Peter Pan

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Captain Jas. Hook Character Analysis

The pirates’ fearsome leader. When we first meet Hook, he is a classic storybook villain: evil, hairy, and merciless, cruel even to his own crew. He despises Peter and the other children, and dreams of killing them all. Yet from the very beginning we are made to understand that Hook is not quite an ordinary pirate. His greatest viciousness is expressed via politeness, his eyes are an intelligent, “melancholy” blue, and on close examination he looks like a distant member of the British royal family. Before Hook was a pirate, he belonged to a well-known family and attended a prestigious high school. His love for piracy and senseless violence is tempered by a nostalgia for simple ordinary propriety, for a sense of belonging in conventional society. Like the Darling children and the lost boys, he secretly longs to return to the real world, dreary as it may be.

Captain Jas. Hook Quotes in Peter Pan

The Peter Pan quotes below are all either spoken by Captain Jas. Hook or refer to Captain Jas. Hook . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Scholastic Inc edition of Peter Pan published in 2002.
Chapter 14 Quotes

Most disquieting reflection of all, was it not bad form to think about good form? His vitals were tortured by this problem. It was a claw within him sharper than the iron one.

Related Characters: Captain Jas. Hook
Page Number: 153
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, we learn a little about Captain Hook's inner life. Hook thinks of himself as a fine, upstanding adult, trapped in a world of children. He's obsessed with rules and manners, and the highest praise he can think of is referring to something as "good form." But Hook has a problem: he can't think about "good form" without weighing the possibility that it's "bad form" even to think about "good form."

Hook's conundrum is a little bit nonsensical--and that's the point. Hook himself is a cartoonish parody of the adult world--too obsessed with manners, and too wrapped up in the contradictions of good behavior. The parody isn't particularly detailed or insightful (we're not told which rules of politeness Hook is so concerned about, for example) because Hook represents the adult world from the perspective of a child like Peter Pan. The core of the passage is that even though Hook aspires to be "good," relying on manners and politeness to do so, he can't escape the fact that he's an adult, and (unlike a child) can never be intuitively good without thinking about.

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Chapter 15 Quotes

'Pan, who and what art thou?' he cried huskily.
'I'm youth, I'm joy,' Peter answered at a venture, 'I'm a little bird that has broken out of the egg.'
This, of course, was nonsense; but it was proof to the unhappy Hook that Peter did not know in the least who or what he was, which is the very pinnacle of good form.

Related Characters: Peter Pan (speaker), Captain Jas. Hook (speaker)
Page Number: 172
Explanation and Analysis:

Here Peter Pan and Captain Hook have their climactic "showdown." As he stabs Hook in the ribs, Peter tells Hook that he is the embodiment of joy and youth.

Peter's claims seem nonsensical--after all, we've seen that Peter can be selfish and narcissistic to the extreme. And yet Peter possesses an innate goodness and innocence simply because he's a young child--without any effort, he is a "good person."

The passage reinforces Captain Hook's greatest fear. As the embodiment of the adult world, Hook is obsessed with the question of how to be good and proper. But no matter how hard Hook tries, he'll never manage to be intuitively "good," as Peter is. For all his vanity, Hook can never match Peter's natural innocence and instinctive morality.

The other boys were flying around him now, flouting, scornful; and as he staggered about the deck striking up at them impotently, his mind was no longer with them; it was slouching in the playing fields of long ago, or being sent up for good, or watching the wall-game from a famous wall. And his shoes were right, and his waistcoat was right, and his tie was right, and his socks were right.

Related Characters: Captain Jas. Hook
Page Number: 173
Explanation and Analysis:

In this poignant passage, Captain Hook--at this point wounded in the ribs, and sensing that he doesn't have long to live--imagines the days when he was only a child, long ago. Hook is surrounded by young boys who attack him, and furthermore, Hook seems unable to defend himself from the boys' attacks--Barrie notes that his sword is "impotent." As Hook draws closer and closer to death, he daydreams about his carefree youth.

To quote the movie The Wild Bunch, "We all dream of being a child again, even the worst of us. Maybe the worst most of all." Hook, in spite of his fanatical devotion to adult rules and laws, secretly wants to be a child--or at least to return to the natural "good form" of childhood. The passage's mention of Hook's dignified clothes is a little ambiguous, then--it's possible that his association of childhood with such order and formality means that he never really got to enjoy his own childhood freedom, or it could mean that for Hook, childhood's "good form" means that one's clothes are naturally "right," without having to try so hard.

