How does J. M. Barrie's life affect Peter Pan, the book?

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stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

James Matthew (J. M.) Barrie was one of ten children born to David and Margaret Barrie. Many of his older siblings (he was the eighth to be born) did not survive to adulthood, including two who died before his birth.

Margaret's favorite, a son who was older than J. M., died shortly before J. M.'s sixth birthday. She was devastated by the death and apparently never completely recovered her physical or mental health.  J. M. responded to his mother's condition by attempting to replace her lost son through his actions and by spending much time entertaining her through the telling of wildly imaginative stories about persons and places he would invent.

Peter Pan reflects the fantasy of those stories, the great devotion to the mother figure that shaped J. M.'s childhood, and his mother's dream that her departed children would never die but would go on living as children forever.