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Literature / Peter Pan

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Second to the right, and then straight on till morning.
The original directions Peter gives to Neverland (although it turns out there isn't really a 'direction' as such. He just gets there. He only gives these directions to sound clever to Wendy.)

James M. Barrie was a prolific writer at the turn of the 20th century, but his most-beloved works are his play and novels about Peter Pan. Otherwise known as "the boy who wouldn't grow up", Peter Pan is the protector of the Magical Land of Neverland, an island inhabited by fairies, mermaids, Native Americans, and pirates. He also has a Fairy Companion in Tinker Bell, a feisty girl with one heck of a temper.

One spring evening, Peter follows his wayward shadow into the bedroom of one Wendy Darling. When Wendy helps him sew his shadow back onto him, Peter invites her to come and look after his "Lost Boys", kids who (like him) are motherless and live in the forests of Neverland.

Wendy and her brothers, John and Michael, fly away with Peter to Neverland, where they all have many adventures while Wendy mothers them. They encounter jealous mermaids, meet up with a tribe of Indians, and clash with the pirate crew of the scourge of Neverland: Captain Hook, who despises Peter for cutting off his hand and feeding it to a crocodile, which has been pursuing Hook to devour the rest of him ever since.

Finally, after a climactic battle with Peter and Hook on Hook's pirate ship, Hook is defeated and falls into the jaws of the crocodile. After Peter commandeers Hook's ship, Wendy decides she's had enough of Neverland. Peter agrees to let her go, and to let her take her brothers and the Lost Boys with her. Twenty years later, Peter Pan returns for Wendy's daughter Jane, and the adventures begin anew.

The original play is fairly Child-Friendly: Captain Hook is a blustering comic villain, the violence is usually a pratfall or similar form of Slapstick, and death is treated more like a time-out. In contrast, the book version (Peter and Wendy) later written by Barrie is a sly Deconstruction of the Victorian notion of the sacred innocence of children, full of Parental Bonus dark humor and subtle Gallows Humor; Barrie was a master satirist for his time, though few of his satires are remembered today.

Peter Pan is a trickster, only nominally human. In his first appearance, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (which was one of several stories included in the book The Little White Bird), Peter is alluded to as being half bird; as all children, in fact, come from birds, but only Peter is close enough to his youth to remember being a bird. In Neverland, he is more like a playful demigod, with aspects of Puck and Pan. The character has become something of a cultural symbol for youthful exuberance and innocence, especially if it persists into adulthood; it also evokes the poignant flip side - never becoming truly mature. Michael Jackson identified with the character so much he named his estate (with an amusement park, et. al. on the grounds) "Neverland Ranch". The darker implications of eternal youth and perpetual irresponsibility is likely why a well-remembered 1987 film about teen vampires was called The Lost Boys.

An unusual quirk of most stagings of the play, going back to its original productions, is that Peter is traditionally played by a young woman instead of a preteen boy.

Between licensing by Great Ormond Street Hospital (who still holds certain rights in the UK) and the expiration of copyright in most of the world, there are clashing Sequel and Prequel books and films. In addition to the 1953 Disney film and a 2002 sequel, there was a 41 episode anime adaption as part of the World Masterpiece Theater series in 1989, the 1990 animated series on the first season of Fox Kids, Steven Spielberg's Hook (1991), a sequel that posits what would have happened had Peter eventually decided to grow up, 2003 and 2015 live-action adaptations and more. See also Finding Neverland (2004), a drama that's Very Loosely Based on a True Story, about Barrie's conception and initial production of the play.

For details about adaptations and sequels by other hands, see here.

Tropes mainly from the novel:

  • Accidental Murder: Averted; the Lost Boys think Wendy is dead after Tootles shoots her, but she's really alive.
  • An Aesop: The book has two morals: first, when we grow up, if we forget our childhoods we'll forget important qualities along with them (like awe and wonder at the world that Hook lacks, for example). But second, if we never grow up, we'll miss out on important adult pleasures, like the love between husband and wife that Peter Pan will never enjoy.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: In-universe, the narrator calls the defeated Hook "not entirely unheroic" just before his death.
