And in , Barrie turned the play into a book, originally titled Peter and Wendy but soon to become known as Peter Pan. Now, he has all of Neverland to play in, and pirates to fight, and Lost Boys to play with, and Wendy Darling and all of her descendants to transform into mothers to replace his original, inferior mother. He is, in short, no longer a sentimental Victorian tragedy, but an ageless fantasy, and the only true tragedy is that Wendy will inevitably grow up and thus cannot play with him and be his mother forever.
Peter kills pirates and Lost Boys alike without remorse, but these are play deaths that carry no emotional weight with them: You get the sense that his victims will get up smiling and be ready to play again as soon as Peter turns his back.
Michael Jackson: The Death of Peter Pan - TIME
There are always more children to play with, and always more mothers. Peter Pan became an icon, but the Llewelyn Davies children lived short and tragic lives. George died at 21 as a soldier during World War I in Michael was just shy of his 21st birthday when he drowned in , in what is widely believed to have been a suicide. John died of lung disease in , at age Barrie himself died of pneumonia at age 77, in He had come to think of Peter Pan less as a celebration of the childhood innocence of his young friends and more as a referendum on himself.
Tragedy that inspired creation of Peter Pan
In both book and play, Peter murders pirates easily, without a care. The Lost Boys and the Darlings face profound danger throughout both book and play, but Peter tends to find the danger entertaining rather than frightening.
He always saves them, but less because he wants to help them and more because it will give him another opportunity to celebrate his own cleverness. He is their only protector. He created them to be objects in a game.
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The ability to think of other people as people , and not just as objects in the game of your life, is a characteristic of adulthood. It seems that when Barrie first conceived of Peter Pan , he found the fantasy of living as heartlessly as Peter to be immensely appealing, which is why he was able to turn it into a sentimental fairy tale.
Later, he found it appalling: He wanted to grow up, to develop true empathy, but felt that he could not. But both sides of the ideal of the selfish child — the fantasy and the nightmare — live on in Peter Pan.
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- Michael Jackson: The Death of Peter Pan - TIME.
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