As we look back on our youth, we all share in that one moment - the moment that we
have witnessed. That one character we are completely enthralled with. The one we want to dress up like for Halloween. The one we emulate and mimic in play. The one we would do almost anything to be if only for a moment. We know the moment we fall in love with a whole magical world of fantastical imaginary tales which keep us entranced, often for a lifetime.
While Peter Pan is a beautiful and joyful fairy tale full of adventure, mischief, and fun, we also witness him as a boy in Neverland, playing with his friends and sparring with his arch nemesis, the sinister Captain Hook. We can identify with this character as we cheer for his success and marvel at his ability to meet the challenges held within the magical world of Neverland. But what makes this character so lifelike, so identifiable, is we get to see him as a grown up in the movie, Hook. It is in Hook that we witness Peter Pan’s journey through reality, only hinted at in the original Peter Pan when he goes to London to find his shadow and the Darling children. And, it is here again, where we follow Peter Pan to the end of reality and back into the fantastical realm of Neverland, in a heroic journey of self discovery to save the Darling children.
Good writing endures through the ages. We more fully understand this when we come to realize and understand that we enjoy the same fairy tales that our parents, and maybe grandparents, enjoyed. It creates a bridge through the generations brining us closer, not only to our authentic selves, but to the ones that came before us. Upon this realization we can marvel at the intricacies the author created through characters and adventures which we, as readers, young or old, can identify with.
However, while we typically identify strongly with a single character in any given book or fairytale, this would not be possible without the interaction and support of the other characters. Could it be possible that we identify in some small way with each of the characters of a book or fairy tale?
Come with me on a different type of adventure. Let us explore the personal identification each of us hold for the characters in the fairy tale Peter Pan. Let us venture into our own psyches as we look at the adventures, characteristics, and psychology behind the characters that shape and influence us and each other.
Next week on to Neverland.
Credits - Photos: Johannes Planio; Steve Bidmead; Dorota Kudyba; Logga Wiggler