  • Alien Sky: Neverland has "ever so many more" suns and moons than the Mainland.
  • All Myths Are True: The furnishings in Tinker Bell's room are dated according to fairy tale character names - e.g., the mirror is a Puss-in-Boots and the dresser is a Charming the Sixth.
  • Alternate Continuity: From Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.
  • Always Identical Twins: The Lost Boys include a pair of twins, "who cannot be described because we should be sure to be describing the wrong one." Presumably on the same basis, the narrator never gives them names either.
  • Ambiguous Innocence: The book demonstrates, in general, that while innocence isn't bad, it also isn't necessarily good. The defining characteristic of children, according to the novel — and of Peter Pan in particular — is that they are "innocent and heartless." Peter Pan laughs as Wendy's siblings nearly fall to their deaths and in general lives up to his last name. He even attempts to convince Wendy that her mother abandoned her.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: The native tribe considers a death by drowning to be particularly horrifying because of a belief that there is no path through water to the happy hunting ground.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Hook certainly feels this way. He carries poison around with him in case he's taken alive.
  • Bizarre Alien Psychology: "Tink was not all bad; or, rather, she was all bad just now, but, on the other hand, sometimes she was all good. Fairies have to be one thing or the other, because being so small they, unfortunately, have room for one feeling only at a time." As a result, Tinker Bell is consumed by whatever emotion she's feeling at the time.
  • Book Dumb: Peter is an extreme example—he's loaded with mysterious knowledge of magical things but is absurdly "ignorant" of everything mortals regard as normal. Though this is typical of the Fair Folk.
    Not one of them could fly an inch, though even Michael was in words of two syllables, and Peter did not know A from Z.
  • Born Unlucky: Tootles, as described in the narration.
  • Braids, Beads and Buckskins: The "redskins" wear feathers in their hair, say "How", and well...any racist stereotype of Native Americans you can think of. As Neverland is the world of imagination, Neverland's "Red Indians" are the kind imagined by small children who like stories about Injun Country, complete with a Pocahontas-esque Indian Maiden named Princess Tiger Lily.
  • Canine Companion: Wendy keeps a wolf cub as a pet on Neverland.
  • Can't Tie His Tie: Near the beginning, Mr and Mrs Darling are dressing to go out for dinner; Mr Darling can't get his tie to work ("Not round my neck! Round the bed-post! Oh yes, twenty times have I made it up round the bed-post, but round my neck, no!") and has to get his wife to tie it for him.
  • Catchphrase: Tinker Bell has a tendency to say to Peter, "You silly ass!" She does it so often that even Wendy, who doesn't understand Tink's fairy language, is able to recognize it.
  • Children Are Innocent: Repeatedly the book states that children are "gay and innocent and heartless." Barrie emphasizes that childhood innocence has a double edge: on the one hand, they're happily ignorant of adult hardships and instinctively oppose evil and unfairness, but on the other hand, they often don't comprehend right from wrong or consider how their actions will affect other people.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The Trope Namer, used to revive Tinker Bell of Captain Hook's poison.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Tinker Bell is jealous of the attention Peter gives to Wendy, to the point of making multiple attempts on Wendy's life.
  • Clueless Chick-Magnet: All the female characters in the story except Mrs. Darling are in love with Peter. He never catches on.
  • Coming of Age Story: For Wendy. She leaves Neverland because she realizes that her relationship with Peter can only be a shallow imitation of the adult life she really wants.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Mr. Darling gives one of these to himself after the children fly away because he chained Nana in the yard. He vows to trade places with Nana and live in her kennel until the moment the children come back—even having the kennel loaded onto the cab every morning and riding it to work.
  • Curse of The Ancients: Captain Hook and his crew use archaic swears. "Odds bods, hammer, and tongs!"
  • Dawn Attack: In Neverland, all attacks take place at dawn. Captain Hook is considered a vile scoundrel when he has his pirates attack before dawn when nobody's ready.
  • Defiant to the End: When Hook attempts to taunt Wendy with the imminent deaths of her brothers and the Lost Boys, her response is "a look of such frightful contempt that he nearly fainted".
