Category Archives: Pirates

Fantasy or Reality: Analyzing Pirates in Peter Pan

© Copyright 2011, Ethan Krebs, Justin Levine

James Matthew, Barrie. Nursery Peter Pan. Ed. Olive Jones. Liverpool: Brockhampton Press Ltd, 1961. Print.

 Pirates have been prominent in society’s dominant culture for centuries. Pirates are portrayed in countless ways. Some pirates are portrayed as good people stealing from the rich and giving to the poor while others are shown as scoundrels with a lust for murder. In any case, pirates are a dominant grouping of characters in the text Nursery Peter Pan. The original author of the Peter Panbooks was J.M. Barrie. This adaptation of the text was first published in 1961 by author Olive Jones. The text was written for a children’s audience but can also be enjoyed by an older range of people. The text has both colour and black and white illustrations. The colour illustrations were created by Mable Lucie Attwell while the black and white drawings were done by J.S. Goodall. The text and the illustrations flow nicely together to create a balanced book that can be appreciated by all readers. In this exhibit, the category of pirates in Peter Pan will be examined. To start, research has been done to uncover facts about real life pirates in history and compare them to the pirates in Nursery Peter Pan. Pirates in Nursery Peter Pan will also be explained as a whole and how they interact throughout the text. Also, pirates in Peter Pan will be compared to the Hollywood movie Pirates of the Caribbean. The overall critical connection for this exhibit will to determine how accurate pirates in real life history were compared to pirates in Nursery Peter Pan and Pirates of the Caribbean. Similarities and differences will be discussed throughout the exhibit and it will illustrate the facts about the pirates themselves. Ethan Krebs will be discussing pirates in Nursery Peter Pan as a whole, while Justin Levine will be explaining the connection to Pirates of the Caribbean

The Pirates in Peter Pan

Every story needs an antagonist and there are a perfect set of villains in the text Nursery Peter Pan. The text itself follows the original story of Peter Pan but brings it down to simpler level so that it could be appreciated and read by anyone. In case you haven’t read or heard of Peter Pan, here is a brief description of the text. The book starts off following the lives of Wendy, John and Michael Darling. It seems that their parents are out for the night so in swoops Peter Pan. Peter Pan can be described as the boy who never grew up. Peter Pan, with the help of his fairy friend Tinker Bell, sprinkles fairy dust on the kids which gives them the ability to fly. The kids, along with Peter Pan and Tinker Bell, fly to Never Never Land where they meet the Lost Boys. The Lost Boys are Peter Pan’s crew. Throughout the text, the readers discover that not all is right in Never Never Land. Peter Pan has

The crocodile that ate Captain Hooks hand. It is Hooks greatest fear.

nemesis. This nemesis is named James Hook, otherwise known by his more familiar name, Captain Hook. Hook is seeking revenge on Peter Pan for the loss of his hand. Hook is described in the book to be fearless except for when the crocodile appears. The crocodile is the one who ate Hooks hand in the first place. There are many twists and turns throughout the book. Hook has many attempts at revenge but the overall ending of the book leads to Captain Hook’s demise along with the rest of his pirate crew. The three Darling children eventually make it home and Peter Pan returns to Never Never Land.

The pirates in the text constantly antagonize all the other characters in the book. As said before, the leader of the pirate crew in Nursery Peter Pan is Captain Hook. Hook can be described as many things in this text. He plays both sides of the spectrum. In some cases, he comes off as goofy, stupid and arrogant. In other cases he has the tendency of being a cold, hard, sociopathic killer. His character description tends to fluctuate throughout the text. There is no real clear objective or answer on why Hook is the way he is. Since the beginning of the text he had his mind set on terrorizing Peter Pan and everyone acquainted with him. The other pirates on the ship do not really have real names and they often change.

