Student Question

Why are Hook and Peter Pan enemies?

Quick answer:

In Peter Pan, Captain Hook and Peter Pan are enemies because Peter cut off Hook’s arm and fed it to a crocodile.

Expert Answers

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There are several possible reasons why Captain Hook and Peter Pan are enemies. A literal, concrete reason for their hostile connection centers on Hook’s arm. Hook tells Smee that Peter cut off his arm and “flung” it at a crocodile that happened to be hanging around. This incident has left Hook with lots of hatred for Peter. Hook is significantly preoccupied with exacting vengeance using the hook that has replaced his arm.

There are also less literal and more theoretical reasons for why Hook and Pan are enemies. Think about what Hook symbolizes and why that might put him at odds with what Pan symbolizes. Hook, with his “cadaverous and blackavized” appearance, represents a kind of impaired experience. Conversely, Peter Pan represents a sort of youthful agility. Pan has all of his limbs, and he can literally fly. It can be argued that Hook’s debilitating experiences plus Pan’s rollicking innocence equals enmity.

Finally, one could argue that Hook and Pan are enemies because, deep down, Hook is jealous of Pan. It is possible that Hook wishes that he was as free and mobile as Pan. At one point, Barrie says that Hook’s eyes contain “a profound melancholy.” Perhaps Hook is sad about his lost innocence. However, because he’s a “terrible man,” it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to express feelings like sadness. Instead, he turns those rueful feelings into hate—a hate that transforms Peter into a sworn enemy.

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