Peter Pan

Pdf fan
Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

The Crocodile Symbol Analysis

The Crocodile Symbol Icon
Readers often say that the ticking crocodile represents time – specifically, the movement of time that begins and ends a human life: “the clock will run down, and then he’ll get you.” The crocodile is both vicious and innocent in his pursuit, innocent in obeying a natural impulse and vicious in the narrowness of his goal. His viciousness is the ticking of time in his belly, which seems both to impel him forward, like the gears of a machine, and to set the terms of his eventual satisfaction. The clock is the agent, and the crocodile an obedient vehicle. Hook interprets the crocodile this way too, and so he cowers before him as though the crocodile were fate itself, the sum of death and time. Hook is deathly afraid, but his fear also has something comforting about it, because falling into even the most malevolent arms is a little comforting. Fate ensures that each of us falls into place in some grand model of things, a finally clear map of “good” and “bad” form. So Hook believes. But we as readers know it was not time or fate that set the crocodile in motion – it was Peter, who fed him Hook’s arm. And the crocodile gets his full meal not when the clock runs down, but when Peter gives Hook a final shove. The crocodile’s symbolic function as time, fate, and the inevitable is Hook’s own invention, a trace of Hook's love for a vanished order. In the end, the crocodile’s only symbolic connection to fate is his passive compliance in fulfilling his savage goal of getting Hook. There is nothing sacred about the crocodile’s ticking: Peter can tick just as well and powerfully. What the crocodile, and Hook's belief in the crocodile's status as his fate, is that to impersonate fate is to become fate.
Get the entire Peter Pan LitChart as a printable PDF.
Peter pan.pdf.medium

The Crocodile Symbol Timeline in Peter Pan

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Crocodile appears in Peter Pan. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5: The Island Come True
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...hungry wild animals follow in their tracks, and the last of them is a huge crocodile. Then everything has come full circle, and the lost boys appear again. They talk about... (full context)
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
...wants badly to kill Peter, who cut off his arm and fed it to a crocodile. To this day, the crocodile is trying to finish the meal. Hook has been able... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...The pirates break into celebratory song, but then Hook hears the ticking of the hungry crocodile and they all run off. (full context)
Chapter 8: The Mermaids’ Lagoon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
...a minute Hook swims rapidly back to his boat: he is fleeing from the ticking crocodile. When the boys see Hook’s frightened retreat, but cannot find Wendy or Peter, they assume... (full context)
Chapter 10: The Happy Home
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Motherhood Theme Icon
The Fantastic and the Commonplace  Theme Icon
...Nights, the boys are eating dinner while Peter is out getting the time from the crocodile, whose clock regularly rings out the hour. The meal is a make-believe meal, and the... (full context)
Chapter 14: The Pirate Ship
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
...as Hook is about to proceed with the execution, he hears the ticking of the crocodile. His limbs crumple in terror. He crawls into a corner, and the other pirates prepare... (full context)
Chapter 15: ‘Hook Or Me This Time’
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
When Peter had been tiptoeing through the forest, he saw the infamous crocodile creep by. When he noticed that it was no longer ticking, he himself began ticking,... (full context)
Children and Heartlessness Theme Icon
Fairness and Good Form  Theme Icon
...falls into the ocean with the happy feeling that Peter finally showed bad form. The crocodile is waiting for Hook in the water. The boys are thrilled by their victories but... (full context)