Title

You will always be known as 'a betwixt and between' : J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan and its afterlives.

Date of Award

5-1-2014

Document Type

Thesis

School

College of Liberal Arts

Degree Name

Bachelor in Arts

Abstract

J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan is an incredibly fungible text that has endured numerous adaptations since its creation. In this thesis I will argue that Peter Pan has remained a cultural focus for over one hundred years because both the story and Peter himself exist in an unclassifiable, liminal state that has led to re-appropriations for new cultural purposes. I will illuminate binary relationships found in Peter Pan by utilizing a blend of two approaches: biographical, to discover the relationship between J.M. Barrie's life and the story he created, and historicist, to view the works in their own historical context to see which elements of the text supported cultural views of the time, which challenged them, and how Peter Pan was appropriated during the years after it was written. I will conclude with the discovery that new versions of Peter Pan emerged during periods of immense cultural discomfort, and that the story itself functions both as a cultural instrument and a mirror. The aspect that draws us most to Peter Pan is not simply the allure of childhood, but the fascination with and fear of his constantly altering state.