Categorizing and analyzing Peter and Wendy, by J.M. Barrie, as a myth-tale allows for a more complete reading of the complex text and partially explains its popularity and prominence within past and contemporary societies. Utilizing fairytale scholars, such as Marie-Louis von Franz, and mythological analysts, such as Maureen Murdock, along with C.G. Jung’s psychoanalytical theory of archetypes (which applies to both fairytale and myth), reveals how Peter and Wendy contains components of both genres, and is a masterfully hybridized text. Additionally, the fairytale components often camouflage the more mature and mythic elements of the tale. This reading reveals how Barrie relies heavily on archetypes, both archetypal characters and events, which are found universally in stories and are deeply rooted in the unconscious. Hence, Barrie’s use of archetypes allows him to form a more universally applicable story, while the fairytale elements make the deep psychological truths, the mythic components, entertaining and more palatable and appealing for readers. Reading specifically for archetypes reveals how Peter is a death figure, Captain Hook is Peter’s shadow (and the shadow of the collective unconscious), and Wendy is the true heroine of the text.
Luedtke, Andrea C., "The Immortal Story: An Examination of J.M. Barrie's Myth-Tale Peter and Wendy and an Explanation of its Relevance and Permanence within Society" (2014). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 6099.
myth, fairy tale, archetypes, J.M. Barrie, Peter and Wendy, Peter Pan
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
© Copyright 2014 Andrea C. Luedtke