Essay on The Life and Writings of James Matthew Barrie

Essay on The Life and Writings of James Matthew Barrie

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James Matthew Barrie’s strong themes combined with deep symbolism and irony mesh together in his works and give them a sense of whimsical magic and emotion that allowed Barrie to express the childhood he missed out on and essentially wanted. Some of Barrie’s most prominent works are very well-known today. Barrie was born on May 9, 1860, in Kirriemuir, Scotland. His mother and father, David Barrie and Margaret Ogilvy, had ten children. Only seven of their children were surviving, and James was the youngest son. (Billone ix)
When Barrie was just seven years old, his brother David died in a skating accident. David was his mother’s favorite child. The death of David grieved his mother deeply, which led James to decide to try to take the place of his brother. Although he tried, his attempts were never successful. Barrie missed out on his own childhood because he tried to live his brother’s. (Dunbar 10-14)
Barrie had simple beginnings, but he was well-educated. He attended the prestigious Dumfries Academy for five years. In 1882, he went to Edinburgh University and got a master of arts degree in English literature. Barrie began work for the Nottingham Journal in 1883 and then went on to work as a freelance journalist in 1885. Barrie’s first published work, Better Dead, was published in 1887. (Billone ix-x) This began his literary career.
Barrie married Mary Ansell, an actress, in 1894. A few years later, Barrie met Sylvia Llewellyn Davies and her family (Billone xi) and formed an attachment to her. Davies’ boys are what later will become the inspiration for Peter Pan. In 1909, Barrie was divorced from his wife. Then, in 1910, Davies died of cancer. Earlier, in 1907, Barrie began taking care of Davies and her children financially ...


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Detroit: Gale Research, 1989. Literature Resource Center. Web. 29 Mar. 2011.
Hunter, Lynette. "J. M. Barrie's Islands of Fantasy." Modern Drama 23.1 (Mar. 1980):
65-74. Rpt. in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Ed. Thomas J. Schoenberg
and Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol. 164. Detroit: Gale, 2005. Literature Resource
Center. Web. 29 Mar. 2011.
Billone, Amy. Introduction and Notes; Peter Pan. New York: Barnes and Noble Books,
2007. Print.
Barrie, J.M. Peter Pan. Barnes and Noble Books. New York: Barnes and Noble Books,
2007. Print.
Dunbar, Janet. J.M. Barrie; the man behind the image. Boston: Houghton Mifflin
Company, 1970. Print.
Barrie, J. M. Dear Brutus; a comedy in three acts. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons,
1922. Web.
Barrie, J.M. Margaret Ogilvy. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1896. Web.

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