Emotional Issues In Peter Pan

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In the children’s novel Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, a difficult past of the main character Peter, helped shaped the navigator of Neverland to become the face of youth in more than just a book, but in life. However, this fame came with the realization that Peter has problems that stem from his past that truly make him the eternal boy. Through this, many have related his actions to problems of children today that concern how one copes without having love. Like some children, Peter spent most of his entire life without maternal love, which was broken after seeing his mother with another child while looking through a window. This day changed everything for the boy, and raises the eyebrows of many psychologists. Peter, similar to stars, which “are…show more content…
Many of these issues are associated with Sigmund Freud’s analysis of the psyche; the ego, superego, and Id. According to Boulton, “the child’s inner world is an odd jumble of pleasurable, primitive instincts, on the one hand (what Freud calls the id) and symbols of authority and conformity on the other (calling to mind the superego)” (Boulton 308). Even Barrie describes the “map of a child’s mind” consists of “zigzag lines” that is “rather confusing, especially as nothing will stand still.” (Barrie 11) This “rather confusing” detail of a child’s inner workings are due to their youth and underdeveloped superego. However, especially in Peter’s case, his id is the dominant force throughout his life, focusing on “pleasure” for himself rather than “conformity”. Because he is so focused on this “pleasure” he cannot understand authority or the appeal of growing up. “Barrie,” according to Michael Egan in The Neverland of Id: Barrie, Peter Pan, and Freud, “unconsciously created a vast, symbolic metaphor—the Neverland—of the child 's id” (Egan 37) that shows just how connected Peter, Neverland and “pleasurable, primitive instincts” (Boulton 308) really are. The intertwining of these three create the young and cocky boy children read about across the world. Egan goes onto say that “Peter Pan successfully works through some…show more content…
He, according to Amy Billone, “participat[es] in a dreamworld that is at once the product of his greatest joys and his most awful fears” (Billone 190-191). This balance between his “greatest joys and his most awful fears” make it seem almost applicable to any child that they might be able to do the same. Children get easily caught up in the fantasy world and having a child represent all of it at once is in great demand. Throughout the entire novel, Peter’s flaws shine through and become an appeal to the lost boys and Wendy, but only for a while. This is due to the fact that “all children, except one, grow up (Barrie 1) and even though the appeal to join Peter in youth that lasts forever is tempting, maturation will always bring them to back. Peter represents the ultimate “dreamchild[]” (Billone 180) who will never grow up due to not being threatened by the truth that is age. His “stor[y] fit[s] within ‘a realm of literature which stares unblinkingly at the truth, which strides over flaws and inconsistencies, over the intellectual and social forces of our time, straight into the collective mind of its audience’” (Billone 181). This “truth” revolves around the fact everyone has to grow up, and Peter Pan is so appealing because it “confront[s] the distressing evaporation of innocence brought about by temporality itself” (Billone 181).
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