    • Also, Tiger Lily, who was tied up and left on Marooners' Rock to be drowned after boarding the pirates' ship with a knife in her mouth. The book states, "...her face was impassive; she was the daughter of a chief, she must die as a chief's daughter, it is enough." Extra points because part of her tribe's religious beliefs is that a death by drowning results in being Barred from the Afterlife.
  • Disney Death:
    • Wendy lies seemingly dead after being mistaken for a bird and shot with an arrow by one of the Lost Boys. But the arrow turns out to have only pierced an acorn button she was wearing and presumably caused her to faint from fear.
    • Tinker Bell pulls one of these off when she makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save Peter. Clap Your Hands If You Believe in fairies!
  • Dressed to Plunder: Captain Hook even introduced the Hook Hand as part of the standard pirate attire.
  • Even the Dog Is Ashamed: Nana is just as ashamed of Mr. Darling as the children are when he makes Michael take his medicine but tricks his way out of taking his own. That it's a dog is probably the worst part about it for poor George.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • Wendy (until Peter saves her) and Hook (when he's eaten by the crocodile).
    • Peter, also, when he's about to drown alone on Marooner's Rock.
  • The Fair Folk: Fairies in the books are notoriously fickle and love playing tricks on people. Peter Pan is the only one they don't mess with. Despite the mentioning of his background (Which the author directly states may not his true origin), Peter Pan himself is heavily implied to be a member of the Fair Folk himself as he certainly bears a good resemblance to the folkloric descriptions of fairies.
  • Fairy Companion: Tinker Bell.
  • Fairy Sexy: Tinker Bell is described as "slightly inclined to embonpoint".
  • Fisher King: Peter is this to Neverland. The land wakes up when he arrives, and reflects his mood.
  • Foul Medicine: At the beginning, Michael refuses to take his nightly dose of medicine, and his father urges him to "be a man" and take it. But when Wendy brings Mr. Darling's own, even worse-tasting medicine for him to take as an example, he resists just as much as Michael, and when Michael finally takes his medicine, Mr. Darling instead pours his own into Nana's dish, making her think it's milk and drink it. The taste makes Nana slink miserably into her doghouse, and the children and Mrs. Darling are very ashamed of Mr. Darling's behavior.
  • Friendly War: The Lost Boys and the Indians take turns attacking each other as a game.
  • From Beyond the Fourth Wall: Why did the crocodile's clock stop ticking? The author says we stopped it. Then Barrie later says that he might tell Mrs. Darling that the children are coming back, but that she would essentially be angry at us for spoiling the surprise.
  • Garden Garment: Peter wears an outfit made of leaves.
  • Generation Xerox: Wendy's daughter, Jane, sees Peter weeping on the nursery floor and addresses him with the words, "Boy, why are you crying?" They proceed to go through dialogue highly reminiscent of Wendy's with Peter. This might be justified in that Jane has often heard the stories of Peter Pan from her mother. Note that she also shares some traits with her uncle Michael, complaining "I won't go to bed!" in the same way he complains about being bathed at the beginning of the play and book.
  • Genre Savvy: Everyone in Neverland knows how battles of Indians vs. white men are supposed to work — the white men camp on high ground by a stream, the tribe attacks at dawn and the white men get wiped out. The rule is so secure that Tiger Lily's tribe camps out by the only such spot in the area waiting for the pirates to arrive ... and Captain Hook deliberately avoids it, pulling the Indians out of position and setting them up for defeat.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Captain Hook uses a cigar holder, always a bad sign. Exaggerated: he uses a special cigar holder of his own design that allows him to smoke two cigars at once.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Peter is the proverbial boy who refused to grow up. His Lost Boys remain young and immortal as long as they're with him. At the end of the story, Wendy returns to the real world, grows up and has a family. When Peter Pan comes calling again, he informs her that she is too old to go back to Neverland and whisks her daughter away instead. Note that Peter Pan plays with the idea that, while growing up sucks, not growing up also sucks (your friends leave you, and eventually die; you have perpetual forgetfulness and no family). It's hinted, when the Lost Boys leave, that they would have left at some point anyway; to quote the opening sentence, "All children, except one, grow up." In other words, while Peter urges everyone to stay with him forever and forbids growing old, only he is actually able to do this. Or if you look at it another way, it's not that Peter is able to resist aging. It's that he's not able to grow up, something everyone but him is able to do.
