Nostalgia For The State Of Childhood English Literature Essay

The province of childhood in the Western universe is by and large thought of by grownups as a carefree, guiltless clip of life. This for the bulk of people is right, nevertheless, this is non ever the instance. Children and grownups from different civilizations have ambivalent feelings towards their ain childhoods. For Western society the character of Peter Pan embodies the nostalgic position of childhood. I will demo how the text of Peter Pan depicts childhood and how much or small it provides for a nostalgic position of childhood.

During the first act in the baby’s room the Darling kids are playing at adult ups. Wendy and John are re-enacting their parents ‘ parts, Wendy is Mrs Darling and John Mr Darling. The kids are cognizant through the actions of their parents and their make-believe drama that to hold kids involves a fiscal forfeit:

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John: We do n’t desire any more.

Michael: ( undertaking ) Am I non to be born at all?

John: Two is adequate. ( Act 1.1 Lines 110-113 )

Barrie makes the comment ‘The Darlings could non afford to hold a nurse, they could non afford so to hold kids ; ‘ ( Act 1.1, Line 51 ) Their nanny is a Newfoundland Canis familiaris called Nana. Having a Canis familiaris for a nurse is another fiscal forfeit that the household had to do in respects holding kids. The Darling kids must hold been cognizant that holding a Canis familiaris for a nurse was out of the ordinary. This therefore would be an indicant that the kids were cognizant to some grade of the fiscal adversities that families/adults have to digest. Aside from the fiscal adversity depicted in the drama the kids are depicted as by and large incognizant of problem in their ain existent universe. The lone clip that the Darling kids encounter problem is when they are holding escapades in Neverland. In their ain existent universe they are protected from problem by their parents. In Neverland Peter and Wendy are the replacing parents and it is merely when their ‘pretend ‘ relationship is severed that the kids encounter problem. The Darling kids and the Lost Boys are captured by the plagiarists as they leave Neverland for their ‘real ‘ universe. The disintegration of the relationship between their make-believe female parent and male parent has led to their gaining control. Wendy and the male childs ‘ actions parallel those of go forthing the Nursery for Neverland. Having left the protection of their parents for Neverland, Wendy and the male childs now leave Peter ‘s protection for their place. Both state of affairss result in the kids go forthing one secure patriarchal state of affairs merely to happen themselves meeting another. This would propose that women/children needed to be protected by either a hubby or a male parent to be able to populate safely. Wendy and the other kids have learnt through their make-believe drama that they need the protection of a dominant male figure. In the existent universe this is their male parent Mr Darling, in Neverland it is Peter.

Peter Pan allows the male childs to get away from this restricting power of a patriarchal society, nevertheless it provides Wendy with nil more than the chance to research and move out the expected gendered function that someday will restrict her. Having arrived in Neverland Wendy establishes her ain place and household with herself as the female parent and married woman. This is non because she wants to transport out the occupation and jobs of a female parent, but because she wishes to experience value and importance which her ain society denies her as a small miss. Wendy ‘s desire to experience worth is what finally drives her into the determination to take to go forth her place for Neverland. Peter ‘s effort to carry her to go forth Centre on how valued she would be:

Peter: Wendy, how we should all esteem you. ( Act 1.1, Line 504 )

Wendy leaves place for the opportunity to transport out deadening domestic undertakings so that she can be valued by work forces. Once in Neverland she achieves the domestic value she has hoped for, but merely because she has Peter ‘s aid and authorization helping her phantasy. Wendy has from birth been educated that her function in life must be that of a married woman and female parent. She has no fright of turning up and carry throughing the function that society expects. Peter on the other manus has from birth rebelled against expected functions. When he foremost meets Wendy he explains his being in Neverland:

Peter: I ran off the twenty-four hours I was born.

Wendy: Ran off, why?

Peter: Because I heard father and mother speaking of what I was to be when I became a adult male. I want ever to be a small male child and to hold merriment ; ( Act 1.1, Lines 395-399 )

Peter leaves behind the society that expects him to turn up and go a adult male. He is able to go forth and travel to Neverland and unrecorded free of the duties that society has assigned to his gender. However, with Wendy he takes on the function of male parent of the Lost male child. However, despite his new function and duties he is still able to go on holding escapades contending plagiarists and Indians. The same ground that John and Michael leave the security of the Nursery and wing to Neverland. The text implies that these escapades are merely accessible to boys, and non work forces. So hence Peter can ne’er turn up as he would non be able to go on with his escapades. The island of Neverland is the physical incarnation of kids ‘s dreams and phantasies and Peter is the spirit of the island so when he is off it is sulky, when he returns it is ‘in a agitation ‘ ( Barrie, p.105 )

The dichotomy of Neverland and the existent universe is reflected in the vision of childhood portrayed in the drama. The structured, protected being of the Darling kids is juxtaposed with the carefree, independent lives of the Lost Boys. The kids are finally linked together through the character of Peter Pan. The Darling kids live in a universe of everyday, anticipation and regulations. The gap of the drama sees the rite of the kids ‘s ‘ bedtime. ‘The fathead clock work stoppages six, and Nana springs into life. ‘ ( Barrie, p.88 ) The rite is performed at the same clip every eventide, turning down of the beds, the lighting of the dark visible radiations and the eventide bath. The kids of the Darling household have acquaintance, everyday and security. Their childhood is safe, protected and chiefly unadventurous. This is in contrast to the lives of the Lost Boys. They have no modus operandi, no anticipations and lone regulations of battle. The Lost Boys unrecorded independent lives, they have no grownups stating them to bathe, or travel to bed. Yet they are dependent, merely as Neverland is, on Peter Pan. Peter is the leader of the Lost Boys and is respected by them for his courage and bravery. He is portrayed as their defender, a male parent figure for them. The male childs are afraid when Peter is off from Neverland:

Curly: I do wish he would come back.