Captain Hook and his first mate Smee causing trouble

They are often referred to as the crew or mates. The other pirates on the ship are regarded as emotionless, yet loyal. They listen to Hook’s every demand and do what their captain says. They do not really have a personality in the book other than taking orders. The only other pirate in Nursery Peter Pan who is really addressed as a character is Hook’s first mate named Bartholomew Quigley Smeethington, or generally called Smee. Smee is portrayed as a bumbling idiot in the text. If this were a television show, Smee would be the comic relief. Smee often comes up with stupid ideas and Hook is there to correct him. J.S. Goodall did a really good job creating the black and white pictures in the text. The black and white pictures of the pirates really show their evil side, while also showing how goofy and stupid they can be at other times. The overall impression of the pirates in Nursery Peter Pan is that they have a split personality. Hook displays the characteristics of being both goofy and evil. Overall, his evil side comes out more than his other personalities. In the text Hook, along with the other pirates, do countless horrible acts towards Peter Pan and his friends. There are three main things that Hook and the other pirates do in the text which I personally consider beyond evil. The first thing Hook and his crew do is kidnapping Tiger Lily. Tiger Lily is the Indian chief’s daughter. Hook kidnaps her in order to get closer to Peter Pan. This is evil because she is a child. Hook and the pirates are willing to let an innocent girl die just so that they can get a hold of Peter Pan. Of course, Hook’s plan is spoiled but nonetheless he intended to kill both the girl and Peter Pan. The next evil thing Hook and the pirates do is poisoning Peter Pan’s medicine. Tinker Bell learns of this and drinks it herself before Peter Pan can. This almost leads to Tinker Bell’s death, again showing that the pirates will stop at nothing unless Peter Pan is dead. The last evil thing they do is kidnapping the kids and almost making them walk the plank. The main similarities between these three evils is that Hook and the pirates are willing to kill innocent children. They have no gain if they succeed in killing Peter Pan or the others. What do they really accomplish? Even though this is a children’s book, it shows that the pirates are sociopathic killers.

The pirates kidnapping Tiger Lily in order to kill Peter Pan

The real question here is: were pirates in real life actually this brutal? J.M. Barrie came up with the character of Captain Hook based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island character, Long John Silver. Barrie did extensive research on pirates before he wrote his Peter Pan books. The truth of the matter is that what Captain Hook did in Nursery Peter Pan wasn’t even half as bad compared to what some other pirates did. Historically, pirates were found to show no mercy. Forget about making you walk the plank, they would simply slit your throat and throw you off the ship. Although brutal and ruthless, the pirates were usually after something. If you had something the pirates wanted, they would simply kill you for it. The pirates in Nursery Peter Pan were dulled down to suit a wider audience. Overall, the facts show that pirates were indeed more brutal than in Nursery Peter Pan and that technically, the characterization of pirates in Nursery Peter Pan is historically accurate. 

The Pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates in Hollywood are portrayed in many different fashions. In general, people were afraid of pirates because pirates were governed by their own pirate code, and they did not follow the law of the land. They were known to be ruthless and violent and would use any means necessary to take whatever they wanted. Most movies base their pirate interpretations on this premise. The pirates in Nursery Peter Pan were no different, although they were tempered for a young audience. The main antagonist in the tale of Peter Pan was Captain James Hook, the lead pirate causing peril and mayhem to Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. It would be fair to say that the evil pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean were based on the same model as Captain Hook and his gang. Both sets of pirates have the same attitude and goals as recounted in historical accounts of typical pirates. 

 At one point in Pirates of the Caribbean, Captain Barbosa, the captain of the Black Pearl, a haunted pirate ship, is described as ‘a man so evil that hell itself spat him back out’. Captain Hook can be seen in the same way. Barbosa’s kidnapping of Elizabeth, the governor’s daughter of the film, parallels that of Captain Hook’s kidnapping of Tiger Lily. Captain Hook threatens to kill Tiger Lily in order to learn the location of Peter’s hideout.

Barbosa’s men are willing to kill the innocent character Elizabeth in order to lift their curse; however, she is not the only innocent character that the pirates are willing to kill. The pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean were seen invading the town, destroying anything in their way, including defenseless people. The pirates show no mercy, and this is how typical pirates behave in Hollywood films. These are the type of pirates who are the most fearsome. Captain Hook and his gang attempted to murder children by making them walk the plank on their infamous ship named “The Jolly Roger”. These were innocent children.

