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Irony in Peter Pan

Irony Examples in Peter Pan:

Chapter 3 - Come Away, Come Away!

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"They are the children who fall out of their perambulators when the nurse is looking the other way..."   (Chapter 3 - Come Away, Come Away!)

Recall earlier in the story how Nana constantly checks perambulators for children when their nannies or parents are looking away. It is ironic then that Wendy, John, and Michael end up leaving to Neverland, and their parents partially blame Nana for their escape.

"Wendy, I ran away the day I was born..."   (Chapter 3 - Come Away, Come Away!)

Peter ran away the day he was born to avoid the responsibility of growing up. This is a fantastical aspect of the story that separates Peter from the real world; in the real world, newborn babies cannot run away from their parents. It is ironic that even though Peter desires to avoid responsibility, he has chosen to be the leader of the Lost Boys, a group of children who all have run from their parents.

"I have brought at last a mother for you all..."   (Chapter 6 - The Little House)

In this instance of dramatic irony, Peter excitedly explains that he brought the Lost Boys a mother; however, we are aware that Wendy is badly injured or even dead. This creates tension and conflict in the story between the Lost Boys (for injuring Wendy) and Peter, who is excited to introduce them to Wendy.

"This is a difficult question, because it is quite impossible to say how time does wear on in the Neverland, where it is calculated by moons and suns..."   (Chapter 7 - The Home Under The Ground)

This may be interpreted as ironic because the earth’s calendars are also determined by the moon and sun. However, the difference is that people on earth rely more on man-made clocks and watches to interpret time, whereas in Neverland inhabitants most likely use the suns and moons to actually keep track of “time.”

"In fanciful stories people can talk to the birds freely, and I wish for the moment I could pretend that this were such a story..."   (Chapter 9 - The Never Bird)

This is an ironic statement considering the fantastical content of the story, that is meant to provide humor to the situation. Throughout the story we have read about flying children that live on an island that consists of fairies, pirates, and Native Americans–it is not unreasonable to believe that the Never bird and Peter could speak with one another. Barrie does this with the purpose of entertaining his audience.

"By all the unwritten laws of savage warfare it is always the redskin who attacks..."   (Chapter 12 - The Children Are Carried Off)

This line embodies the popularized ignorance and intolerance of the times when this story was written. It’s also ironic, considering how immigrants from Europe came to North and South America and waged war for land against the Native Americans.

"Peter had been removed for ever from his path,..."   (Chapter 14 - The Pirate Ship)

In this instance of dramatic irony, the readers see Hook rejoice as he thinks Peter has surely swallowed the poison that Hook disguised as Peter’s medicine. This gives the readers the idea that Hook will not be ready to see Peter again, thus creating suspense for the subsequent scenes.

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