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Captain Jas. Hook Character Timeline in Peter Pan

The timeline below shows where the character Captain Jas. Hook appears in Peter Pan. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: The Flight
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...He tells the children about the island’s crew of vicious pirates. They obey Captain Jas. Hook, a fearsome pirate with a hook for his right hand, which Peter chopped off once... (full context)
Chapter 5: The Island Come True
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...Smee, who is oddly mild and loveable (a bo’sun is a sort of servant). Captain Hook is awful and handsome, with black hair, blue eyes, and a terrible scowl. He wears... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
...time one pirate sees Nibs disappearing into the woods (Nibs is going out to investigate). Hook is determined to find the entrance this time and he tells all the pirates to... (full context)
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
Hook is left alone with Smee, the bo’sun, and he tells Smee obliquely and sentimentally about... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...seven holes in the trees, and they hear the boys talking about Peter’s absence. Captain Hook decides to get them by leaving a very rich and delicious cake on the shore... (full context)
Chapter 8: The Mermaids’ Lagoon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
...he was never one to choose the easy way”. Instead, he addresses the pirates in Hook’s voice and orders them to let the princess go. The confused pirates obey fearfully and... (full context)
Motherhood Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
But in a moment Hook’s actual voice sounds over the water. Hook swims to the boat and climbs in. He... (full context)
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
Hook asks about Princess Tiger Lily, and he is enraged to hear that the others let... (full context)
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
The boys and the pirates engage in a short and bloody fight. Peter and Hook meet at the top of Marooners’ Rock. Peter is about to stab the pirate, but... (full context)
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
In a minute Hook swims rapidly back to his boat: he is fleeing from the ticking crocodile. When the... (full context)
Chapter 12: The Children Are Carried Off
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
...are killed during battle, but a small number, including Princess Tiger Lily, manage to escape. Hook is not really interested in the indians, though; he has come for Peter Pan. He... (full context)
Chapter 13: Do You Believe in Fairies?
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...he climbs up out of his tree, is captured by a pirate, tied, and gagged. Hook displays the tied-up boys to Wendy “with ironical politeness.” Slightly, who is the bulkiest of... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
...the cabin to the ship. When the pirates and their prisoners are out of sight, Hook slides down into the house through Slightly’s tree. He finds Peter sleeping peacefully. Peter sometimes... (full context)
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
Hook is about to attack, but he finds that he can’t undo the latch on Slightly’s... (full context)
Chapter 14: The Pirate Ship
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
Hook’s ship, the Jolly Roger, emits a small green light as it floats. Smee is sewing,... (full context)
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
Every day Hook asks himself whether his behavior has shown good form. He is famous, but is fame... (full context)
Motherhood Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
The other pirates become disorderly, and Hook recovers his steeliness and orders them angrily to drag the children up to the deck.... (full context)
Motherhood Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
...carry Wendy up to deck as well. Wendy is disgusted by the ship’s filth, and Hook becomes self-conscious when he catches Wendy staring contemptuously at his dirty clothes. Hook tries to... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Just as Hook is about to proceed with the execution, he hears the ticking of the crocodile. His... (full context)
Chapter 15: ‘Hook Or Me This Time’
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
...quietly sneaks into the cabin. The other pirates notice that the ticking has stopped and Hook decides to resume the execution. He sends a pirate down into the cabin to get... (full context)
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
Now no other pirate is willing to enter the cabin, so Hook himself charges in. He comes out a minute later without his light, and obviously afraid.... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...that the sound means all the boys have died and they begin to turn against Hook, who is exposing them to such unholy danger. To pacify them, Hook proposes that they... (full context)
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
...shawl, who reveals himself to be Peter. In that moment of shock, says the narrator, Hook’s “fierce heart broke.” Nevertheless, the boys and the pirates begin a bloody battle. In the... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
The time has finally come for Peter to battle Hook. Peter is a wonderful swordsman, but Hook also fights excellently. For a while neither can... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
Suddenly Hook asks Peter who he is. “I’m youth, I’m joy,” Peter answers, and Hook fears that... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
At last, Hook tires of fighting and jumps up onto the side of the ship. Peter is flying... (full context)
Chapter 16: The Return Home
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
...are dressed as pirates, with Peter as their captain. Peter talks and acts just like Hook, and some of the boys think he intends to become a pirate. Wendy makes him... (full context)
Chapter 17: When Wendy Grew Up
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
...Neverland dress is too short. Peter has forgotten about all their old adventures, even about Hook and Tinker Bell. Peter explains that she has probably died, since fairies do not live... (full context)