August 12, 2021

#08-121: Peter Pan

engraving of a boy in animal skins sitting on a mound and playing a flute; animals surround him and behind him are pirates, a ship, a mountain, birds, and more
Peter plays the pipes in Neverland.

Note: Peter Pan, the boy who won't grow up, comes to the Darling's house and whisks away Wendy and her brothers to Never Land.

Get Ready: Peter Pan's author put pirates and "red Indians" in Never Land. If you were writing the book today, what sorts of people (or animals, or robots, etc.) would you put there?

Like Lewis Carroll's "Alice," Peter Pan was "born" when his creator, the Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie, told stories to the children of his friends, one of whom was named--that's right--Peter.

Before it was a novel (properly titled Peter and Wendy), Peter Pan was a play. The story went through several permutations, and has been further modified in the film and stage versions since, but the basic plot is this:

Wendy Darling and her brothers Michael and John are in the nursery of their house, listening as their mother tells them stories at bedtime. Unbeknownst to them, there is another listener: a boy who never grew up is lurking outside their window.

He had lost his shadow on a previous visit, and has returned to retrieve it. This time he is caught for real, and he tells them his story: He is Peter Pan, captain of the Lost Boys, with whom he lives in Never Land. These boys fell out of their prams in Kensington Park and, since they were not claimed after one week, were sent to Never Land.

Peter invites Wendy to return with him to tell stories to the Boys, as her mother did for her and her brothers. She agrees, and she and her brothers fly away with Peter.

On the island, she encounters villainous pirates, led by Peter's nemesis Captain Hook (so called because Peter cut off his hand, and it was replaced with... a hook!). A crocodile swallowed the captain's hand, and also swallowed a clock, so he goes around ticking. There's a tribe of Indians led by a girl named Tiger Lily. And of course, Tinker Bell is Peter's fairy (and she is jealous of Peter's attention to Wendy).

With the Lost Boys, the Darling children have many adventures, until Wendy decides it's time to go home. Just then, however, the pirates capture the Darlings! The Boys walk the plank, and Wendy is tied to the mast of the pirate's ship, the "Jolly Roger," when Peter swoops in. He frees the Boys, and in a great battle they kill all the pirates, including Hook. Peter also frees Wendy and sails the Darlings home to their comfortable life in London.

Mrs. Darling adopts all of the Lost Boys, all except one: Peter lives on in Never Land, never growing up.


Read more:

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. adopts
  2. lurking
  3. mast
  4. nemesis
  5. permutations
  6. plank
  7. prams
  8. retrieve
  9. unbeknownst
  10. villainous

  1. evil; like a "bad guy"
  2. the large pole that holds a ship's sails
  3. without someone's knowledge
  4. takes as one's own children
  5. a sworn enemy
  6. changes; alterations
  7. baby carriages
  8. waiting somewhere secretly
  9. a large board, here one that sticks out over the side of a ship
  10. take back

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for August 12, 2021

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. d; 2. h; 3. b; 4. e; 5. f; 6. i; 7. g; 8. j; 9. c; 10. a