Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Capital Idea

There is a small difference between Barrie’s Pan tales and mine by way of some capitalization. Specifically the Native American characters as a race and Pan’s “gang.” i.e. Redskins & Lost Boys.

It’s true, Barrie does not have them with capital letters. Yet I do. Am I being inconsistent, against what I claim? I suppose on one level, yes. But on another, no. (Could have expected that, right?)

Why do I make them proper nouns instead? In the case of the “Redskins” I just think it entirely disrespectful toward the Native Tribes of the Americas that we don’t give them such a distinction. After all, it’s not exactly the nicest way to refer to them. Yet I cannot have them listed as something other than what’s in the original text. (And I give a reason as to Barrie's motives for doing so in my Foreword.)  Thus, I’ve tried to rectify the situation a little by giving them a shred of dignity as per their moniker.

As for the boys... well, they’ve become quite iconic since Barrie first introduced them, no? It’s my belief that we tend to think of them as a “tribe” in their own right, and so I’ve capitalized them now as well. Within the world of Pan [story-wise], tales of the eternal boy are retold and passed down... so who is to say that they haven’t acquired “proper noun” status by the time the events of Peter Pan’s NeverWorld roll around?

I can just hear someone with a counter-argument using this notion [i.e. that the story is passed down over generations] in the sense of being able to therefore disregard any of what’s in the story by chalking it up to being altered by oral tradition. Consider, though, this text from the Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens : ...if you ask her whether he rode on a goat in those days, she says she never heard of his having a goat. Then is it to be believed? Of course it is. For the Narrator goes on to say: Perhaps she has forgotten, just as she sometimes forgets your name and calls you Mildred, which is your mother's name. Still, she could hardly forget such an important thing as the goat. Therefore there was no goat when your grandmother was a little girl. This shows that, in telling the story of Peter Pan, to begin with the goat (as most people do) is as silly as to put on your jacket before your vest.

Therefore, the establishment of certain elements of Peter Pan’s history can’t be ignored or forgotten. We have the cannon text. It [a la the Narrator] obviously knows what from what and when from when, so we have to follow strictly. Something as trivial as whether or not “Lost Boys” is capitalized, though, well, that’s subject to change - either in thought or in the text as per how much importance one winds up placing on them. And as I’ve said, the Lost Boys, in my opinion, have earned the right to be given proper credit with a proper noun.  And the Native People?  Let's give them the respect they deserve, too.

Gee, I’m not too hyper-speculative or anything, am I?  ;)

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