Peter Pan

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The eldest Darling child, a “tidy,” practical girl with a soft spot in her heart for orphaned or abandoned creatures. From an early age, Wendy seems naturally disposed to care for others. When the lost boys tell her that they need “a nice motherly person,” Wendy replies happily, “I feel that is exactly what I am”: she is clearly delighted to complete this symmetry, to be no more and no less. But we also catch glimpses of a very different Wendy, hiding awkwardly behind the “motherly person.” This other Wendy tries over and over for the ‘kiss’ in the corner of Mrs. Darling’s mouth, the kiss she “could never get,” though Peter takes it without trying. She wants to fly and play with mermaids and say “funny things to the stars.” And when she has grown into the mother she was always becoming, the other Wendy wants desperately for the “woman” whom she now lives inside to “let go” of her. Perhaps that desire will one day turn into a hopeless, mysterious ‘kiss’ of her own, forbidden to her own daughter as her mother’s was forbidden to her.

Wendy Quotes in Peter Pan

The Peter Pan quotes below are all either spoken by Wendy or refer to Wendy . 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 6 Quotes

'That doesn't matter,' said Peter, as if he were the only person present who knew all about it, though he was really the one who knew least. 'What we need is just a nice motherly person.'
'Oh dear!' Wendy said, 'you see I feel that is exactly what I am.'

Related Characters: Peter Pan (speaker), Wendy (speaker)
Page Number: 82
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the boys of Neverland have built Wendy a house. Peter and the children discuss the possibility of treating Wendy like a mother.

There are a couple things worth mentioning here. First, notice that Peter clearly fancies himself the leader of the group, even when he's talking about things like mothers, which he clearly doesn't understand at all. Peter isn't as heroic or admirable a character as Wendy had hoped--he's a little irritable. Furthermore, it's interesting to note that the children clearly want a mother-figure in their lives. The boys of Neverland who have been separated from their mothers for some time might want to return to their mothers--pretending that Wendy is their mother is a kind of coping mechanism. The lost boys relish their freedom and lack of responsibility, but they also want a "nice motherly person"--basically to have it both ways. It's also interesting that Wendy seems to embrace adulthood (and already looks forward to being a mother), yet she is given access to Neverland, and becomes friends with Peter. It's as if even Peter himself wants a mother sometimes.

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Chapter 10 Quotes

'You are so queer,' he said, frankly puzzled, 'and Tiger Lily is just the same. There is something she wants to be to me, but she says it is not my mother.'

Related Characters: Peter Pan (speaker), Wendy , Princess Tiger Lily
Page Number: 119
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Peter deals with his own emotional immaturity. Peter senses that the women in his life (Wendy, Tinker Bell, Tiger Lily, etc.) want to be "something" to him. But because Peter has almost no experience interacting with the opposite sex, he has no way of conceiving what this "something" might be.

As we can deduce, Barrie is talking about love and attraction--the girls in the book have crushes on Peter. But Peter, perpetually immature, can't reciprocate the girls' feelings--he's so youthful (and so obsessed with himself) that he can never summon the maturity or desire to love someone in return. Barrie suggests that maturity consists largely of being able to love someone else--young people like Peter are so narcissistic (even if in an innocent way) that romantic love never occurs to them.

Chapter 11 Quotes

"See, dear brothers," says Wendy, pointing upwards, '"there is the window still standing open. Ah, now we are rewarded for our sublime faith in a mother's love."

Related Characters: Wendy (speaker), Mrs. Darling , John , Michael
Page Number: 124
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Wendy tells the children of Neverland a story. In the story, a group of children fly away from home, only to find that, years later, their parents continue to love them and have left a window open for their return.

The story is interesting for a couple reasons. First, the very fact that Wendy is telling the children a story suggests that she's maturing, playing the part of a leader and a guide to the other children. Wendy's new authority among the children is also reflected in the content of her story--Wendy associates herself with motherhood by celebrating mothers in her story. Wendy is still very much a child, of course (she's still in Neverland, after all), but she's clearly starting to pine for her home--hence her story's ending.

Chapter 16 Quotes

If she was too fond of her rubbishy children she couldn't help it. Look at her in her chair, where she has fallen asleep. The corner of her mouth, where one looks first, is almost withered up. Her hand moves restlessly on her breast as if she had a pain there. Some like Peter best and some like Wendy best, but I like her best.

Related Characters: Peter Pan , Wendy , Mrs. Darling
Related Symbols: The Kiss
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Barrie describes Mrs. Darling, a woman who feels an unqualified, complete love for her children, no matter who they are or what they do. Barrie's description is Mrs. Darling is poignant because it emphasizes her tenuous connection to the world of children: her "kiss" (the dimple on her mouth) is almost gone--i.e., her connection to the gentle world of youth is dangling by a thread. Furthermore, the passage emphasizes Mrs. Darling's mortality--note the descrption of the "pain in her breast" (some have suggested that Barrie based Mrs. Darling on a beloved friend who was dying of tuberculosis).