  • Have a Gay Old Time:
    • One of the narrator's favourite words for describing the children is "gay", in the sense of "lighthearted and carefree".
    • In one scene, Peter encounters a group of fairies coming home from an orgy, which at the time could still mean any kind of wild and indulgent party without necessarily having a sexual connotation.
  • Heavy Sleeper: After Wendy tells Peter about how her brother, John, despises girls, Peter goes over and kicks a sleeping John out of his blanket and then out of bed. She initially chastises Peter over it, but then she looks over and notices that John's still asleep.
  • Honor Before Reason: The Piccaninnies' codes of honor prevented them from taking strategic moves that would have saved a fair number of them from being slaughtered by the pirates.
  • Hook Hand: Captain Hook has a hook instead of a right hand, after the hand was cut off in battle.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When Michael is reluctant to take his medicine, Mr Darling tells him that he always took medicine perfectly as a kid and he should be a man..when he's forced to take some as an example for Michael....
  • I Call It "Vera": The pirates seem to do this a lot. Smee's cutlass is named "Johnny Corkscrew", the ship's cannon is called "Long Tom", and the plank is called "Johnny Plank".
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: Wendy wakes up to find Peter crying on the floor. Before she can find out why he's crying, they have to introduce themselves, which leads to them getting sidetracked onto the subject of parents and the fact that Peter hasn't got a mother. Wendy assumes that this is why he was crying, which gets an indignant response from Peter: "I wasn't crying about mothers, I was crying because I can't get my shadow to stick on. Besides, I wasn't crying."
  • Immortal Immaturity: Peter Pan, the boy who will never grow up.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Bosun Smee is unhappy about the fact that unlike the other pirates, Peter and the other children adore him.
  • Innocence Lost: Played with. It's noted that every time Peter is exploited (e.g., by Captain Hook) or similar, he reacts with shock and the typical apparent sting of the loss of innocence, but he continues to fall prey to these tactics because he never will actually 'grow up' enough to lose this childish naïveté altogether. He also forgets traumatic events magically, so that he never matures via suffering.
  • Irony: Wendy runs away to Neverland out of fear of growing up. When arriving in a fantasy world full of pirates, mermaids and fairies, all she ends up wanting to do is roleplay that she and Peter are husband and wife. This helps her realise she is indeed growing up already.
  • Island of Mystery: Neverland, home of the title character and the Lost Boys. Uncharted and accessible only through magic, children never grow old and die there and can fly with a little help. The geography of Neverland is shaped by the minds of the children residing there, and contains literally any adventure imaginable.
  • Just Desserts: Captain Hook's hand had been lost in a duel with Pan and eaten by a giant crocodile which becomes his Animal Nemesis as a result. At the climax, the croc returns to finish the meal.
  • Kids Are Cruel: It's a running theme that children, and Peter especially, are capable of doing selfish and cruel things because they lack understanding of the world and other people. The narrator never says "Children Are Innocent" (which he says quite a bit) without adding "and heartless".
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Hook is eaten by the Crocodile at the end.
    • In fact, all the other pirates die except Smee and Starkey.
    • Tinker Bell dies of old age about a year after the main storyline.
  • Land of Faerie: Neverland is a place separate from the everyday world, populated by fairies and full of enchantment and danger.
  • The Leader: Peter is a headstrong leader among the Lost Boys. Wendy is a levelheaded leader of her siblings.
  • Lemony Narrator:
    • The novel is narrated in a very odd style, mostly disaffected and dismissive of the amazing events he describes.
    • At one point he can't decide between which of two stories to relate, and flips a coin on them. He is annoyed at the outcome, but holds to it anyway.
    • At another point, he chooses which of Hook's pirates will die to demonstrate their boss's ruthlessness.
      Let us now kill a pirate, to show Hook's method. Skylights will do.
    • The narrator also really dislikes most of the characters, particularly Tinker Bell and the Darlings. When he narrated the story of their mother staying up late waiting for them to return, he gets particularly vicious to the whole family.
      One thing I should like to do immensely, and that is to tell her, in the way authors have, that the children are coming back, that indeed they will be here on Thursday week. This would spoil so completely the surprise to which Wendy and John and Michael are looking forward.
