Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Why I Love Peter Pan


Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," merry faeries and chocolate covered cherries, and mistletoe with waxy berries!

Please don't mind me. I rhyme to please the fae.

Hecate has a post up about Peter Pan. Who exactly is Peter Pan? Do we understand him?

It would be easy to dismiss Peter Pan as a figment of J.M. Barrie's imagination, a hero who appeals to kids because they're kids and to adults who remember childhood with nostalgia. It's equally simple to scorn Peter Pan because he's so blythe, so inconsiderate of the females who swoon over him, so wrapped up in being the leader of a gang of boys who refuse to accept adult responsibility.

There's a forgotten component to all of this. Peter Pan is immortal.

Peter Pan refuses to grow up. He is therefore unlikely to die of age-related issues. He lives in the suggestively-titled Neverland. Never gonna die. Nope, not me.

It's a tragic fact that many youngsters have horrible childhoods, marked by terror and abuse, by over-work or neglect. But in an ideal situation, where they are loved, human children enjoy a period of ecstatic happiness in their early years. They play with their peers, they snuggle under the covers with beloved toys, they run to Mom when something goes wrong ... and she fixes it. Dad takes them sledding, and to the ballpark to see the Orioles, or to the marsh to see the herons. They've got dogs and cats who love them and grandparents who spoil them.

If you consider that immortality will contain vestiges of the human to it, and not consist of some amorphous otherworldy positive energy, how would you like to live forever? Is it a coincidence that so many depictions of angels and faeries are of children?

To me, Peter Pan is not a bad little boy who's mean to girls and just likes to fight and take charge. He's immortality idealized. As a kid I loved Peter Pan, even went through a phase where I wouldn't answer to any other name. It never occurred to me that I couldn't be Peter Pan because he was a boy. I didn't even think of him as a boy. I just thought of him as a kid.

Now I know, of course, that Peter Pan exists in the ethereal world, that many cultures have met him and befriended him, and that he's ancient as the universe but still playing, playing like a happy child, mothered by Goddesses when necessary. Always his band of Lost Boys grows larger, because you see, they aren't lost at all. They're saved.

Our operators are standing by to take your call.

7 comments:

Erik said...

I never thought much about Peter Pan when I was a kid, but I've recently been exploring Neverland pretty thoroughly with my daughter, and have fallen in love with the whole story. Have you read the new "origin" trilogy that Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry wrote? Great stuff!

yellowdog granny said...

when i was a little kid i was soo jealous of peter pan..a boy doing all the cool things and the girl was a tag along..so i made up my own story and played jackie pan..i did every thing that peter did..but it was a band of girls not boys...and we kicked ass...when i got older my daddy said i should write a book called jackie pan for all the tom girls out there..ha

yellowdog granny said...

ps...i got my package today..i have on my union tshirt as i type this...i love the purple...ha..and ate 2 of the candy canes.. no more...or i'll croak..ha..thanks so much...i loved the card...showed it to babs when she came over to get her punkin pie and she cracked up...

Anonymous said...

Billy, you're hopeless in more than one sense. And I mean that in a nice way. Rodger Cunningham

Maebius said...

Seems Neverland is quite the topic lately around the blogs I read.
Here's a rather interesting post from another blog (I'm unaffiliated with).
http://mythology.ourgardenpath.com/2008/12/09/the-hand-devouring-time-sensitive-crocodile/

I personally think the whole story of Peter Pan the story of Wendy. Though she appears to be a supporting character, I draw draw from it the archetype of Wendy growing up, restructuring (and "rescuing" in her life a paternal role-model, and with Peter being more a Trickster-Figure allowing her to see past the Wickedness of Hook and growing up to respect authority while at the same time fondly embracing the innocence of youth. Of course that's only a summary of what could be a lengthy post of it's own from me. :)

Anonymous said...

original Peter Pan= SINISTER
I mean this. Nearish Quote: "when they seemed to be growing up, which was against the rules, Peter thinned them out."
Yes, that is just as creepy as it sounds.
for another take on Peter Pan, read THE CHILD THIEF by Brom. Delightfully creepy and faerie-ized.

Maddie said...

Hey! I love peter pan too! I'm only 15 and i've always loved stories like peter pan and alice in wonderland. I'm actually related to James on my mother's side! It's been a family name for a long time except my brother was named something different haha! we have some paintings of peter pan scenes. i don't think they were by barrie himself but they are from around the time he wrote the book! (so he could have seen them or saved them?)