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Metaphor in Peter Pan

Metaphor Examples in Peter Pan:

Chapter 1 - Peter Breaks Through

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"rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning..."   (Chapter 1 - Peter Breaks Through)

This metaphor shows how parents talk to their children before bed. Parents are supposed to protect children, so when things go wrong, they talk to them and make things right. Children’s sense of wonder is a prevalent theme in the story, and sleep represents the travels from the real world to Neverland: the world of children’s dreams.

"she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother..."   (Chapter 1 - Peter Breaks Through)

The flower symbolizes Wendy’s childhood and innocence. Wendy's inability to resist plucking the flower symbolizes that her fate is out of her control. Although she does not grow up at this precise moment, her instinct to pluck the flower is a metaphor that foreshadows her inability to stay young forever.

"I can't help crowing, Wendy, when I'm pleased with myself..."   (Chapter 3 - Come Away, Come Away!)

Recall in chapter 1 when Wendy can’t control her desire to pick the flower. Here, Peter exhibits a similar character trait by not being able to control his desire to crow. While Wendy’s inability to control picking the flower represents the inevitable truth that she will grow up, Peter’s inability to not boast represents that he will be childlike forever.

"Oh, do come out of that jug, and tell me, do you know where they put my shadow?..."   (Chapter 3 - Come Away, Come Away!)

Peter’s separation from his shadow is a metaphorical representation of his rejection of and separation from the real world. This scene is meant to establish a playful and fantastical tone for the rest of the story.

"It just goes out of itself when she falls asleep, same as the stars..."   (Chapter 4 - The Flight)

Throughout the story, characters continuously exhibit a lack of control. Tinker Bell can’t control her light because she is a fairy, just like Wendy can’t control her urge to pick the flower in the first chapter. Such moments are metaphorical reminders of all children’s inability to control growing up.

"this was rather an odd way of getting your bread and butter, nor even that there are other ways..."   (Chapter 4 - The Flight)

Recall in chapter 1 how Mr. Darling is described as the “breadwinnner” (bread-winner) of the family. Mr. Darling is a foil to Peter Pan. Mr. Darling keeps food on the table by holding a steady financial job, while Peter does so by chasing birds in the sky. This metaphor contrasts the wild imagination of children against adults’ staunch acceptance of reality.

"the bird sat on her eggs..."   (Chapter 7 - The Home Under The Ground)

Peter emphasizes the theme of the importance of motherhood by protecting the nesting mother bird. Mothers are symbols of strength and comfort in the story, something all children, even Peter and the Lost Boys crave.

"Oo!" they all moaned, though they were not really considering the feelings of the unhappy parents one jot..."   (Chapter 11 - Wendy's Story)

This embodies a prominent, extended metaphor in the story. When the Darling children left their home in England, they had little worry about the sadness of their parents and continued to not worry about them during their early adventures in Neverland. However, Mr. and Mrs. Darling immediately began to regret the actions that they believed made their children to leave. The difference between the parents’ and children’s reactions is a symbol for how children don’t always understand the love they have for their parents, or the love their parents have for them.

"The crocodile passed him, but not another living thing, not a sound, not a movement..."   (Chapter 13 - Do You Believe In Fairies?)

Recall how the crocodile is a metaphor for how time consumes people. In this instance, the crocodile walks past him and Peter is unable to notice anything else. Perhaps this represents how Peter’s only fear is the progression of time.

"Are all the children chained, so that they cannot fly away?..."   (Chapter 14 - The Pirate Ship)

This metaphor shows how Hook wants the children to lose their imaginations before they die. Recall earlier when Peter teaches the Darling children to fly, telling them to fly they just need to believe. Keeping them in chains and preventing them from flying is symbolic of ruining their ability to believe.

"Dark and sinister man..."   (Chapter 15 - Hook or Me This Time)

Notice how Peter’s derogatory description of Hook contrasts with Hook’s insults to Peter. Peter verbally attacks Hook for being a “man,” while Hook insults Peter as a ”youth.” This battle scene does not only describe the battle between these two fantastical character, it also is a metaphor for the struggle between youth and maturity.

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