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Peter Pan 1915 cover

Peter Pan and Wendy by J.M. Barrie

Peter Pan, a shortened tilted of the novel Peter Pan and Wendy, is J. M. Barrie work based on his own 1904 stage play Peter Pan, or the Boy Who wouldn't Grow Up.


Peter & WendyEdit

Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Upor Peter and Wendy is J. M. Barrie's most famous work, in the form of a 1904 play and a 1911 novel. Both versions tell the story ofPeter Pan, a mischievous yet innocent little boy who can fly, and has many adventures on the island of Neverland that is inhabited bymermaids, fairies, Native Americans andpirates. Peter has many stories involvingWendy Darling and her two brothers, his fairyTinker Bell, the Lost Boys, and the pirateCaptain Hook. The play and novel were inspired by Barrie's friendship with theLlewelyn Davies family. Barrie continued to revise the play for years after its debut until publication of the play script in 1928.

The play debuted in London on 27 December 1904 with Nina Boucicault, daughter of playwright Dion Boucicault, in the title role. A Broadway production was mounted in 1905 starring Maude Adams. It was later revived with such actresses as Marilyn Miller and Eva Le Gallienne. The play has since been adapted as a pantomime, stage musical, a television special, and several films, including a 1924silent film, Disney's 1953 animated full-length feature film, and a 2003 live actionproduction. The play is now rarely performed in its original form on stage in the United Kingdom, whereas pantomime adaptations are frequently staged around Christmas. In the U.S., the original version has also been supplanted in popularity by the 1954 musical version, which became popular on television.

The novel was first published in 1911 byHodder & Stoughton in the United Kingdom and Charles Scribner's Sons in the United States. The original book contains a frontispiece and 11 half-tone plates by artistF. D. Bedford (whose illustrations are still under copyright in the EU). The novel was first abridged by May Byron in 1915, with Barrie's permission, and published under the titlePeter Pan and Wendy, the first time this form was used. This version was later illustrated byMabel Lucie Attwell in 1921. In 1929, Barrie gave the copyright of the Peter Pan works toGreat Ormond Street Hospital, a children's hospital in London.

  • Summary

Although the character appeared previously in Barrie's book The Little White Bird, the play and its novelisation contain the story of Peter Pan mythos that is best known. The two versions differ in some details of the story, but have much in common. In both versions Peter makes night-time calls on the Darlings' house in Bloomsbury,[5] listening in on Mrs.Mary Darling's bedtime stories by the open window. One night Peter is spotted and, while trying to escape, he loses his shadow. On returning to claim it, Peter wakes Mary's daughter, Wendy Darling. Wendy succeeds in re-attaching his shadow to him, and Peter learns that she knows lots of bedtime stories. He invites her to Neverland to be a mother to his gang, the Lost Boys, children who were lost in Kensington Gardens. Wendy agrees, and her brothers John and Michael go along.

Their magical flight to Neverland is followed by many adventures. The children are blown out of the air by a cannon and Wendy is nearly killed by the Lost Boy Tootles. Peter and the Lost Boys build a little house for Wendy to live in while she recuperates (a structure that, to this day, is called a Wendy House.) Soon John and Michael adopt the ways of the Lost Boys.

RPeter welcomes Wendy to his underground home, and she immediately assumes the role of mother figure. Peter takes the Darlings on several adventures, the first truly dangerous one occurring at Mermaids' Lagoon. At Mermaids' Lagoon, Peter and the Lost Boys save the princess Tiger Lily and become involved in a battle with the pirates, including the evil Captain Hook. Peter is wounded when Hook claws him. He believes he will die, stranded on a rock when the tide is rising, but he views death as "an awfully big adventure". Luckily, a bird allows him to use her nest as a boat, and Peter sails home.

In gratitude for saving Tiger Lily, her tribe guard his home from the next imminent pirate attack. Meanwhile, Wendy begins to fall in love with Peter, at least as a child, and asks Peter what kind of feelings he has for her. Peter says that he is like her faithful son. One day while telling stories to the Lost Boys and her brothers, John and Michael, Wendy recalls her parents and then decides to take them back and return to England. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to Peter, Wendy and the boys are captured by Captain Hook, who also tries to poison Peter's medicine while the boy is asleep. When Peter awakes, he learns from the fairy Tinker Bell that Wendy has been kidnapped – in an effort to please Wendy, he goes to drink his medicine. Tink does not have time to warn him of the poison, and instead drinks it herself, causing her near death. Tink tells him she could be saved if children believed in fairies. In one of the play's most famous moments, Peter turns to the audience watching the play and begs those who believe in fairies to clap their hands. At this there is usually an explosion of handclapping from the audience, and Tinker Bell is saved.

Peter heads to the ship. On the way, he encounters the ticking crocodile; Peter decides to copy the tick, so any animals will recognise it and leave him unharmed. He does not realise that he is still ticking as he boards the ship, where Hook cowers, mistaking him for the crocodile. While the pirates are searching for the croc, Peter sneaks into the cabin to steal the keys and frees the Lost Boys. When the pirates investigate a noise in the cabin, Peter defeats them. When he finally reveals himself, he and Hook fall to the climactic battle, which Peter easily wins. He kicks Hook into the jaws of the waiting crocodile, and Hook dies with the satisfaction that Peter had literally kicked him off the ship, which Hook considers "bad form". Then Peter takes control of the ship, and sails the seas back to London.

In the end, Wendy decides that her place is at home, much to the joy of her heartsick mother. Wendy then brings all the boys but Peter back to London. Before Wendy and her brothers arrive at their house, Peter flies ahead, to try and bar the window so Wendy will think her mother has forgotten her. But when he learns of Mrs Darling's distress, he bitterly leaves the window open and flies away. Peter returns briefly, and he meets Mrs. Darling, who has agreed to adopt the Lost Boys. She offers to adopt Peter as well, but Peter refuses, afraid they will "catch him and make him a man." It is hinted that Mary Darling knew Peter when she was a girl, because she is left slightly changed when Peter leaves.

Peter promises to return for Wendy every spring. The end of the play finds Wendy looking out through the window and saying into space, "You won't forget to come for me, Peter? Please, please don't forget."

Four years after the premiere of the original production of Peter Pan, Barrie wrote an additional scene entitled When Wendy Grew Up. An Afterthought, later included in the final chapter of Peter and Wendy. In this scene, Peter returns for Wendy years later. But she is now grown up with a daughter of her own named Jane. It is also revealed Wendy married one of the Lost Boys, although this is not mentioned in the novel, and it is never revealed which one she did marry. When Peter learns that Wendy has "betrayed" him by growing up, he is heartbroken until Jane agrees to come to Neverland as Peter's new mother. In the novel's last few sentences, Barrie mentions that Jane has grown up as well and that Peter now takes her daughter Margaret to Neverland. Barrie says this cycle will go on forever as long as children are "gay and innocent and heartless".[6]

An Afterthought is only occasionally used in productions of the play, but it made a poignant conclusion to the musical production starring Mary Martin, and provided the premise for Disney's sequel to their animated adaptation of the story, Return to Never Land. This epilogue was filmed for the 2003 film but not included in the final version, though a rough cut of the sequence was included as an extra on the DVD of the film.

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