Peter Pan

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Mr. Darling Character Analysis

A fussy, responsible family man. In the beginning of the story, Mr. Darling is always very practical, concerned primarily with money and keeping up appearances. Though he is sometimes childish and insecure, he demands respect from his wife and children, and usually they happily oblige him. But sometimes, when his feelings are hurt, he loses his temper and acts unfairly. He changes quite a lot after the children fly away: his guilt makes him re-examine his behavior and values, and he becomes more cheerful, easy-going, and sentimental, even “quixotic.” Missing his children brings him back to his own childhood.

Mr. Darling Quotes in Peter Pan

The Peter Pan quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Darling or refer to Mr. Darling . 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 1 Quotes

He got all of her, except the innermost box and the kiss. He never knew about the box, and in time he gave up trying for the kiss.

Related Characters: Mrs. Darling , Mr. Darling
Related Symbols: The Kiss
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, we get a sense of J.M. Barrie's whimsy and inventiveness. We're told that Mrs. Darling (the mother of the book's main characters) has a "kiss" on her face. This kiss isn't exactly like the word readers are familiar with--instead, a "kiss" is a kind of dimple symbolizing childlike wonder and freedom. There's no way to explain a kiss--if there were, then anybody could have one, including boring adults like Mr. Darling (who tries, but cannot access, his wife's "kiss"). Instead, the kiss is a symbol of youth and its fleetingness, of unadulterated freedom.

As the passage makes clear, Mrs. Darling is still in touch with her childlike side. Some children feel closer with their mothers than with their fathers--they feel that their mothers understand their needs and desires better. By portraying Mrs. Darling as a close ally to her children, Barrie shows that he's a keen observer of human nature and family dynamics.

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Mr. Darling Character Timeline in Peter Pan

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Darling appears in Peter Pan. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Peter Breaks Through
Motherhood Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...“kiss” – a sort of dimple –seems to hide itself even from loved ones, including Mr. Darling. Mr. Darling does not mind that he can never have the kiss in the... (full context)
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...have three children: Wendy, John, and Michael. They can just barely afford the children on Mr. Darling’s salary. Even so, they want everything to be proper, so they hire a nanny... (full context)
Chapter 2: The Shadow
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
She doesn’t tell Mr. Darling about the shadow until the following Friday. The ill-fated evening begins in an ordinary... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Nana bumps into Mr. Darling and gets some hair on his pants, and he begins to criticize her capacities... (full context)
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
To distract from his embarrassment, Mr. Darling tries to play a clever trick. He pours his creamy-colored medicine into Nana’s bowl.... (full context)
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...senses danger. Mrs. Darling is anxious, but she gathers herself, says goodnight, and leaves with Mr. Darling to a nearby party. When they are safely out of the way, the stars... (full context)
Chapter 11: Wendy’s Story
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
Wendy’s a story is about a couple called Mr. and Mrs. Darling, who had three children and a dog named Nana. When Mr. Darling... (full context)
Chapter 16: The Return Home
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
Mr. Darling, on his end, has felt responsible for the children’s disappearance: he feels they left... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
Mr. Darling comes home. He asks Mrs. Darling to play a song on the piano and... (full context)