Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Just a little to say on the “Indians” stereotype in the story of Peter Pan.
It’s been brought up in many different forms - from Barrie’s own treatment to Disney’s horrific portrayal. In the foreword of Peter Pan’s NeverWorld, I explain the wherefore of how I present them.

However, regardless of the way Native Americans are handled in the eternal boy story, let us not forget one essential truth: They’re not the only ones who “suffer” at the onslaught of a cliché. For instance, Mr. Darling can be seen as a parody of fatherhood, Mrs. Darling as the ideal mother (despite “losing” her children!), Wendy is all “girl” and John and Michael Darling have an overlaying desire to be English Gentleman.

Barrie didn’t mean offense. In his day, “Indians” (Native Americans) were a mysterious group in a far away land. Little had been known other than what adventure stories already depicted by stretching some truth.

All in all, I think Barrie shows them as noble, intelligent and with reverence while keeping their (now stereotypical) customary aspects intact. I strove to do the same.

So before bashing Tiger Lily, Great Big Little Panther and their tribe, consider how much Barrie is mocking the English aristocracy as well.

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