      We are beginning to know Mrs. Darling by this time, and may be sure that she would upbraid us for depriving the children of their little pleasure... The woman had no proper spirit. I had meant to say extraordinarily nice things about her; but I despise her, and not one of them will I say now.
      Thus Wendy and John and Michael found the window open for them after all, which of course was more than they deserved.
  • Literal Disarming: At some point prior to the events of the book, Peter and Captain Hook dueled and Peter cut off Hook's right hand, throwing it to a crocodile.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: Peter believes so. It's specifically pointed out that the things that often put people off immortality — friends dying, accumulated mental trauma, etc. — aren't an issue for him because his memory doesn't retain anything that would cause him to lose his innocent outlook.
  • Living Shadow: Peter Pan has a living shadow that escaped, and he has to have Wendy sew it back on.
  • Made of Good: It's stated that all the fairies were born when the first child laughed for the first time.
  • Magical Realism: The London portion of the book, which is otherwise normal, has a moment where Mrs. Darling tidies up her children's minds as they sleep, which is how she first learns the name Peter. It's described akin to tidying up drawers.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Tiger Lily" is a pretty apt name for a tsundere - aside from being the name of a real flower, it combines a vicious predator with a beautiful flower.
    • Oddly enough, this is averted with the Lost Boys—Peter named them (well, except for Slightly), but their names make absolutely no sense, even in context. It's possible that Curly might have curly hair, but this is never stated.
    • Peter Pan himself may qualify. Peter keeps the way to and from Neverland, just as the Biblical Peter is the keeper of the keys to Heaven. Pan, of course, was the wild, unpredictable god of nature in Greek mythology ... an apt pairing for a boy determined never to become an adult and submit to civilization.
  • Meaningless Meaningful Words: Peter boasts, "I'm youth, I'm joy. I'm a little bird that has broken out of the egg." The narrator immediately notes that Peter himself doesn't know what this means, he just thinks it sounds cool.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Smee.
  • Moby Schtick: Word of God confirms that Captain Hook was inspired by Ahab, both in his vendetta against Peter and in having his own Animal Nemesis. This trope is inverted in some respects, as it's the crocodile that's obsessed with pursuing him instead of vice versa.
  • Mood-Swinger: Tinker Bell has dramatic mood swings. The narrator explains that fairies are so small they can only hold one emotion at a time, so whatever mood she's in is all-consuming.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: Due to Neverland's nature, the book states that Peter's Freudian Excuse of Parental Abandonment may not have really happened how he remembers it, if at all.
  • Name and Name: The book was originally published as Peter and Wendy.
  • Namedworld and Namedland: Neverland.
  • Never Grew Up: Peter, and temporarily the Lost Boys.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: The large saltwater crocodile who ate Captain Hook's hand (and a clock) and now is looking for the rest of the dish.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Slightly, being "madly addicted to the drinking of water when he was hot," has swelled up and become the fattest of the Lost Boys — and so he has secretly expanded his entrance to the secret underground home so that he can fit through it. This means his entrance is large enough for Hook to get through and enter the underground home to poison Peter.
  • Nobody Here but Us Birds: Peter Pan's famous crow, often used as a signal to alert the Lost Boys to his presence. Additionally, the Indians use coyote cries as signals.
  • Noodle Incident:
    [Peter] would come down laughing over something fearfully funny he had been saying to a star, but he had already forgotten what it was, or he would come up with mermaid scales still sticking to him, and yet not be able to say for certain what had been happening.
  • Not Growing Up Sucks: Peter sometimes, ever-so-briefly, laments that he can never have a family or know love because he can't grow up, as seen at the end of the story after he drops Wendy and the Lost Boys off at Wendy's home and watches them through the window. At the end of the book, Wendy learns that Peter has no concept of death, and has forgotten that Captain Hook and Tinker Bell ever existed. He also routinely forgets about her for long stretches. While Pan doesn't necessarily think Not Growing Up Sucks, it's clear that the author does.
  • Oblivious to Love: Wendy, Tiger Lily, and Tinker Bell all have a crush on Peter, but Peter is so immature he can't see a female as anything other than a mother figure.
