Mythical Elements of Peter Pan

Peter Pan is the novel that is written by J.M Barrie in the name of  The Little White Bird, in 1902. As the novel which contains the mythical things inside, I  found several myth elements in this novel. Those are :

  1. There is relation between the Peter Pan name with Greek Mythology

In the Greek mythology, Pan is the God of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature of mountain wilds, hunting music, and companion of the nymphs. He is also considered as the symbol of fertility and spring season. Pan means ‘to pasture’. His appearance is similar to faun or satyr. The conversation between him and Solomon the crow also an evidence that Pan is related with the birds since he is the god of flocks since he understands how the animals talk.

He has a pan flute. By the Greek story, Syrinx, a water nymph that met him in the forest. She goes away from Pan until she meet her siter that immediately turn her to be a reed. When the air blew the reeds body, it sounds like a melody. To find the reeds, he cuts the steem into seven pieces and named the instrument by her name, Syrinx. In the novel, Peter is playing his musical intruments to amuse the fairies in the Kensington Garden. The fairies feel happy and satisify by the party they have then giving him present that is two wishes. One of the wishes makes him coming back to his mother. Not only playing the musical intrument to the fairiest feast but also to his mother. In the night he runs away from his mother as the farewell to her.

The goat that is given by Maimie is also as same as the Greek mythology where Pan is related with goats since he is the God of sheperds and flocks. As the rememberance of Maimie, Peter ride the goat.

  1. The fairies in the novel also the part of myth elements

The reader can find appearance of the fairies in the novel. Briggs (1976 ) states that “Although in modern culture they are often depicted as young, sometimes winged, humanoids of small stature, they originally were depicted quite differently: tall, radiant, angelic beings or short, wizened trolls being two of the commonly mentioned forms. Diminutive fairies of one kind or another have been recorded for centuries, but occur alongside the human-sized beings; these have been depicted as ranging in size from very tiny up to the size of a human child”.

J.M Barries explains them : the fairies like to pretend themselves to be something else. The best trick they ever had is to be the flowers. They often dress like the flowers and like to attract the attention by their beautiful color. When a baby human is laughing for the forst time, the fairies will skipping. The fairies look so busy but no one knows what are they doing. They give no information to the people that ask them. However, they are very ignorant. The fairies just use postman just when Christmas coming. Here, we can say that the father christmas is not famous in the fairies world because they delivered the presents by post. As same as human, they also have a school but nothing is taught in them. The youngest child is an elected mistress who becomes chief person. Thus, the youngest usually be a prince or the princess.

 There is simbiosis mutualism between Peter and the fairies. Since Peter can play the music by his pan flute very beautiful, the fairy princess gives him an ability to fly so Peter can come back to his mother. However, the fairy princess wants to hold him because he plays beautiful music for them. The fairy doubt him to come back but Peter believes that the windows are always open for him. It is before he finds that he jealous with his brother. He feels that his mother love is now focusing on his brother so Peter will be soon forgotten, then he comes back to garden. In the mythology, Peter is accompanied by the nymph and fairies, it is also one of the reason behind why he comes back to the garden where fairy lives.

iii  The another life after death

There is still find the relation between the death and the mythology The relation with mythology, Pan is the only Greek God who dies. Peter Pan actually dies since she has a journey into the another ‘world’.

The bird is the symbolization of the pure soul in the heaven. It is symbolized by his willing to fly. Evey pure soul will be flying as the bird in heaven. Peter wants to stay in the heaven to fly as the bird.

” Peter called, ‘Mother! mother!’ but she heard him not; in vain he beat his little limbs against the iron bars. He had to fly back, sobbing, to the Gardens, and he never saw his dear again. What a glorious boy he had meant to be to her! Ah, Peter! we who have made the great mistake, how differently we should all act at the second chance. But Solomon was right—there is no second chance, not for most of us. When we reach the window it is Lock-out Time. The iron bars are up for life. 

This line explain that Peter and his mom is already separated into different world. her mother is still live and Peter has died. When Peter called her mother, she does not hear him. It tears his heart but nothing he can do. He was be a beloved boy to his mother but then when he dies her mother’s feeling does not change. She still loves him. Her mother still calls him in the night she sleeps. Peter Pan either. He still loves his mother but he thinks that Solomon was right, there is no second chance, not for most of us. It means that every soul that dies will never comes back to the world. they will have their own journey as a new soul. The chance for life is just once for everyone. When we reach the window it is Lock out Time. This last phrase emphasizes that there is no chance anymore to come back to be a human. So he prefers to leave the world and continues his journey to his new world.

References :

Barrie, J.M. (1999). Peter Hollindale (Introduction and Notes), ed. Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens

and Peter and Wendy. Oxford Press. pp. xxix–xxx. ISBN 0-19-283929-2.

Briggs, Katharine Mary (1976) An Encyclopedia of Fairies. New York, Pantheon Books. “Euphemistic

names for fairies” p. 127 ISBN 0-394-73467-X.

Pan” (Greek mythology) entry in Collins English Dictionary, HarperCollins Publishers, 1998.


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