Tootles: I am ever afraid of the plagiarists when Peter is non here to protect us. ( Act 2.1, Lines 74-75 )

They hold him in high regard and seek to copy him in a show of regard. The boys shoot down the ‘Wendy bird ‘ because they believe it is what Peter wants. They do non oppugn his orders, this is in contrast to the Darling kids who do oppugn the authorization of their parents. Michael inquiries the bravery of his male parent when Mr Darling declines to take his medical specialty. Mr Darling reverts to childish tactics to debar taking his medical specialty. His character is compared with Peter ‘s as the function of defender, nevertheless, this presentation besides shows that Mr Darling, merely like Peter, has the ability to move out infantile behavior.

Peter is besides linked to the Darling kids through the particular relationship that he has with Wendy. This is displayed unusually within the 2003 movie Peter Pan directed by P.J.Hogan. The stripling relationship between Peter and Wendy is explored and portrayed with a modern audience in head. The character of Wendy is allowed to portray the obvious attractive force that she feels towards Peter which as Peter Hollindale states ‘the original …conceal her obvious attractive force to Peter ‘ ( Hollindale, p.163 ) This word picture would non hold been conveyed to an audience in 1904 but is really much accepted by a modern audience. Children are seen as maturating earlier and Wendy is seen as traveling from a infantile miss playing in the baby’s room to a sexually cognizant stripling. ( Hollindale, p.163 )

The drama of Peter Pan both adopts and challenges the sentimental position of childhood. Barrie is able to portray through Peter both ageless young person and sorrow. When Wendy and the male childs decide to go forth Neverland Peter bars the Nursery window. This is done with a double intent in head. He wants Wendy to believe that her ain female parent has forgotten about her. In believing that her female parent has forgotten about her, merely as Peter ‘s did about him, she will return to Neverland with him and go on being a female parent to him. However, he watches Wendy ‘s female parent who is shouting, ‘A amusing feeling comes over him ‘ ( Act 5.2, Line 70 ) This feeling possibly jealousy or sorrow or a mixture of both. However, this does supply grounds for the sorrow that he feels because he does non hold a female parent. The carefree, playful being that Peter has is challenged by this word picture of a male child yearning for a female parent. Yet when Mrs Darling asks Peter if he wants to be adopted he declines:

Peter: ( passionately ) I do n’t desire to travel to school and larn grave things. No 1 is traveling to catch me, lady, and do me a adult male. I want ever to be a small male child and to hold merriment. ( Act 5.2 Lines 133-135 )

The grownup universe is pitted against the fantasy universe of the kid. The return from Neverland of the Darling kids is a suggestion that they are rejecting the phantasy of ne’er turning up and taking turning up and their parents. The spread between the lower position of kids in an grownup society allowed Peter Pan to be used by grownups as a creative activity for appropriate societal functions for Victorian kids. Adults were non allowed to come in the fantasy land of Neverland and they could non see Peter. The lone grownups found in Neverland are plagiarists, who were regarded as encroachers in a infinite reserved for childhood. Consequently this reaffirms the mentality grownups have sing childhood in that kids are assumed to be kept in a status of artlessness for every bit long a clip as possible to be protected from turning up.

Peter Pan combines two genres of late nineteenth century kids ‘s literature, the domestic domain and the escapade novel. It allows male childs to get away and populate through the escapades of Peter and the Lost Boys, whilst besides showing the kingdom of the domestic domain which was by and large assigned to misss. Peter Pan allows grownups to live over their childhood phantasies and besides allows kids to believe that they can hold the aging procedure. It allows for a double position, to get away or to accept the inevitable. Peter Pan has scenes that allow for childhood nostalgia, but it besides has scenes which imply that childhood is a tense and seeking clip. The development of the drama over clip has allowed for different interventions of the text. Peter Pan is a dumb show, a concert dance, an opera, an alive movie, a drama, a telecasting series, legion movies and a novel. As Peter Hollindale remarks ‘they differ radically between one society and another, and in the same society across clip. ‘ ( Hollindale, p.161 ) Peter Pan has an digesting quality that has allowed it to last and stay popular for over 100 old ages. It has the ability to capture the spirit of childhood and demo it in a physical signifier. This has allowed it to stay a steadfast front-runner with both grownup and kid audiences, picturing childhood as both unworried and troubled. The thaumaturgy of Peter Pan will merely stop when kids and grownups stop believing in faeries.

Word Count 2004

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