P.P. Chapters 4-6: On a Roll

20 Apr

Well then.

It would be too easy to just sit here and name all the difference between the book and the Disney adaptation – the book is way more dark. Instead, I’m going to go with the Reader Response perspective and discuss those elements which I liked the most/found the most interesting in Barrie’s story.

What strikes me the most is Peter’s characterization. He is more of a lost soul than any of the other kids; he has no clue of what to do. For example, when Wendy and the boys inquire how to reach Neverland, Peter replies with the familiar “second star to the right, then straight on ’til morning.” But we learn that it doesn’t actually mean anything. It’s the first phrase that pops into his head; the Darling children are completely at the mercy of Peter’s ineptitude. Later, while they’re flying, they fall asleep and begin to plummet back to the earth. Peter must be their savior, but Wendy admits to the reader that she was scared there would finally be a time when Peter became bored with the idea of saving whichever of them was falling and just let them die.

Peter has not grown out of the self-serving, immature frame of mind that most toddlers can be described as having. Again, we see that he only brought John and Michael along since that was the only way to convince Wendy to visit the Lost Boys and become their mother (see: the building of the house around Wendy). Within those same pages, we get the anecdote about Peter “rapping the boys on their knuckles” any time they stop playing make-believe well before Peter gives up the idea of it. It was also kind of scary (from the point of a responsible adult) to see how Peter dealt with Wendy and her injury. Playing make-believe doctor is not going to heal a serious wound. (Obviously the wound can’t be that serious if Wendy is able to move about and talk later on, but still…) This feels more like avoidance behavior than anything else. Peter is desperately trying to hold on to his childhood, even if his friends are put into physical peril because of it.

And really quickly, because I couldn’t resist…Smee is much more of a badass in the book than in the movie. I mean, I can see him as a viable threat rather than the bumbling comic relief.

Lauren, your opinions?

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