In the previous chapter I returned to Rose’s thesis about the ‘impossibility of children’s fiction’. Though critical of it in some respects, I also endorsed much of her ‘case’. In this chapter I want to return to its main subject, Peter Pan, for two main reasons. First because of the remarkable coyness of many critics in engaging with this work from a psychoanalytical perspective, even though, as Rose herself says, ‘it is too easy to give an Oedipal reading of Peter Pan’ (Rose, 1984: 35). There seems more to it than this, however, as though the text itself, like Neverland, resists such a reading. This reaction might seem strange, given the play’s historical location, emerging at the very time that the unconscious was itself ‘coming out’ (in the 1890s) as a result of the pioneering work of Freud and others. The second reason for returning to Barrie’s text is because it provides a very useful vehicle not only for undertaking a psychoanalytical reading, but for explicating some of the basic Lacanian concepts that I have used in structuring this book.1 And this, of course, is also the second chapter that I have included in the ‘Imaginary’ part, for it deals with the way that the child figure is idealised. Peter Pan (the boy who would not grow up) is one of its key avatars, though also one that undercuts such a notion — as we shall see.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Peter Pan and the Riddle of Existence
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number