4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

The tragedy of Peter Pan

Wendy chose the better part

You don't have to grow up, but you do have to get old
You don't have to grow up, but you do have to get old

Peter and the Starcatcher

Peter and the Starcatcher! was inspired by Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, a narrative that has inspired 25 fiction books, 22 plays, 16 movies, 11 television shows, 9 comics, 7 video games, and a radio show. (That is according to Wikipedia; I suspect the numbers are higher.) Clearly, the story resonates.

Most of the adaptations and “inspired by” stories romanticize Peter’s story: Ahhhh, to remain a boy forever! But all that romanticizing occludes the fact that Barrie’s original book had more than a whiff of the tragic. In Barrie’s vision, “forever young” means forever being outgrown and left behind by your friends. At the end of Barrie’s Peter and Wendy (the original title), it’s clear that it is Wendy and her brothers who have chosen the better part by going home to mom and dad, and then to marriages and children of their own. All Peter can do is borrow, for a short time ,other people’s children, only to have them outgrow him and go back home.

Yet Peter’s story resonates in our society. I know more than a couple of single, middle-aged men who have never fully grown up, because they haven’t decided, for whatever reason, to take responsibility for others. There are many reasons for this, each of them sympathetic to some degree. Nevertheless, their situation is far from ideal.

As bachelors in their 30s, the world was their oyster. Their friends were struggling with pregnant wives and mortgages and demeaning jobs; meanwhile, they were pursuing their dreams and keeping open their many romantic options. Settle down? Pshaw! The perfect girl and the perfect life is out there somewhere. I just need to hold out.

As the 40s wore on, however, their bachelorhood took on a kind of bravado that belied their growing loneliness, unease, and bitterness — to which they couldn’t admit, even to themselves.

As one of the still-40s said recently: “I have excelled at my goal of staying free of attachments, and what I have to show for it is a bank account, a pickup truck with a Snug top that I can sleep in, and an occasional invitation to visit a friend who has kids that I can enjoy telling jokes to.”

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Last night at the Coronado’s Bistro d’Asia

Does Coronado maybe want to move on?
Next Article

Tsai Ming-liang bathes Days in pink moments

There’s nothing left inside him to justify an enthusiastic awakening.
You don't have to grow up, but you do have to get old
You don't have to grow up, but you do have to get old

Peter and the Starcatcher

Peter and the Starcatcher! was inspired by Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, a narrative that has inspired 25 fiction books, 22 plays, 16 movies, 11 television shows, 9 comics, 7 video games, and a radio show. (That is according to Wikipedia; I suspect the numbers are higher.) Clearly, the story resonates.

Most of the adaptations and “inspired by” stories romanticize Peter’s story: Ahhhh, to remain a boy forever! But all that romanticizing occludes the fact that Barrie’s original book had more than a whiff of the tragic. In Barrie’s vision, “forever young” means forever being outgrown and left behind by your friends. At the end of Barrie’s Peter and Wendy (the original title), it’s clear that it is Wendy and her brothers who have chosen the better part by going home to mom and dad, and then to marriages and children of their own. All Peter can do is borrow, for a short time ,other people’s children, only to have them outgrow him and go back home.

Yet Peter’s story resonates in our society. I know more than a couple of single, middle-aged men who have never fully grown up, because they haven’t decided, for whatever reason, to take responsibility for others. There are many reasons for this, each of them sympathetic to some degree. Nevertheless, their situation is far from ideal.

As bachelors in their 30s, the world was their oyster. Their friends were struggling with pregnant wives and mortgages and demeaning jobs; meanwhile, they were pursuing their dreams and keeping open their many romantic options. Settle down? Pshaw! The perfect girl and the perfect life is out there somewhere. I just need to hold out.

As the 40s wore on, however, their bachelorhood took on a kind of bravado that belied their growing loneliness, unease, and bitterness — to which they couldn’t admit, even to themselves.

As one of the still-40s said recently: “I have excelled at my goal of staying free of attachments, and what I have to show for it is a bank account, a pickup truck with a Snug top that I can sleep in, and an occasional invitation to visit a friend who has kids that I can enjoy telling jokes to.”

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Jimmy’s Santee Stroganoff

“People have been coming in for years. They know what they like.”
Next Article

Dennis Martinez leads the swap of guns for skateboards

The re-hab Training Center gets shotguns, .22s, .38s, .45s, and the occasional AR
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close