In the book Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, what is the conflict that drives the plot?

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The main conflict in the book is that between staying eternally a carefree child and accepting the growth and responsibilities of adulthood. Peter represents the eternal child. He actively resists growing up and wants to live in Neverland, engaged in endless adventures with the Lost Boys. He craves the kind...

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The main conflict in the book is that between staying eternally a carefree child and accepting the growth and responsibilities of adulthood. Peter represents the eternal child. He actively resists growing up and wants to live in Neverland, engaged in endless adventures with the Lost Boys. He craves the kind of nurturance or mothering that Wendy provides, but he doesn't want to step up to the plate himself and assume similarly "fatherly" responsibilities. After all, that wouldn't be much fun.

Wendy, who is willing to accept the mantle of adulthood, is Peter's opposite. Both are depicted as good characters (the pirates are their evil contrasts) who choose different paths in life. A central dilemma emerges: while the magical and highly imaginative world of childhood is appealing, it is also a world of stasis and repetition. Peter, albeit with more variation, is living the repeated loop life of the main character in the movie Groundhog Day. It may be delightful for Peter, but he experiences no change and growth. Wendy opts for adulthood, which involves responsibility, aging, loss of imagination, and pain, but she is also fully experiencing all the stages of life.

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There are a few conflicts going on in the book. I would say that the main conflict is the man vs. self conflict that surrounds Peter.  Peter desperately wants to avoid growing up.  To Peter, being an eternal child sounds great.  He has few responsibilities outside of having fun.  The conflict for Peter is what to do when Wendy invites him and the Lost Boys back home.  On one hand, he wants to be around Wendy and the boys, but on the other hand he does not want to grow up.  Leaving Never Land will guarantee that he grows up.  In the end, Peter Pan chooses to stay forever young in Never Land.  That sounds nice, but Peter is also forever alone. 

Other conflicts in the story are between Peter and Hook and Hook and the Indians.

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