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What is an example of Barrie expressing his own personal agenda in the text Peter Pan?

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ian1time | Teacher | Honors

Posted May 15, 2013 at 8:43 AM via web

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What is an example of Barrie expressing his own personal agenda in the text Peter Pan?

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 15, 2013 at 3:20 PM (Answer #1)

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Barrie’s agenda of the importance of mother-son relationships is a central theme in Peter Pan.

Barrie has often been accused of not wanting to grow up himself, and to a certain extent that might be true.  His childhood definitely affected the writing of Peter Pan.  Most of his siblings died when he was young, and he made it his mission to help his mother and be all she needed.  Since she was often bedridden, that involved creating a fantasy world the two could share.

Although it can be viewed as humorous, Barrie makes several editorial comments throughout the text that support the importance of the mother and the damage of growing up.

Mrs. Darling … cried, "Oh, why can't you remain like this for ever!" This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end. (Ch 1)

Peter’s insistence that a mother is not needed is another example.  Clearly, Peter does want a mother.  This is why he spends so much time observing mothers and their children.  His goal is not just to make sure children don’t grow up, but to be around families.  He feels the loss of his own mother deeply.

"Don't have a mother," he said. Not only had he no mother, but he had not the slightest desire to have one. He thought them very over-rated persons. Wendy, however, felt at once that she was in the presence of a tragedy. (ch 3)

A tragedy was indeed how Barrie saw it.  At the same time, Peter decides to bring Wendy to the Lost Boys in Neverland so that they can all have a mother.

"Great news, boys," he cried, "I have brought at last a mother for you all." (ch 6)

To Barrie, the most important thing is the mother-child relationship.  Children who do not have it are "lost," like Peter and the Lost Boys.

Everything we write is a reflection of ourselves, and Peter Pan is no exception.  The combination of tragedy and fantasy that made up Barrie's childhood and his complex relationship with his mother is clearly the backdrop for Barrie's story, regardless of whether the mother-centric message was intentional or not.

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