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Peter Pan’s Relation to author J.M Barrie”Time is chasing after all of us.” J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan; a quote that came from near and dear to James Matthew Barrie’s heart. His original story named Peter Pan has been told and retold over the years from London to the rest of the world and the magic of the story remains alive. Peter Pan, the character; is popularly known today as the mischievous boy from Neverland, who can fly and refuses to grow up. Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood going on adventures in Neverland, fighting pirates and leading a group of boys called the Lost Boys. As his quote implies, passing time and aging is inevitable and part of the human condition, because of this it is easy for many fans of the story to be intrigued and wish life was as easy and magical as the writer J.M Barrie portrays in his Peter Pan stories. In the novel Peter and Wendy, J.M Barrie is inspired by  his life experiences; both joyous and traumatic, to write about the boy who never wanted to grow up.The play Peter Pan also known as The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, premiered on December 27, 1904 in London, England. Barrie would later adapt and expand the play’s storyline as a novel named Peter and Wendy. He published  this novel in 1911. The story was produced at the Duke of York’s Theatre on December 27, 1904. It slowly gained popularity in the immediate area but soon became a favorite of many outsiders and the success of the play began to spread. The play was successful enough to run for 145 performances. With all this rapid success it isn’t hard to believe that the reason the story was so relatable to others was because of the author’s personal connection to the story.James Matthew Barrie, better known as J.M Barrie, was born on May 9, 1860 in Kirriemuir, Scotland. Despite his great literary success, J.M Barrie had a humble beginning! His father, David Barrie was a poor weaver, and his mother Margaret Ogilvy Barrie was a stay at home mother. Barrie was one of seven children. During his childhood, Barrie faced a traumatic experience with the premature death of his brother, David Ogilvy Barrie. David died of inflammation of the brain a week after fracturing skull after a skating accident. Barrie’s mother was greatly affected by this because it is believed that David was her favorite. When he died she took solace in the fact that he would always remain young. His mother’s thought that provided consolation would provide Barrie his inspiration.  It is believed that Barrie began to appreciate the innocence of childhood after this event.. To gain attention from his distraught mother Barrie tried desperately to emulate his deceased brother.  When all else failed Barrie tried to escape his past through education. Barrie graduated from Edinburgh University and got his Master of Arts in 1882. After he graduated he started working on the writing staff of the Nottingham Journal in 1883. After a year at the Nottingham Journal, he moved to London to pursue his interest in becoming a playwright. Barrie successfully published his first novel Better Dead, in 1887. Barrie soon had popular novels set in Scotland. After writing novels, Barrie went on to write plays. He married an actress named Mary Ansell in 1894, they were married for 15 years before getting divorced in 1909. They had no children giving  Barrie the liberty to immerse himself into his work. J.M Barrie had a very unique way with words and it was evident in his writing style. Although his early novels were intended for adults they could be plainly be understood by all. His unmistakable writing style was found in all his work such as Peter Pan, A Kiss for Cinderella, Echoes of War, Dear Brutus and much more. There are several interesting writing techniques Barrie uses in the play Peter Pan and the novel Peter and Wendy. Despite his many writing techniques, Barrie was most recognized for his use of third-person narration. This form of writing gives the audience confidence in knowing the plot and addresses the reader directly. Many writers today look to Barrie’s writing style for inspiration. This unique writing style also lead Barrie’s Peter Pan to be loved by adults and children alike. Although Barrie was originally inspired by the idea of staying forever young due to his brother’s traumatic death, Barrie’s writing was also inspired by a joyous life experience. J.M Barrie found his inspiration for his most known literary work Peter Pan in his friendship with the young boys of the Llewelyn Davies family. Although the main character’s name is Peter Pan, the character was not written solely on the child Peter Llewelyn Davies. The main character Peter Pan was heavily influenced by all of the boys. In 1928, his preface of the play read: “I suppose I always knew that I made Peter by rubbing the five of you violently together….That is all he is, the spark I got from you.” (Barrie, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up). According to  J.M Barrie befriended the family after bumping into the children with their nanny in the Kensington Gardens in London, England.. If Barrie hadn’t met the young boys in the Garden, the world wouldn’t have the timeless tale that is greatly loved today. Barrie would later become the guardian of the boys’ after the death of their parents.In addition to the author gaining inspiration from the boys for the character we all know and love, Peter Pan has more connections to Barrie other than just  the main character. The play shows Peter’s relationship with a young girl, Wendy. Barrie’s novel begins with the famous sentence, “All children,except one, must grow up”, Peter goes and retrieves Wendy to be their new mother. Their adventures reveal much about the nature of childhood and Barrie’s thoughts on the bittersweet necessity of growing up. Peter and his gang wanted Wendy to become their mother and face motherly duties.She both keeps him grounded in reality and gives him his rather extraordinary qualities. It is believed that Wendy is inspired by Barrie’s depiction of what a mother should be.The character Wendy is loving and fun but cautious and reserved, she is aware of the consequences of things and is more mature than Peter and his gang. The character is the complete opposite of Barrie’s mother who was distraught and negligent. J.M Barrie’s desire for more attention from his mother is evident in his writing and creation of the character, Wendy. It is believed by many critics and supporters alike that Peter’s need for a mother figure in the play relates to Barrie’s own mother and how she seemed absent  during his childhood. Other characters hinted traces of Barrie’s own attributes and childhood, these characters include the Lost Boys, Tinkerbell and much more. As stated before the Llewelyn Davies boys lost their parents. They lost their father in 1907, and their mother developed cancer soon afterward. In her will, Sylvia, their mother, named Barrie as one of four guardians of which she wanted to care for her sons. According to after Sylvia’s death in the 1910’s, Barrie copied her handwritten will and sent it to Sylvia’s mother. His version of the original letter, in summary, gave Barrie custody of the boy’s. Following these instructions, Barrie took primary responsibility for the children. It’s impossible to know whether Barrie made a simple mistake, or if he deliberately altered the names in order to avoid sharing guardianship. The mystery is something Peter Pan himself might have enjoyed.For the boys who inspired Peter Pan, life wasn’t so magical. The idea of staying a child forever did not fit , as 3 out of the 5 boys died. While others were enjoying the work inspired by the boys, the family was going through a major crisis. George Llewelyn Davies died fighting in World War I. Six years later, Michael Llewelyn Davies,along with a friend, drowned. They were believed to be  two young lovers who had participated in a suicide pact. Peter Llewelyn Davies was actually teased,during his childhood, for sharing a name with Peter Pan. It was known that he despised the work and the attention that it gave him. Peter committed suicide by jumping in front of a Tube train in 1960, just a few weeks before the 100th anniversary of Barrie’s birth. Nobody knows why it ended so badly for the inspiration of such a beloved character. In conclusion, in the book Peter and Wendy, J.M Barrie uses his life experiences to write about the boy who never wanted to grow up. Which lead to the legacy that J.M Barrie left is one that is still very present today. J.M. Barrie died on June 19, 1937, in London, England. In 1929, as a part of his will, Barrie generously permitted all the copyrights to Peter Pan to Britain’s Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. This was an inheritance that was confirmed after his death in 1937. Long after his death, Disney transformed the well-loved characters into animated figures in the Disney classic Peter Pan (1953). Barrie gave the world the gift of numerous works regarding Peter Pan such as the Peter Pan chapters from The Little White Bird which were later released again as Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens in 1906. Peter and Wendy, a book based on the 1904 play, was brought into the literary world in 1911 while the play itself was published in 1928. This generous act meant that every Peter pan production whether a book or movie etc. has helped earn money towards the children’s hospital.                                                   

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