Peter Pan – an odd choice, don’t you think? In today’s cosmopolitan, anti-social, factual, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, modern, obtuse hybrid of co-existences, who has time left for the silly boy that never grew up? Its simple, all of us. Each of us chooses to grow up, or do we? I rather like to believe that the state of affairs is forced upon us. Being a child, means acceptance, vulnerability, fantasy and magic. Above all it means faith, true faith doesn’t limit itself to “what we believe in”, it is simply that we “believe”, in fairies, in pixie dust and in Never-Never lands.
J.M Barrie has often been hailed as the ultimate visionary, simply because he set aside all of life’s truth in a book meant for children. A book that operates on metaphors, which in turn stimulate every human emotion from loneliness, hope, faith, laughter, tears and envy. This book is a hallmark not because it IS childish, but because it embraces childhood, at every turn and at every age.
“Will they send me to school? Then I shall have to be a man. You can’t catch me and make me a man. I want only to be a boy and always have fun”
Ironic isn’t it, how every one of us resents responsibility, simply because it comes at the price of innocence.
Barrie’s genius lies in the fact that he has left no stone unturned, no human emotion diminished. He talks about Pirates- the glamour, the fear and the adventure. Mermaids and Indians, Fairies and faith, mothers, fathers and of course, about growing up. The beauty is that Barrie is actually Pan, a little boy who resents growing up; an old man of fifty-six, writing from the body of an ageless Ifrit. That is the actual point, to be ageless, to grow up but never grow old.
“ You see Wendy, when the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke in to a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about and that was the beginning of fairies. And so there ought to be one fairy for every boy and girl.” said Peter.
“Ought to be? Isn’t there?” Wendy replied.
“No, you see children know such a lot now, they soon don’t believe in fairies and every time a child says “I don’t believe in fairies” a fairy somewhere falls down dead”.
This book is made all the more profound and life altering because it was meant for children. It is not trivial instead it is deep. Barrie often claimed that children were much wiser than adults, they didn’t have the time to make as many mistakes. Most importantly, this book is the epitome of romance. Peter and Wendy, the ever-playful bad boy who needs saving and “taming” but refuses to want it and the forever lost soul trying to find the man to save and protect, to love and nurture. Who can’t relate? However Barrie has been daring, he broke convention; there is no happy ending. Wendy does grow up and Peter doesn’t. Simply put, the author has been honest, this is the way of the world. A fantastical tale told with more honesty than most historians can manage. The truth ladies and gentlemen is that men always remain in their worlds and we women always try to find our way in. Barrie’s gift is that there is a solution- accept reality but don’t let it live you. Don’t fight, live instead. Make magic, create it, believe it and never judge it.
“I am old Peter. I am ever so much more than twenty. I grew up a long time ago.”
“You promised not to!”
“I couldn’t help it” Wendy cried
The fact is that we all have our Never- Never lands, our Utopia’s and our retreats, Peter Pan simply preferred his to reality. What Barrie says is to change your reality, so you don’t require a retreat. It is not impossible and so for all you skeptics of today- believe in magic, read Harry Potter, act out King Arthur, slay dragons and paint with magic crayons. Change your worlds, frame your destinies and believe, create.
“All you need is some faith, some tr