Evaluations of the Original and Adaptation of Peter Pan

Evaluationsof the Original and Adaptation of Peter Pan

Peterpan also referred to as the boy who wouldn’t grow up, is a comiccharacter by J. M Barrie. The character was first used in the bookthe little white bird, by Barrie in 1902. Where the character playspipes in the adult movie, thus depriving the name pan. In 1911,Barrie developed the novel Peter and Wendy and took the part of themain character in the book. The novel illustrates Peter Pan as ayoung boy at the age of twelve, although it does not describe how helooks, the novel is able to communicate the personality of thecharacter. He is a young boy from the land of never land that is aland beyond earth. The character can fly, does not grow old and is aleader of the lost boys. Scholars have explained the character toexhibit the selfish nature and mischievous attitude of a child.

Astime passed, different adaptations were made to the works of J. M.Barrie. From the costume worn by Peter Pan to elements of the novel,the character assumed changes from the original characteristicscreated by Barrie.

Sincethe Novel was originally a play, most of the scenes are wellillustrated and pointed out. Barrie creates a nice background settingfor the novel, such that it adapts equally as a novel and as a playon stage. With the production of the Peter film in 1953, the settingof the film assumed adaptation both as in its background setting andthe characters characteristics.

Inthe contrast, both the novel and the film offer the same story linealthough, some aspects of the original character of the novel havebeen altered to suit and complement the Disney animation film in1953. It is only in J. M Barrie’s novel that different orgiesquotes have been emphasized, the film did not quite exhibit most ofthem, but the novel took a different setting than other novels of thetime.

OriginallyBarrie describes the character as hard headed and, many mistook himfor hating children. The novel shows Peter to be mischievous, on theother hand, the film created the character to have virtues and lovetowards his friends both from the earth and never land. The motivebehind this was to create a comic character adored by children, andin a way positively influence the children to good morals and virtuesin the society.

Thenovel is composed of different action-filled scenes, between Peterand Captain Hook. Though the novel has adapted a good imagery settingto explain these scenes, the film took a great focus on these scenes.The Disney film focused and expanded these scenes, in a manner thatthe film was action packed than the novel. Although possing a changeto the original movie, the film shows a great reliance to theoriginal movie since it only expands the scenes bur does not changethe actual events that took place. The film attracted a highermultitude of an audience since most people prefer looking at a filmthan reading an actual novel. Moreover, the scenes presented anaction field tone to the film, and this attracted more people towardsthe actual character by Barrie (Hanson 86).

WendyDarling is a character in the original novel Peter and Wendy. Wendyis the most significant friend that Peter makes when Peter comes toearth. The original novel exhibits the relationship of Peter andWendy to be one way, in that Peter is not allowed to have feelings inthe story. Moreover, in the original novel, Peter revives Wendy witha kiss after the fight with Captain Hook. But in the film, Petersaves Wendy from being hurt by captain hook. The two setting maydiffer but clearly exhibit patterns of similarity and adaptation. Inthe film, Wendy is posed as the mother of the lost boys, rather thanjust a member. And when Peter comes to visit earth in the later days,Wendy is posed as a mother but still the romance between the two isoutspoken.

Theadaptation of the film to the character of Wendy is a result of thetarget audience while airing the film in 1953 (Lancely 57). The filmmaintains the original perks of the romance between Peter and Mary,but still adapts the new properties that suit the film.

Thecharacters in the film were altered to fit their function andpersonality. For example in the original novel, we find Tinkerbelle,who is peter’s fairy, feels humiliated during a dinner in neverland hosted by Peter. The novel portrays Tinkerbelle as the one whoinformed Captain Hook on where to find Peter. On the other hand, thefilm poses captain hook to kidnap Tinkerbelle and persuades her ongiving out Peter. The film supports and emphasizes the character ofTinkerbelle in the story the fairy assumes the good characters thatsuit the whole film in total. Since most of the audience is of ayounger age, it is deemed good and exciting to portray the fairy as agood close friend to Peter (Birkin 95).

Duringthis period, Disney was also producing other films with a similarsetting as that of Peter Pan. The scenes of mermaids and pirates inthe original story posted similarly to other scenes in films likeSnow White, which were produced by Disney. Thereby, Disney adopted adifferent setting for the film to be different but still complementBarrie’s original story of Peter and Wendy. This led to theelimination of certain scenes from the films that are present in theoriginal story.


Boththe novel and the film complement each other in setting and thebackground. Since the novel was the original piece of the story, theproduction of the film focused on developing a suitable way topresent the original story in a moving picture. The film expanded theaspects of the story and adapted to the audience involved. Disneyadapted the film to suit the appropriate setting and at the same timecommunicate the original story as communicated by Barrie.

Thedifferences and similarities between the two modes of the story haveshown how each of the two, either the novel or the film depends oneach other. Although the tone of the original story is much darkerthan the tone of the film, the film considers the target audience andthe context being communicated. The film focuses more on exhibitingthe important perks of the story while still maintaining the originalsetting of the story by J.M Barrie. The film is focused on achievinga continuity of the Peter Pan character, throughout the coming agesand still links it to the original novel.


Birkin,Andrew J. Peterpan and the lost boys.Yale: Yale university, 1979. Print.

Green, Lancely R. Fiftyyears of Peter Pan.Arbor: Davies publication, 1954. Print.

Hanson,Bruce. PeterPan on stage and screen.New York: McFarland, 2011. Print.