How is nostalgia utilised in Peter Pan?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would say that Peter Pan embodies a type of nostalgia in terms of how he views childhood.  Peter views childhood in a nostalgic condition.  It is one that he sees as an immediate refuge and release from the responsibilities that are intrinsic to adulthood.  Nostalgia is one of the reasons that Peter refuses to grow up.  His clinging to Neverland and the fear of being an adult is motivated by nostalgia and the condition of not wanting to leave the romanticized notion of childhood that he has created.  Barrie uses nostalgia as a construct of vivid imagination.  Yet, through Peter, one sees how nostalgia can be seductively evasive.  Nostalgia for a love of childhood inhibits growth and prevents a full understanding of being in the world.  Wendy understands this to an extent, widening her own scope of compassion in sensing how her mother must worry for her because of her absence.  In this, she demonstrates how one must seek to be in control of the emotions associated with nostalgia and not be controlled it, as Peter is in his own understanding of being.  It is here where Barrie's use of nostalgia is complex, reflecting the intricate nature of the experience itself.

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