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Symbolism or Theme of the Story of Peter Pan - Research Paper Example

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Date Symbolism or Theme of the Story Peter Pan The story Peter Pan written by J.M. Barrie is one of the most famously read children’s books of all times. It has been reported to have been successfully shown as a play and have been shown in different variations of films portrayed by different actors…
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Symbolism or Theme of the Story of Peter Pan

Download file to see previous pages... The essay hereby aims to discuss the various symbolisms used in the story: ranging from the shadow, the manifestation of illusion, the kiss, acorn, crocodile, ticking clock and childhood. There are diverse forms of symbolism in the story. There is initially the shadow – the cause of Peter Pan’s sadness in trying to catch it and to have it reunited to himself. The shadow has been known to symbolize mystery and it cannot be seen without a form of illumination. It could also be interpreted as an alter ego: something integral to oneself that could exemplify characteristics and traits that parallel exactly one’s identity; but when viewed more closely, from an illumined wall or blank space, it could reflect an exact opposite of oneself. For Peter Pan, the shadow could symbolize escaping from fantasy into reality: from a magical world at Neverland, to the real world where children grow old. As such, Peter Pan’s sadness of losing it and trying to catch it manifests his desire to remain eternally young and to live forever in a land of adventure and magic. By Wendy’s being able to catch it and tie it to Peter Pan by sewing the shadow to him, Wendy established a strong bond of attachment which assisted in regaining Peter Pan’s embodiment of freedom, youth, vitality, and carefreeness. Another symbolism was Peter Pan’s indication that he should not be touched. It indicates that Peter Pan was elusive and seems like just an illusion to many. As emphasized by Bjornsdottir, “not being able to touch him is a confirmation that he is an idea or concept and does not really exist” (12). This symbolism was also stressed in the message that indicates adults could not see him, as cited: “In his author’s comments he writes: “You can’t see Peter if you are old. They think he is a draught at the corner” (5.2 151). The comment refers to the people in the street who are too old to see Peter as he hovers above it at Wendy’s window” (Bjornsdottir 14). The symbol of illusion persisted throughout the story as indicative of Peter Pan’s supposed magical persona which the author could have intended to remain the ultimate mystery in the main character’s identity: fleeting, elusive, dreamlike. Furthermore, there is symbolism in the kiss that was supposedly given to Wendy. According to Linwood, “the kiss represents not only Wendy's affection for Peter and her maturity beyond his, but also her compassion towards Peter in his moment of weakness. In exchange, Peter gives her an acorn” (par. 4). The acorn again is another symbol for strength and a token of appreciation for Wendy’s assisting him in catching his shadow. As a result, it was instrumental in saving Wendy’s life when it was disclosed that “the acorn on the chain around her neck, stops the arrow which Tootles fired at her on Tinkerbell’s command” (Linwood par. 5). Through the kiss which symbolized their affection for each other, it was revealed in further stories about Wendy when she eventually became old that despite aging, she could still apparently see him as he tries to visit Wendy’s grandchildren. In another scene, there is also symbolism in the crocodile that apparently ate Hook’s arm when Peter Pan supposedly cut it off in one of their previous encounters. The crocodile symbolizes death. It was reported to be following Hook ever since his arm was eaten by this ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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