The passage is important because, in claiming that he likes Mrs. Darlin best, Barrie is ultimately throwing his sympathies to the world of kind, empathetic adults, not the world of children. Barrie loves children, and understands them deeply. And yet in the end, he believes that children should not resist growing up to be adults--kind, fun, and gentle adults, with responsibility to other people (above all, to their own children).

Chapter 17 Quotes

Wendy was grown up. You need not be sorry for her. She was one of the kind that likes to grow up. In the end she grew up of her own free will a day quicker than other girls.

Related Characters: Wendy
Page Number: 194
Explanation and Analysis:

At the end of the story, the Darling children return to their day-to-day lives--and in the end, they grow up to be adults. The big question that Barrie poses at the end of his novel is: is growing up bad? Barrie insists that becoming an adult need not be so bad. For someone like Wendy, being an adult has all kinds of advantages. Wendy was always a good leader and a natural mother, who liked to take care of other people. Thus, Wendy's transition to adulthood isn't a hideous curse (as Peter Pan sometimes seemed to think)--rather, it's a blessing, as well as a natural part of life.

The passage further suggests that children who grow up into adults willingly are the most compassionate and sensitive ones. Selfish, wild children like Peter never grow up because they're too concerned with themselves. Wendy, on the other hand, cares too much about taking care of others to want to remain a child forever.

It is only the gay and innocent and heartless who can fly.

Related Characters: Wendy (speaker)
Page Number: 195
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Barrie sums up his point: to be a child is joyful, exciting, but also incredibly selfish. Children, he's shown, are blessed with a natural sense of morality and innocence. But children are also selfish and fickle--they tend to care about themselves far more than they care about others. Only adults can truly care about other people in a lasting, responsible way.

Ultimately, Wendy grows up into a woman because she genuinely cares more about other people than she cares about being young and happy. Wendy is a surprisingly noble character--she loves Neverland, but loves other people more. She's a natural adult and a natural mother--not just to Peter, but to her own child, Jane.

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Wendy Character Timeline in Peter Pan