  • Offing the Annoyance: At several points in the novel, Hook takes out his frustrations lethally on whichever member of his crew makes the mistake of getting on his last nerve (or just standing within arm's reach of his hook at a bad moment).
  • Open Shirt Taunt: Occurs after Tootles shot Wendy down with an arrow:
    Tootles did not flinch. He bared his breast. "Strike, Peter," he said firmly, "strike true."
  • Our Fairies Are Different: Fairies in this universe were born when the first baby laughed, and said laugh split into a million pieces. They are Winged Humanoids who have their own separate language, and Tinker Bell's speech sounds like the tinkling of bells to humans. As they are so small, they only have room for one emotion at a time. Someone saying they don't believe in fairies will cause a fairy somewhere to drop dead. Tinker Bell of course dies when she drinks poison, but she is restored to life when Peter implores all the children around the world to declare they believe in fairies.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Mermaids live in Neverland, described as being incredibly beautiful and vain. They will only speak to Peter, and will splash and swim away from anyone else who approaches them. When the moon is out however, they transform into darker creatures, and even Peter avoids their lagoon after sunset.
  • Pajama-Clad Hero: The Darling children are still in their nightclothes when they're whisked off to Neverland.
  • Pet Baby Wild Animal: Wendy's not-so-imaginary abandoned wolf cub. (The wolf is only mentioned twice, but it's obviously meant as an example of Wendy's penchant for nurturing lost wild things—including the Lost Boys and Peter.)
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The pirates don't get up to any actual piracy within the story; they just seem to spend all their time trying to kill the Lost Boys and the Indians. Neverland is formed from the collective imaginations of children, so the pirates (and Indians) are only a manifestation of children's playground games.
  • Pocket Protector: The arrow the Lost Boys shoot at Wendy doesn't kill her because it hits an acorn button Wendy was wearing around her neck after Peter gave it to her as a present.
  • Poison Is Evil: Captain Hook carries a bottle of poison everywhere with him (to be used as a suicide drug in case he's taken alive), and employs it to kill Peter Pan.
  • Polite Villains, Rude Heroes: Captain Hook and Peter Pan, respectively. Hook is an elegant Eton-educated gentleman, while Peter is brash and shamelessly arrogant.
  • Psychopomp: Somewhat unsettling in hindsight, but Peter is said to be one: "At first Mrs. Darling did not know, but after thinking back into her childhood she just remembered a Peter Pan who was said to live with the fairies. There were odd stories about him; as that when children died he went part of the way with them, so that they should not be frightened."
  • Raised Hand of Survival: Wendy lies apparently dead, having been mistaken for a bird and shot out of the sky with an arrow by one of the Lost Boys, but is revealed to be alive when she raises her arm to stop Peter from executing the boy who shot her.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Captain Hook has light blue eyes, but when he is angry, they flash red.
  • Rump Roast: While talking to Smee in a forest clearing, Hook sits down on a large mushroom. Shortly afterward, he leaps up, swearing: the mushroom is actually the concealed chimney of the Lost Boys' underground lair, and is quite hot.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Skylights the pirate, who is killed solely to show Hook's method of dispatchment.
  • Shout-Out: Hook describes himself as "the only man whom Barbecue feared, and Flint himself feared Barbecue". Captain Flint was the pirate captain in Treasure Island, and "Barbecue" was the nickname of his cook — Long John Silver. Hook's name may also be a riff on the name of Silver's confederate, Israel Hands.
  • Sirens Are Mermaids: The Neverland mermaids are known to sing hauntingly at the moon, and Hook compares them to the Lorelei - a German water nymph with many similarities to the sirens.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Peter is very cocky. Wendy notes this very early on.
    Peter: [after Wendy has sewn his shadow back on] How clever I am! Oh, the cleverness of me!
    Wendy: You conceit! Of course I did nothing.
    Peter: You did a little.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Peter spends an awful lot of his time killing off pirates, and often is willing to put his friends in danger simply because it would be interesting or even funny. This is because of the basic nature of his character; being a child forever, he's inherently selfish and often amoral. It is mentioned that during the fights between the Lost Boys and the pirates, if the pirates seem to be at a disadvantage, Peter will join their side to even things out. That's right, he will happily fight and kill his friends just because it's more of a challenge. Evidently, Lost Boys come and go, and Peter doesn't have any real interest in keeping track of them. During the climactic fight against Hook and his crew, Peter actually attacks both sides in order to keep things "interesting."
