I still wanted more, I wanted to escape to Neverland for a little bit longer. So I stopped reading the book I was part way through, and picked up Peter Pan and Wendy to travel back to Neverland.


The book follows the Darling children; Wendy, John and Michael as they leave their home, parents, and the inevitability of “growing up” behind and travel with Peter Pan to have endless fun and adventures in Neverland.


I won’t do a huge review on this as everyone knows the tale. The book adds much more to the story, as expected, and you stop seeing both Pan and Neverland through rose tinted eyes. You see the flaws they both have. Neverland looks less appealing through the eyes of Barrie, through his narrative interjections we learn of the anguish felt by those left behind and are also shown the price Peter must pay for his eternal youth.


The ending itself, while a happy one, is also heartbreaking. I won’t give any spoilers, but something sad happened which I did not like ☹


In terms of characters it is only Wendy who really develops in anyway. While initially wanting to escape to Neverland as she does not want to grow up, she is immediately put in the position of mother to the Lost Boys, and performs all the domestic duties they require, not really getting to go on any adventures. She loves Peter and does wish to marry him one day, I guess it was this realisation, along with her missing their parents, and her brothers having forgotten them, that prompts her to decide they need to return home. So she could grow up, and eventually marry and become the mother she so obviously wants to be. I must say, book Wendy is a FAR more likable character to Disney Wendy – as she always annoys me in the film. Saying that, I thought Rachel Hurd-Wood played her very well in the 2003 adaptation.


Oh, and Tinker Bell, great as always. She will always be my favourite.


Peter Pan and Wendy is a brilliant fantasy tale filled with magic and intrigue. The plot is kept alive by the mutual loathing between Pan and Hook which makes for an entertaining tale for both children and adults. Even us “adults” who still haven’t really grown up yet.



Favourite quotes and passages from Peter Pan & Wendy:


We too have been there; we can still hear the sound of the surf, though we shall land no more.


…when the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.


…the nursery seemed quite it’s old self, very dark; and you could have sworn you heard its three wicked inmates breathing angelically as they slept.


Eventually Peter would dive through the air, and catch Michael just before he could strike the sea, and it was lovely the way he did it; but he always waited till the last moment, and you felt it was his cleverness that interested him and not the saving of human life.


…will plunge you in deepest woe.


Smee had pleasant names for everything and his cutlass was Johnny Corkscrew, because he wriggled it in the wound. One could mention many lovable traits in Smee. For instance, after killing, it was his spectacles he wiped instead of his weapon.


This is the nearest you ever get to it on the mainland, just one heavenly moment; if there could be two moments you might see the surf and hear the mermaids singing.


Next moment he was standing erect on the rock again, with that smile on his face and a drum beating within him. It was saying, ‘To die would be an awfully big adventure.’


The way you got the time on the island was to find the crocodile, and then stay near him till the clock struck.


…pen cannot describe the happy scene, over which we draw a veil.


The doomed children answered with a cheer that was music to the black hearts above


There were no children there, and it was night-time; but he addressed all who might be dreaming of the Neverland, and who are therefore nearer to him than you think


She was the cannibal of the seas, and scarce needed that watchful eye, for she floated immune in the horror of her name.


She let her hands play in the hair of the tragic boy. She was not a little girl heart-broken about him; she was a grown woman smiling at it all, but they were wet smiles.



Add yours →

  1. A Pretty Lil Book Blog July 2, 2017 — 10:34 pm

    We’re agreed on this one- Wendy is so much more interesting in the book!!


  2. Feminism Through Cinema and Literature August 19, 2017 — 11:21 am

    Absolutely brilliant post! I too love Wendy. I like your analysis of her and the fact that she is the only one who does develop. I had to write an assignment for uni about the patterns of growth in Peter Pan. I said that they were highly gendered and that Wendy as a result of her storytelling and her act of reproduction can retain her childhood imagination. This is because both ensure a close proximity to the childhood self. Thus, this close proximity allows her to be imaginative but at a safe distance. She neither abandons her childhood self (like the Darling boys), nor lives within her childhood (like Peter).


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