The timeline below shows where the character Wendy appears in Peter Pan. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Peter Breaks Through
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
When Wendy is a little girl of two, she understands from a wistful comment of her mother’s... (full context)
Motherhood Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
Wendy’s mother, Mrs. Darling, is pretty and imaginative, with some mystery about her. The mystery seems... (full context)
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
Some time after the two are married, they have three children: Wendy, John, and Michael. They can just barely afford the children on Mr. Darling’s salary. Even... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...Neverland, a colorful, magical place full of dangers and joys, and also ordinary everyday things. Wendy, John, and Michael each have their own Neverlands, but as they are siblings their Neverlands... (full context)
Motherhood Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
One day Mrs. Darling asks Wendy to explain Peter Pan, a person she has noticed in the children’s minds. Mrs. Darling... (full context)
Chapter 2: The Shadow
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...is refusing to take a bath, and Mrs. Darling is dressing for her evening out. Wendy and John are pretending to be Mr. and Mrs. Darling on the day of John’s... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
...it without complaint, Mr. Darling brags that he has always taken his medicine very bravely. Wendy helpfully suggests that Mr. Darling take his medicine along with Michael. Mr. Darling had hidden... (full context)
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
Mrs. Darling sadly puts the children to bed. Nana is barking loudly outside, and Wendy explains that the dog senses danger. Mrs. Darling is anxious, but she gathers herself, says... (full context)
Chapter 3: Come Away, Come Away!
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
Wendy wakes up and they introduce themselves. She is surprised by Peter’s short name and his... (full context)
Motherhood Theme Icon
Wendy takes offense at his ingratitude and hides in bed. Peter Pan then becomes apologetic and... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
Peter tells Wendy that he ran away from his father and mother to live with the fairies in... (full context)
Motherhood Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...very wonderful childish laugh. When he lets her out, she is angry and rude, but Wendy is enchanted nonetheless. “She is a quite a common fairy,” Peter says, explaining that Tink... (full context)
Motherhood Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...to listen to stories, since neither he nor the lost boys know any good stories. Wendy tells him the end of Cinderella, which Mrs. Darling has been reciting for the children... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Peter asks Wendy to come with him and tell stories to all the boys. He tempts her by... (full context)
Chapter 4: The Flight
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
Wendy, John and Michael fly for many days and nights in the direction of Neverland. They... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...fire at them anyway, and the blast blows them apart. Peter drifts out to sea, Wendy shoots up with Tinker Bell, and the two boys fly somewhere else entirely. Tink decides... (full context)
Chapter 5: The Island Come True
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...boys that he saw a large white bird flying through the sky and calling “Poor Wendy.” Soon they see the bird flying toward them, and they see Tinker Bell scolding and... (full context)
Chapter 6: The Little House
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
The boys all gather around Wendy, and they realize she is not really a bird. Tootles is very sad to have... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...Tootles takes responsibility for the death, Peter Pan almost stabs him with an arrow. But Wendy’s hand holds him back. She is alive: Peter’s button, which she wears as a necklace,... (full context)
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
The boys decide to build a house around the very spot where Wendy lies, so as not to disturb her. They bring her nice things from their underground... (full context)
Motherhood Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
The boys quickly finish Wendy’s house, and they make it just as she asks them to: it has red walls,... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Home Under The Ground
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
The next day, Peter measures Michael, John, and Wendy and makes tree holes to fit their figures. The underground home is one large room.... (full context)
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
...be boys. After switching sides, they continue the battle. There is also the story of Wendy and the cake: Wendy never lets the boys eat the overly rich cake, no matter... (full context)
Chapter 8: The Mermaids’ Lagoon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...is a little like the colors you see if you close your eyes very tightly. Wendy, Peter, and the lost boys spend many warm days swimming there, and listening to the... (full context)
Motherhood Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
Wendy always makes sure the boys take a half an hour’s rest after lunch, and on... (full context)
Motherhood Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...boys have found a mother. Smee does not know the meaning of the word, and Wendy exclaims in surprise and compassion. Hook points to a Never bird sitting on top of... (full context)
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
...fleeing from the ticking crocodile. When the boys see Hook’s frightened retreat, but cannot find Wendy or Peter, they assume the two have left already and happily fly home. But Peter... (full context)
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
Suddenly, they feel something small touch them: Michael’s kite. Peter ties it around Wendy’s waist and it carries her off to safety. Soon he is alone, and the mermaids... (full context)
Chapter 9: The Never Bird
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
...on her eggs, and Peter uses the nest to float to shore. Soon, Peter and Wendy are home with the other boys. (full context)
Chapter 10: The Happy Home
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...outside the boys’ home. The boys don’t like the way the tribe idolizes Peter, but Wendy doesn’t want to speak against him: “father knows best.” (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...Peter comes home, and the boys crowd happily around him. They insist on dancing, despite Wendy and Peter’s dignified protests, so the whole family sings and dances. (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
Before the dance, though, Peter and Wendy have an odd conversation. They talk about the boys exactly as though they were their... (full context)
Motherhood Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...lovely, says the narrator, because they don’t know that it is to be their last. Wendy settles everyone into bed and begins to tell their favorite story. It is a story... (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... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
...love. But Peter hates it. “You are wrong about a mother’s love,” he says to Wendy. He once felt about mothers as she did, he says; but when he returned to... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Wendy is stricken with fear, and she decides that she and her brothers must return home... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
When Wendy sees the boys’ disappointed faces, she invites them to come with her. She assures them... (full context)
Chapter 13: Do You Believe in Fairies?
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...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 the boys, is very difficult to... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
The pirates put Wendy and the boys in Wendy’s cabin and carry the cabin to the ship. When the... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
...by a tapping on his door. It is Tinker Bell, and she tells Peter that Wendy and the boys have been tied and hauled away. Peter is about to run after... (full context)
Chapter 14: The Pirate Ship
Motherhood Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
The pirates prepare to drown the boys. They carry Wendy up to deck as well. Wendy is disgusted by the ship’s filth, and Hook becomes... (full context)
Chapter 15: ‘Hook Or Me This Time’
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...chains. Peter and the children then emerge from the cabin quietly. Peter sneaks over to Wendy, unties her, puts on her shawl, and takes her place. Then he crows again. The... (full context)
Chapter 16: The Return Home
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
...just like Hook, and some of the boys think he intends to become a pirate. Wendy makes him an outfit from Hook’s old clothes, and he holds his finger bent like... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
Now the narrator jumps to Wendy and her brother’s old home. The narrator considers telling the Darlings in advance about the... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
...and Tinker Bell fly in. Peter has come to shut the nursery window, so that Wendy might feel forgotten and return to Neverland. But when he sees Mrs. Darling cry quietly... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
...but just then she begins to play the piano again, and they sigh with relief. Wendy decides that they should all climb into their beds, so that when she comes in... (full context)
Chapter 17: When Wendy Grew Up
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...Peter too, but he refuses. He will live in Neverland with Tinker Bell. He asks Wendy to come with him, and she almost says yes, but Mrs. Darling reminds Wendy that... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Peter returns for Wendy the following year, though she is embarrassed that her old Neverland dress is too short.... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...that he skipped a year. He does not come for a long time afterwards, and Wendy grows up and becomes a woman. All the boys become ordinary men, with jobs and... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
Wendy gets married, and soon she has a daughter named Jane. Mrs. Darling is no longer... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
One night, when Wendy is knitting and Jane is asleep, Peter Pan flies in through the window. He hasn’t... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
When Peter understands that Wendy has grown up, he begins to cry, and his sobs wake Jane. She asks him... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
Wendy becomes old, and now it is Margaret, Jane’s daughter, that does Peter’s spring cleaning. It... (full context)