Maurice Sendak, author of the children’s book Where the Wild Things Are, once said that he had never intended to write for children, but that his brand of honesty would never be well-received by adults. Many authors have made similar remarks, that hard-hitting subject matters were best suited for children’s books, as children were inherently more honest, and better equipped to digest truth. Well, never is the truth more veiled than in Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. Barrie hid his truth a little too well in this one, as this is grossly misunderstood piece of literature.
Peter is in love with Wendy, to the point of inviting her and her siblings to come to Neverland and stay with him and his friends. They fly and have adventures and he thinks it should always be this way, so he later feels “betrayed” that she actually wants to be an adult and do adult things (like experience motherhood) because he wants a life free from obligations and responsibilities, and he wants her to stay with him and enable his complete lack of ambition and aversion to change, like his homegirl, the thirst-bucket and OG “Pick Me!”, Tinkerbell, always has.
The story isn’t about a boy clinging to childhood, but is in fact a metaphor for a man who wants to remain a child forever an avoid what he sees as the ultimate horror: Having to become a man. Peter is totally content to deal with constant near-misses in dealing with Captain Hook (read: running these streets) and even when the Lost Boys decide to settle down, he would rather watch from afar as everyone gets their shit together than embrace growth himself (read: 40-year-old aspiring rapper, pyramid scheme salesmen, and other f#ckboy shit). He’s so busy avoiding adult responsibilities that he remains in his stagnant, static life.
Pan’s antics have inspired the behaviour of frat boys, the male cast of Love & Hip-Hop, and the hit drama Entourage! This children’s classic let’s us peak into the souls of men-children across the globe! It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving!
I give this one 4 stars.