This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Saturday Rave: Peter Pan by JM Barrie

Some people hate JM Barrie's book Peter Pan (and I must admit it does rather horrify me) but no one, I imagine, thinks it dull.

Because, say what you like, Peter Pan is full of brilliant and original ideas. I mean, surely the ticking crocodile alone is enough to keep the story alive forever.

Peter Pan is also responsible for making the public aware of the name Wendy (some even say that Barrie made up the name himself, based on a young acquaintance's mispronunciation of "Friendy". Ouch!).

File:Peter Pan 1915 cover.jpg

Barrie's original 1904 stage play of Peter Pan was followed in 1911 by a version re-telling the story as a novel. In 1929, after what was probably a highly profitable delay, Barrie gave the copyright of the novel to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

There's no avoiding the fact that Peter Pan is a very strange book indeed. The hero is as psychopathic a character as I've come across in fiction, and although the book is far from loveless - three of the four main female characters are shown as intensely nurturing - the love that's portrayed does generally seem to be uncomfortably close to smothering tyranny and selfishness.

On the whole hatred comes across as a much more comprehensible and successful way of surviving than love.

So it's not an easy ride, is Peter Pan.

But it is an awfully big adventure.

Phrase To Use Today: Wendy House. The name Wendy was occasionally used before Peter Pan as a short form of Gwendolen. Gwen is Welsh and means white, fair, or blessed.

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