Why doesn’t Peter want to be adopted?

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In act 1 of J. M. Barrie's fantasy play Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, Wendy Darling first meets Peter Pan in the nursery of her home in London. Peter has come to retrieve his shadow that he left behind the night before when he flew away from Mrs. Darling, and the window closed on Peter's shadow before it could escape with him.

Wendy sews Peter's shadow to his feet, and Peter is very pleased with himself.

WENDY: Peter, how old are you?

PETER: (blithely) I don't know, but quite young, Wendy. I ran away the day I was born.

WENDY: Ran away, why?

PETER: Because I heard father and mother talking of what I was to be when I became a man. I want always to be a little boy and to have fun; so I ran away to Kensington Gardens and lived a long time among the fairies.

This is the first indication to the audience that Peter doesn't want to grow up and that he intends to remain a little boy forever.

Towards the end of act 5, scene 2, after all of her adventures with Peter Pan in Neverland, Wendy returns home to London with her brothers, John and Michael, the Lost Boys, and Peter.

Wendy's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Darling, agree to adopt all of the Lost Boys, even Slightly, who was almost forgotten outside when all of the other Lost Boys went into the Darling home.

Peter has stayed outside, flying around, knocking the tall hats off passers-by. Wendy flies down to him, horrifying Mrs. Darling, who rushes to the window after Wendy. She sees Peter and calls out to him.

MRS. DARLING: (from the window) Peter, where are you? Let me adopt you too.

(She is the loveliest age for a woman, but too old to see PETER clearly.)

PETER: Would you send me to school?

MRS. DARLING: (obligingly) Yes.

PETER: And then to an office?

MRS. DARLING: I suppose so.

PETER: Soon I should be a man?

MRS. DARLING: Very soon.

PETER: (passionately) I don't want to go to school and learn solemn things. No one is going to catch me, lady, and make me a man.

Then Peter tells Mrs. Darling what he told Wendy many adventures ago:

PETER: I want always to be a little boy and to have fun.

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