Vocabulary in Peter Pan

Vocabulary Examples in Peter Pan:

Chapter 1 - Peter Breaks Through 2

"Of course the Neverlands vary a good deal..."   (Chapter 1 - Peter Breaks Through)

Neverland is the place children see when they dream. Since all children have different dreams, each child’s Neverland differs. However, they are all named Neverland because it represents the imagination of all children.

"perambulators..."   (Chapter 1 - Peter Breaks Through)

A “perambulator” is a British word for baby carriage. Nana’s habit of looking into unwatched perambulators shows that she has a motherly instinct just like Mrs. Darling.

"breadwinner..."   (Chapter 2 - The Shadow)

A “breadwinner” (bread-winner) is the person in a household who provides money for living expenses. Mr. Darling feels his position of “breadwinner” garnishes him respect in the household. Although it is admirable that he keeps food on the table for his family, he does not comprehend that this concept of money is not at the forefront of his children’s minds.

"MEA CULPA..."   (Chapter 2 - The Shadow)

Mea culpa is a Latin phrase that translates to “through my fault,” or less directly “my fault.” Mr. Darling reiterates with this phrase to dramatize the scene.

"pluperfect..."   (Chapter 5 - The Island Come True)

“Pluperfect,” also known as the past perfect, is a grammar term that denotes an activity done before a past point in time that is either implied or specified.

"bo'sun..."   (Chapter 8 - The Mermaids' Lagoon)

Bo’sun is short for boatswain, which is a senior-rank person in charge of a ship’s hull.

"for is it not written in the book of the tribe that there is no path through water to the happy hunting-ground..."   (Chapter 8 - The Mermaids' Lagoon)

In this story, Barrie uses the term "happy hunting-ground" to refer to the afterlife that Tiger Lily and her people believe in. He uses this fictional belief to present a problem and further the conflict: If Tiger Lily were to drown, she would not be able to go to this afterlife.

"Marooners..."   (Chapter 8 - The Mermaids' Lagoon)

“To maroon” means to abandon someone in isolation in a difficult to access location. In addition to this verb form, the noun, marooners, is slang for pirates. Barrie names the island in the lagoon “Marooners’ Rock” to imply the pirates plan to leave Tiger Lily abandoned there.

"cutlass..."   (Chapter 8 - The Mermaids' Lagoon)

A cutlass is a short sword that has a curved, single bladed edge and is oftentimes associated with sailors and pirates.

"perhaps the biggest adventure of all was that they were several hours late for bed..."   (Chapter 9 - The Never Bird)

This carries a double meaning because it can also be attributed to the Darling children’s adventure in Neverland. Although they are not necessarily “late for bed,” they left their beds and are on the journey of their lifetimes.

"They called Peter the Great White Father..."   (Chapter 10 - The Happy Home)

Peter’s nickname supports the damaging racial stereotypes that Barrie has portrayed in this tale. “Great White Father” situates Peter in a position of authority and power over the Native Americans in the story, which is problematic considering the atrocities that White Europeans inflicted on Native Americans.

"but you don't want to [ex]change me, do you?..."   (Chapter 10 - The Happy Home)

Barrie’s use of the prefix “[ex]” gives Wendy’s response two meanings. When read without the prefix, Wendy asks Peter if she must do something different to please him. This line is problematic because it suggests that women should be ready to adapt to the needs of men. When read with the prefix, Wendy’s question is also problematic because it implies that her position as a mother for the Lost Boys is dispensable.

"Descendants are only children," said John..."   (Chapter 11 - Wendy's Story)

The real meaning of “descendant,” is a plant or animal that is derived from a related ancestor. However, since the Lost Boys don’t have a true understanding of parents or grandparents, they have no way of grasping the actual meaning of descendants. Because of this, John’s claim seems correct to them.

"perfidious pirates..."   (Chapter 12 - The Children Are Carried Off)

“Perfidious” means traitorous and deceitful. Barrie's choice of "perfidious" instead of the more common "treacherous" provides alliteration that enhances the impact of this adjective.

"like slaves to a fixed idea..."   (Chapter 15 - Hook or Me This Time)

In this context, “slaves” is not used to mean people owned by others. Instead, “slaves” indicates that the people are compulsively obsessed with certain ideas. This simile indicates that blind belief or following is a symptom of stupidity.

"fo'c'sle..."   (Chapter 16 - The Return Home)

“Fo’c’sle” is short for forecastle, meaning the front part of the ship, situated below the deck where the crew usually slept.