The Text that Did Grow Up: How Peter Pan became a Culture Text

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Peter Pan is a character known by virtually everyone who has ever come into contact with western popular culture. There are many texts, films, and theatre productions about him and his story. However, putting the general story presented in these cultural products next to the original texts by J. M. Barrie shows how much the cultural idea of Peter Pan has evolved into something different than the first text in which he appeared. This thesis aims to analyse why the idea of the story behind Peter Pan in the cultural imagination is so distinctly different from any of the texts that were written by its original author, J. M. Barrie. By applying the concept of Paul Davis’ culture-text onto the work and analysing the fluidity of the text as proposed by John Bryant, the thesis will show how different elements in the works characters, setting, and genre have created an environment in which approaching and adapting the central narrative of the work in new ways was a logical step and explains why there are so many versions that all differ in one way or another.
Faculteit der Letteren