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Finding Neverland

September 19, 2015

FNIssues of childhood, grief and loss permeate the historical story behind the writing of Peter Pan.

Themes: the sacredness of childhood, taking children seriously and grief and loss.

 J.M. Barrie: In punishment for lack of an interesting pirate name, Peter shall walk the plank.

J.M. Barrie: Young boys should never be sent to bed… they always wake up a day older.

 

Peter Llewelyn Davies: It’s just, I thought she’d always be here.
J.M. Barrie: So did I. But in fact, she is, because she’s on every page of your imagination. You’ll always have her there. Always.
Peter Llewelyn Davies: But why did she have to die?
J.M. Barrie: I don’t know, Peter. When I think of your mother, I will always remember how happy she looked, sitting there in the parlor watching a play about her family, about her boys that never grew up. She went to Neverland. And you can visit her any time you like if you just go there yourself.
Peter Llewelyn Davies: How?
J.M. Barrie: By believing, Peter. Just believe.

 

 

J.M. Barrie: [watching George react to the knowledge that his mother is seriously ill] Magnificent. The boy is gone. In the last 30 seconds… you became a grown-up.

 

J.M. Barrie: It seems to me that Peter’s trying to grow up too fast. I imagine he thinks that grown-ups don’t hurt as deeply as children do when they… when they lose someone. I lost my older brother David when I was just Peter’s age, and it nearly destroyed my mother.
Sylvia Llewellyn Davies: James, I’m so sorry. Your poor mother. I can’t imagine losing a child.
J.M. Barrie: She didn’t get out of bed for months, she wouldn’t eat. I tried everything to make her happy but she only wanted David. So one day I dressed myself in David’s clothing and I went to her.
Sylvia Llewelyn Davies: You must have frightened her to death.
J.M. Barrie: I think it was the first time she ever actually looked at me, and that was the end of the boy James. I used to say to myself he’d gone to Neverland.
Sylvia Llewelyn Davies: Where?
J.M. Barrie: Neverland. It’s a wonderful place… I’ve not spoken about this before to anyone- ever.
Sylvia Llewelyn Davies: What’s it like, Neverland?
J.M. Barrie: One day I’ll take you there.

 

J.M. Barrie: [gives him a journal] Here you go.
Peter Llewelyn Davies: What’s this?
J.M. Barrie: All great writers begin with a good leather binding and a respectable title. Open it.
Peter Llewelyn Davies: [reads] “The Boy Castaways: Being a record of the terrible adventures of the brothers Davies, faithfully set forth by Peter Llewelyn Davies.”
J.M. Barrie: Kipling would swallow his own ear for a title like that!
Peter Llewelyn Davies: I still have no idea what to write.
J.M. Barrie: Write about anything. Write about your family, write about the talking whale!
Peter Llewelyn Davies: What whale?
J.M. Barrie: The one that’s trapped in your imagination and desperate to get out.

 

‘Wendy’: [as she is lifted by the kite] Peter!
Peter Pan: Don’t let go, Wendy!
‘Wendy’: Peter, I’m frightened!
Peter Pan: Hang on, Wendy!
‘Wendy’: [fading] Peter!
Peter Pan: To die will be an awfully big adventure.

 

J.M. Barrie: You find a glimmer of happiness in this world, there’s always someone who wants to destroy it.

 

Peter Llewelyn Davies: Stop lying to me. I’m sick of grown-ups lying to me!

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