  • Tattooed Crook: The pirate Bill Jukes is extensively tattooed.
  • Team Mom: Wendy acts as mother to the Lost Boys, advising them, offering comfort when needed, and telling bedtime stories.
  • Territorial Smurfette: Tinker Bell was the only female person in Peter's social circle before Wendy came along, and she goes to considerable lengths in her attempts to get Wendy gone.
  • They Call Him "Sword": "Hook" is established to be a pseudonym.
  • Time Dissonance: Fairies live very short lives but it seems longer because they're so small.
  • Translation Convention: During Peter's encounter with the Neverbird, the bird's attempts to communicate (which even Peter doesn't understand) are translated into English for the reader.
  • Treated Worse than the Pet: At the end, Mr Darling is treated worse than the dog Nana (whom he had previously ordered out of the house), and is made to sleep in Nana's kennel.
  • Tsundere:
    • Tiger Lily.
    • Tinker Bell, too. As a fairy, she literally only has room to experience one emotion at a time, but those emotions are strong.
  • Unbuilt Trope: It's practically a cliche for modern writers to depict a character who Never Grew Up as a sociopath, subverting the image of eternal childhood innocence. It's easy to forget that Peter, the character they're ostensibly deconstructing, was originally a thoughtless, selfish, amoral Jerkass, explicitly because as an perpetual child he never learned right from wrong.
  • The Unintelligible: Tinker Bell's fairy language sounds like a tinkling bell to most of the characters. Peter understands it, and the narrator sometimes translates.
  • Vague Age: Intentionally done as J.M. Barrie never reveals what Peter's age is nor gives a physical description so that the readers are able to create their own image of what the character looks like. The book states that Peter has all of his baby teeth, yet all of the female characters have (or develop) a crush on him. In earlier drafts, it's directly stated that Tiger Lily wanted to marry him.
    • It's generally accepted that Peter is between the ages of 12-14 years old, and, as strange as it may sound, it's entirely possible for a teenager and even an adult to still have their baby teeth. It generally happens because of a condition called "dental ankylosis" that causes baby teeth to fuse to the jaw bone and prevents them from falling out. It is also possible that there is no permanent tooth under the gums pushing on the baby tooth. Some teenagers retain baby teeth because of trauma, obstructions, pathology, or misaligned permanent teeth under them.
  • Walk the Plank: The children are threatened with this after the pirates capture them.
  • We Are as Mayflies:
    • Inverted in the novel - fairies have short lifespans, short enough that at the beginning of the book Tinker Bell hasn't yet reached adulthood, but a year later she's most likely reached the end of her natural life. Of course, none of the adaptations have the heart to kill her off so soon.
    • Played straight with Peter's lifespan in comparison to those of mortals; he'll probably be befriending Wendy's descendants and taking them to Neverland until the world ends.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In Wendy's personal imaginary world, she owns a wolf pup abandoned by its parents. Naturally, when she gets to Neverland the wolf appears and becomes her constant companion—or so the narration claims, since it never gets mentioned again. (There was at least one set of illustrations (Trina Schart Hyman's) which didn't neglect the wolf and showed it hanging around at Wendy's feet in the "Home Under the Ground" scene.)
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: It is said of Captain Hook that the only thing that frightens him is the sight of his own blood, "which was thick and of an unusual colour".
  • Wicked Cultured: Captain Hook had a classical British public school education, and it's left its mark on him despite everything he's done since.
  • Women Are Wiser: Wendy asks Peter why there aren't any Lost Girls. Peter responds her that is because girls are too smart to fall out of their cradles. Wendy is delighted.
  • Yandere: Sweet, sweet Tinker Bell....wants to kill Wendy for clinging to Peter Pan. Somewhat justified in that Tink is a fairy, and thus too small to experience more than one emotion at a time. She's either a perfect angel or an utter demon, and when she's jealous, well...
  • You No Take Candle: The Piccaninnies talk this way.