• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explore the theme of escapism in Peter Pan

Extracts from this document...


Explore the theme of escapism in Peter Pan. The theme of escapism is prominent in much children's literature. Frances Hodgson-Burnett's The Secret Garden is, like Peter Pan, an example of Edwardian children's literature. Both these novels are tales of escapism from real life into another world. There are also more recent examples of escapism in children's literature. In the 1950s C.S. Lewis invented Narnia, and in even more recent literature, Harry Potter escapes his everyday life to go to school at Hogwarts. J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, an early Edwardian novel, is one of the great classics of British children's literature and is, on the surface, a tale about a boy who refused to grow up. There is however, an underlying plot concerning a girl who must grow up. It is from this obligation that Barrie's Neverland acts as a form of escape. Throughout Peter Pan, there is little focus on the female characters. It is almost assumed that Wendy will grow up and become a Mother, as all daughters do. Although Neverland allows Wendy to escape from her home and from the domestic world she knows, she does not escape domesticity altogether. ...read more.


Carpenter in fact goes further than this by asserting that children must not grow up and claims that to visit Neverland "requires an act of belief that children cannot sustain as they grow up" (Carpenter p180). Peter himself seems to be of the opinion that it is only children, who can escape the drudgery of everyday life and claims, "I want always to be a little boy, and to have fun". Barrie's adventure story and his creation of such a magical hero seems to have achieved what so much children's literature had previously tried to do. Peter represents the shift from the Victorian perception of the child as a "moral icon" to "a craze for the child as a fun-loving playboy hero" (Wallshl�ger p111). Peter has no memory or emotion, and so "can live only for the moment" and experiences ecstasies that other children can never know (Wallshl�ger p117). Peter is an asexual child rather than a young man. Barrie himself was also somewhat sexless, and it is doubtful whether his marriage was ever consummated. This lack of sexuality and romantic relationship is represented well on stage as Peter is often played by an actress, and is therefore viewed as an androgynous figure. ...read more.


It is Barrie's unique "mix of ingredients" that has made Peter Pan such a well-loved story for so many years. It is, on one hand, a typical adventure story "laced with dreams of military glory", and on the other, a fantasy tale (Wallshl�ger p129). The play was a success from the very first performance in 1904 when the audience response was wildly enthusiastic. The creation of such vivid and memorable characters as Hook and the ticking crocodile has ensured Barrie's firm command of his reader's reactions and enabled him to take them to his secondary world, Neverland. This is, to the Darling children and others who read the story, both an enchanted other world and a dream reality which acts as an escape from their real lives. Peter Pan, while becoming the dream figure of an age that declined to grow up, also represents the beautiful, heavenly Victorian child as well as the fun loving boyish hero of Edwardian society. It Barrie's particular combination of fantasy and reality that has formed such a wonderful escape world for so many children and is ultimately "not just an imaginative creation by one man, but a public phenomenon" (Carpenter p170). ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Developmental Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Developmental Psychology essays

  1. PETER PAN As the wind whistles round the buildings that tower the small streets ...

    They each had their favourites. Wendy, the eldest, and only girl, loved stories with princesses and mermaids. But John, the middle child, loved Indians and found them fascinating. Michael, the youngest by a few years, loved pirates. He loved sword fighting and Wendy and John had taught him well during their pirate sessions held in the nursery.

  2. I have decided to do my portfolio on Beaufort Park School, for several reasons. ...

    The school will work in the following way, if it needs to relate to the work of another organisation: For example, if a teacher noticed that a child had quite severe learning difficulties, then she/he would watch this for a small amount of time, and if no progress had been made, the teacher would make an appointment for the parents.

  1. Pathos in Christ Stopped at Eboli

    Another example of when pathos is exposed is near the end of the novel. Levi discusses the Rainbow Sickness.

  2. Alice in Wonderland

    flame of a candle looks like after the candle is blown out..." Still, why would a rigorous logical thinker like Dodgson, a disciple of mathematics, wish children to wander in an unpredictable land of the absurd?

  1. Children's Literature

    Blue and grey is used as the water coloured background of each individual page. The characters in Grandad's Magic keep the same coloured clothing throughout the book. All the furniture and layout of each page is kept in sequence. Children's Literature Journals How Big Is A Pig?

  2. The Passion of Christ

    It was Auld that infected our kind Sophia with the ideals of slavery and it is also the male who is tempted to adultery and rape, fathering children with their female slaves. Douglass describes that through slavery, it has become natural for "a man to sell his own children to

  1. I have a dream.

    Why should you put up with it? Don't let them get away with it. And never feel like it is your own fault. Or maybe you are a bully? Are you? Ask yourself, have you ever picked on anyone for no reason at all. Maybe because they aren't wearing the latest designer gear, or that they look

  2. Original writing - The secret silence.

    Were they sick of her already? The fact that she found herself with so few people left to talk to wasn't what bothered her. It was the fact that she was entirely oblivious to the cause of all of this landfill that made her question herself over and over again.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work