A few weeks ago, I decided to start edumacatin’ myself and read a few classics. I’m about to start The Count of Monte Cristo, which I am ridiculously excited about since the movie was pretty darn fantastic. (Don’t hate me. I typically read the book before I watch the movie, because when I don’t, I consider it cheating. This is one instance where I cheated. Sue me.)
Anyway, I finished reading Peter Pan by James Matthew Barrie a few days ago. It was an interesting read, meaning I flip-flopped from absolutely hating it to absolutely loving it quite a bit during the course of the story.
I started out, and I liked it a lot. Mr. and Mrs. Darling are very charming characters, and the language that the author uses is very interesting and sweet. I liked the humor surrounding the family’s nurse/dog, Nana. It was just very cute.
As I was introduced to the children, Wendy, John, and Michael, I started to get a bit irritated, honestly. Peter Pan comes along, whisks them away, and they just chill out in Neverland for a few months.
I found that I didn’t appreciate how selfish the children were in leaving their parents for so long. It gets to the point where John and Michael can’t even remember they have any parents, so Wendy has to quiz them every day, asking them questions like, “What did mother’s party dress look like?” or “What was the color of father’s eyes?”
Anyway, who cares about their real parents when Wendy makes a perfectly fine mother?
I also found myself getting incredibly irritated with the author around this time because of his silly narrations. It was kind of like:
The original version of the story, I found, was much darker than the cheery, children’s cartoon that we are all so familiar with. Which, I suppose, isn’t a horrible thing, but it just caught me off guard. All the death and killing was just a bit of a shock when I grew up under the impression that no one died in Neverland.
Captain Hook isn’t the bumbling idiot I’m familiar with, either. He’s an evil, sinister, mysterious man who kills members of his crew for petty reasons. Although, I must add that I am delighted by the same horrified reaction the readers get when the ticking of the crocodile is heard.
Sometimes, I just disliked it because it wasn’t what I expected, which isn’t a fair judgement. Sometimes, it was shocking, like the fact that Tinker Bell had a bit of a foul mouth, and she was much meaner than I remember her (although I was never particularly fond of her character, anyway).
I must say, however, that as much respect for the book I lost during the plot, it may have been gained back toward the end. It was a sweet ending that makes the reader smile through their tears.
It’s a very powerful last chapter, all about growing up… and not growing up. And I think, “Man, wouldn’t it be nice if I could just never grow up?”
I’m 17, so I suppose it’s a bit late for me to “not grow up”. However, I’m getting closer to the point where I have to start making decisions. I’m trying to get myself a job. My life is coming at me so fast and seems to be flying right by, and I just want it all to slooooooooow doooooooooown.
Growing up is scary. It’s the unknown. You’re not quite sure what’s going to happen, or who you’ll turn out to be. And Peter, poor Peter is just so scared of growing up. He is completely fearless in the face of all dangers, but when faced with the prospect of growing up, he runs the other way screaming.
But then some days, I think that growing up sounds exciting. Like an adventure. A journey. And I pity Peter Pan. In all his seeking of adventure, he has and maybe never will know or understand the joys and experiences of growing up.
And you know, most days, I really do look forward to that adventure.