Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
In the nursery of the Darling home, a dog is the nurse, or nanny. Perhaps that is one reason there is so much joy there. Nurse Nana bathes the three children and gives them their suppers and in all ways watches over them. One night, Mrs. Darling, on Nana’s night off, sits with the children as they sleep. Drowsing, she is awakened by a slight draft from the window, and, looking around, she sees a strange boy in the room. She screams, and Nana, who has just returned home, lunges for the intruder, but the boy leaps out the window, leaving only his shadow behind. He had been accompanied also by a ball of light, but it too has escaped. Mrs. Darling rolls up the boy’s shadow and puts it in a drawer, thinking that the boy will come back for it sometime soon and thus may be caught.
When Mr. Darling is told of the incident he considers it a little silly; at present he is more concerned with finding a different nurse for the children. Believing that the dog, Nana, is getting too much authority in the household, Mr. Darling drags her out of the house and locks her up.
Mr. and Mrs. Darling go out the following night, leaving only a maid to look in on the children occasionally. After the lights are out and the children are asleep, the intruder returns. The boy, whose name is Peter Pan, is accompanied by Tinker Bell, a fairy who appears as a ball of light. Peter finds his shadow after searching in all the drawers in the nursery, but in his excitement he shuts Tinker Bell in one of the drawers.
As Peter tries to get his shadow to stick to him again, he makes enough noise to awaken Wendy, the daughter of the household. Peter tells Wendy that he ran away the day he was born because he heard his parents talking about all the things he would do when he was a man; he went to live with the fairies so that he would never have to grow up. Suddenly he remembers Tinker Bell, and he looks for her until he finds her in one of the nursery dressers. Tinker Bell, a ball of light no bigger than a fist, is so small that Wendy can hardly see her. She is not a very polite fairy—she calls Wendy horrible names.
Peter tells Wendy, the only girl of the three Darling children and instantly his favorite, that he and Tinker Bell live in Neverland with the lost boys, boys who had fallen out of their baby carriages and were never found again. He had come to Wendy’s house to listen to her mother tell stories to the others. Peter, begging Wendy and her brothers to go back to Neverland with him, promises to teach them to fly. The idea is too much for the children to resist. After a little practice they all fly out the window, barely escaping their parents and Nana, who has broken her chain to warn Mr. and Mrs. Darling of the danger to the children.
In Neverland, the Indians, with their chief and their princess, help to protect the lost boys against a group of mean pirates led by Captain Hook, who has a hook where one of his hands used to be. It is Hook’s greatest desire to capture Peter Pan, for Peter is the one who tore off Hook’s arm and fed it to a crocodile. The crocodile so liked the taste of the arm...
(The entire section is 1279 words.)
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