I liked this book a lot: Peter Pan, by J. M. Barrie

Peter Pan, by J. M. Barrie, has one of the most beautiful styles of a book that I’ve read. I’ve recently read it in English.

You can read the whole book here + Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, or read below, with spoilers, my feed-back.

I liked about the book:

  • Very good presentation of emotions;
  • The high morality of the characters;
  • Presenting the world as it should be – “the world should be like this and that”; things were normal, the way they were supposed to be;
  • The model presented by the characters – courage, bravery, happiness, heroism;
  • Everything seems happy, and patriarchal, and joy, and calm;
  • You know that in the end things will go well;
  • The bad guys are not all that bad; there’s hope in evil;
  • The book is all about pleasure and happiness;
  • It’s sooo funny;
  • There’s a modesty in the book, things are nice, and modest, and you feel that everything is in its place;

– page 11:

Mrs. Darling first heard of Peter when she was tidying up her children’s minds. It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day. If you could keep awake (but of course you can’t) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it very interesting to watch her. It is quite like tidying up drawers. You would see her on her knees, I expect, lingering humorously over some of your contents, wondering where on earth you had picked this thing up, making discoveries sweet and not so sweet, pressing this to her cheek as if it were as nice as a kitten, and hurriedly stowing that out of sight. When you wake in the morning, the naughtiness and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind and on the top, beautifully aired, are spread out your prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on.

– page 16:

While she slept she had a dream. She dreamt that the Neverland had come too near and that a strange boy had broken through from it. He did not alarm her, for she thought she had seen him before in the faces of many women who have no children.

– page 18:

The opportunity came a week later, on that never-to-be-forgotten Friday. Of course it was a Friday.

– page 24:

It was dreadful the way all the three were looking at him, just as if they did not admire him.

– page 25:

Alas, he would not listen. He was determined to show who was master in that house, and when commands would not draw Nana from the kennel, he lured her out of it with honeyed words, and seizing her roughly, dragged her from the nursery. He was ashamed of himself, and yet he did it. It was all owing to his too affectionate nature, which craved for admiration. When he had tied her up in the back-yard, the wretched father went and sat in the passage, with his knuckles to his eyes.

– page 26:

Even Michael, already half asleep, knew that she was perturbed, and he asked, “Can anything harm us, mother, after the night-lights are lit?”
“Nothing, precious,” she said; “they are the eyes a mother leaves behind her to guard her children.”

– page 26:

They were already the only persons in the street, and all the stars were watching them. Stars are beautiful, but they may not take an active part in anything, they must just look on for ever. It is a punishment put on them for something they did so long ago that no star now knows what it was.

– page 28:

The loveliest tinkle as of golden bells answered him. It is the fairy language. You ordinary children can never hear it, but if you were to hear it you would know that you had heard it once before.

– page 29:

“I wasn’t crying about mothers,” he said rather indignantly. “I was crying because I can’t get my shadow to stick on. Besides, I wasn’t crying.”

– page 31:

“Wendy,” he continued, in a voice that no woman has ever yet been able to resist, “Wendy, one girl is more use than twenty boys.”
Now Wendy was every inch a woman, though there were not very many inches, and she peeped out of the bed-clothes.

– page 34:

“Oh, no; girls, you know, are much too clever to fall out of their prams.”

– page 43:

Peter, you see, just said anything that came into his head.

– page 50:

“Then tell her,” Wendy begged, “to put out her light.”
“She can’t put it out. That is about the only thing fairies can’t do. It just goes out of itself when she falls asleep, same as the stars.”
“Then tell her to sleep at once,” John almost ordered.
“She can’t sleep except when she’s sleepy. It is the only other thing fairies can’t do.”
“Seems to me,” growled John, “these are the only two things worth doing.”

– page 68:

But what to do with Wendy in her present delicate state of health?
“Let us carry her down into the house,” Curly suggested.
“Ay,” said Slightly, “that is what one does with ladies.”
“No, no,” Peter said, “you must not touch her. It would not be sufficiently respectful.”

– page 72:

Just when it seemed absolutely finished:
“There’s no knocker on the door,” he said.
They were very ashamed, but Tootles gave the sole of his shoe, and it made an excellent knocker.

– page 73:

They all whipped off their hats.
She looked properly surprised, and this was just how they had hoped she would look.

– page 94:

It was then that Hook bit him.

Not the pain of this but its unfairness was what dazed Peter. It made him quite helpless. He could only stare, horrified. Every child is affected thus the first time he is treated unfairly. All he thinks he has a right to when he comes to you to be yours is fairness. After you have been unfair to him he will love you again, but will never afterwards be quite the same boy. No one ever gets over the first unfairness; no one except Peter. He often met it, but he always forgot it. I suppose that was the real difference between him and all the rest.

– page 216:

The fairies sit round on mushrooms, and at first they are well-behaved and always cough off the table, and so on, but after a bit they are not so well-behaved and stick their fingers into the butter, which is got from the roots of old trees, and the really horrid ones crawl over the tablecloth chasing sugar or other delicacies with their tongues.

You can read the whole book here + Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.

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