Peter Pan Summary
by J. M. Barrie

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Peter Pan Summary

Peter Pan is a children’s novel by J. M. Barrie. It follows the adventures of the Darling children and Peter Pan, a boy who never grows up.

  • Peter Pan flies into Wendy Darling’s room and convinces her and her brothers to come to Neverland with him and his fairy, Tinker Bell.

  • In Neverland, Peter and the Darlings live with the lost boys, with Wendy acting as the boys’ mother. They also battle Captain Hook and his pirate crew.

  • The Darlings return to London, where their parents adopt the lost boys. Peter remains in Neverland, but returns to take Wendy’s daughter on an adventure.

Summary

J. M. Barrie’s classic work Peter Pan (1904) tells the story of the Darling children’s journey to the magical islands of Neverland with Peter Pan, an adventurous young boy who refuses to grow up. The omniscient narrator—who addresses the audience in the first person—introduces the Darling family, which includes Mr. and Mrs. Darling; their three children, Wendy, John, and Michael; and a dog named Nana. The family resides in London, where the children share a nursery. In the present, Wendy tells Mrs. Darling about a boy named Peter Pan, who visits her dreams from a place called Neverland.

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After the children go to sleep, Peter Pan unexpectedly enters through their bedroom window, startling Mrs. Darling. When Mr. and Mrs. Darling leave the house to attend a nearby dinner party, Peter returns with his fairy, Tinker Bell. Wendy awakes and helps Peter attach his shadow to his body. Peter tells Wendy that he has no parents and that he refuses to ever become an adult; he lives in Neverland with a group of abandoned children who refer to themselves as “the lost boys.” Intrigued with Neverland, Wendy asks him about fairies, which reminds Peter that he accidentally trapped Tinker Bell inside a closed drawer.

Peter entices Wendy to join him on a trip to Neverland. John and Michael, who have since woken up, are eager to join. Peter then blows fairy dust on the three Darling children, and they begin flying around the room. Meanwhile, Nana has stormed the Darlings’ dinner party to warn the parents that something is happening with the children, but before the parents make it to the nursery, the children have already flown with Peter and Tinker Bell out the window and toward the stars.

The Darling children, flying over Neverland, find familiar landmarks from their dreams. As they prepare to land, however, the sky becomes dark; Peter thus warns them of the pirates on the island, explaining that he is responsible for the loss of Captain James Hook’s right hand, having thrown him to the crocodile that ate it. Soon after, the pirates fire a cannon into the sky. John and Michael land in a different area than Wendy and Tinker Bell, and Peter is nowhere to be found.

The narrator introduces the lost boys, the rest of the pirates, and the redskins. Along with Peter, the lost boys live in a home underground. As Wendy and Tinker Bell arrive, the boys initially mistake Wendy for a bird, and one of them, Tootles, shoots her with an arrow, right before Peter arrives. Luckily, Wendy survives and is soon reunited with her brothers, but she is still unconscious. Subsequently, Peter insists that they build Wendy a house. After it is complete, the boys knock on Wendy’s new door, and she invites them in to read Cinderella.

Peter and the boys convince Wendy to be their mother. Over time—which is hard to calculate in Neverland—Wendy, John, and Michael become accustomed to living with the lost boys. As Wendy takes care of the boys, she becomes concerned when John and Michael seem to forget their parents. However, Wendy feels confident that her mother has left the window open for her and her brothers for when they return.

The group decides to visit the Mermaids’ Lagoon for an adventure. While they are there, two of Hook’s comrades, Smee and Starkey, arrive at the lagoon, with Tiger Lily—the leader of the redskins—as their prisoner. Peter decides to save...

(The entire section is 1,308 words.)