I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Oddly enough, the Disney movie version of Peter Pan follows closely to the book.  That isn't always the case with Disney.  This book was originally a play that Barrie turned into a book later after it's success. During the part where they needed the audience to clap for Tinker Bell, they were prepared to have the orchestra do it since they weren't sure whether or not the audience would go along with it. They did of course.  Seeing it back then was magical as the characters "flew" across the stage during their wild adventures. 

In the book, the Darling parents don't have a lot of money and Mr. Darling, at first, isn't sure if they can afford to have children. He does up the sums nightly and predicts what it will cost and where they can cut corners to save money and eventually gives in and they have Wendy.  Then the same thing happens again with both John and Michael.  They use a St. Bernard as a nursery maid since they cannot afford anything more and call her Nana. 

One night Nana manages to catch Peter Pan's shadow when he sneaks into the nursery on a visit with the children while they slept.  When they sleep, they dream of Neverland and their own version of it.  Mrs. Darling takes the shadow and folds it up and puts it in the drawer and sleeps the next night in the nursery to see if he comes back for it, but he doesn't.  He will come back for it, but time passes and he doesn't at first. One winter evening, the Darling couple are invited to a party down the street and they go to it and through a series of odd events, Nana ends up chained outside.

This is the night that Peter Pan arrives to collect his shadow with Tinker Bell and ends up leading the children off to Neverland, mainly because the Lost Boys need a mother and Wendy fits the bill.  He teaches them to fly with pixie dust and to head out "second to the right and straight on till morning".  While there they meet up with Pirates and Indians some of which want to kill them.  And Wendy does well as a mother to the Lost Boys.  But she wants her brothers to remember their parents as they all, her included, seem to be forgetting them.

Honestly, I never did like Peter Pan the movie as a kid or as an adult.  And the characters in this book have few redeeming qualities.  The best character, in my opinion, is the tick-tock-crock.  But the book is written so beautifully and magically that you can forget that Peter Pan has this annoying habit of leaving people when they need him or of being the boy who never grows up and therefore lives in a bubble of selfish childish things. You can forgive Wendy for being so wishy-washy and weak.  You overlook Hook's few faults that make him a little less interesting.  Barrie writes with such style and grace you could forgive him for anything in this book.  And I do.

By the way: The name Wendy did not exist until the play Peter Pan was made. A young girl Barrie was friends with called him "fwendie", which is how she pronounced friend and that is where he got the name Wendy from.

   “Can anything harm us, mother, after the night-lights are lit?” “Nothing, precious,” she said; “they are the eyes a mother leaves behind her to guard her children.”

-J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan p 26)
 He could only stare, horrified. Every child is affected thus the first time he is treated unfairly. All he thinks he has a right to when he comes to you to be yours is fairness. After you have been unfair to him he will love you again, but will never afterwards be quite the same boy. No one ever gets over the first unfairness.

-J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan p 120)
 To die will be an awfully big adventure.

-J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan p 123)
 The pirate attack had been a complete surprise: a sure proof that the unscrupulous Hook had conducted it improperly, for to surprise the redskins fairly is beyond the wit of the white man.

-J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan p 152)
Link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Peter-Pan-J-M-Barrie-ebook/dp/1435154703/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1474466303&sr=8-10&keywords=peter+pan

No comments:

Post a Comment