 Pirates in film and fiction, as in real life, are shown to be motivated primarily by greed. In Pirates of the Caribbean, there are two kinds of pirates – the typical ones and the ones who are pirates that are also “good men”.  Captain Jack Sparrow, the main character in this film, falls into the latter category. Captain Hook falls into the classification of a typical, evil pirate. Unlike most portrayals of pirates, Captain Jack Sparrow is not portrayed as a “bad guy”.  Captain Jack certainly does things to achieve his own ends, but he is not portrayed as violent and uses his cleverness to get what he wants, outsmarting both other pirates and representatives of the British government and making all of them look foolish along the way. Captain Barbosa, on the other hand, more closely fits Hollywood’s typical definition of a pirate and shares many similar characteristics with Captain Hook in Nursery Peter Pan. Hook tries to get revenge on Peter Pan due to the fact that Peter cut off his hand and it was eaten by the crocodile that is always following him, hoping for more of the same. Captain Jack wants revenge on Barbosa, his former first mate, for inciting the mutiny and taking his ship, the Black Pearl. While Hook and Jack are both motivated by revenge in these stories, Jack is willing to help others as long as it doesn’t conflict with his own objectives. Jack’s character does not conform to the typical historical representation of a pirate, which is why the Hollywood scriptwriters created the evil pirates in order to balance out Jack’s uniqueness. The typical historical pirate sailed the seven seas, violently destroying any ship that came within a certain distance, murdering all the innocent people on board with no motive. The aftermath of one such incident is shown at the beginning of Pirates of the Caribbean.

 In the majority of Hollywood movies in which pirates are the antagonists, there are the protagonists trying to bring them down. The audience is usually able to relate to the protagonists and is usually rooting for them to defeat the pirates. That is not the case in Pirates of the Caribbean, where Captain Jack Sparrow is the unlikely hero. In one sense, some may even compare Peter Pan to Captain Jack Sparrow in the sense that both are mischievous and have a child-like quality. They both reject the establishment and live by their own rules. Neither one was clearly good or bad by societal standards. In effect, even

though the Darling children went willingly, Peter pirated them from their parent’s house during the night to achieve his own ends – he wanted Wendy to tell him stories and act as a pseudo-mother to him. The pirates in Nursery Peter Panall abide by the rules of Captain Hook, following him around like his pets obeying his every command, which is a requirement of the pirate code. They are not individually mentioned other than Smee, the pirate that acts as the comic relief of the story. The lack of addressing other pirates generally shows the reader that all the pirates share the same attitude as their leader. They follow in the footsteps of their captain just as the pirates on the Black Pearl all go nameless

Captain Hook aboard his pirate ship giving orders to his crew

and follow in the footsteps of their captain  Hollywood’s representation of pirates goes back to some of the first movies ever made that starred buccaneers, such as Treasure Island in 1912 and The Black Pirate in 1926. In both of these movies, a Captain led the crew. The story of Peter Pan came into existence in 1902 where it was found inside a story written by J.M. Barrie called The Little White Bird. The pirates first made their appearance in this story and were then later adapted to Hollywood films in many different variations. In all adaptations of the Peter Pan stories, the pirates always played the roles of the antagonists and Captain Hook always led the pack. The pirates in Nursery Peter Pan and in Pirates of the Caribbean are described in a more comical way and are less sinister and ruthless than reports of actual historical pirates.


In many cases, the depiction of pirates in films is somewhat sanitized when compared to historical pirates in an effort to make them more entertaining and less disturbing to the viewer. This applies even more in films and stories that are geared towards a younger audience, such as Nursery Peter Pan. J.M. Barrie used his extensive research on pirates to create believable images of pirates, even though they are watered-down in Nursery Peter Pan. Overall, our research concludes that in Jones’ adaptation of Nursery Peter Pan, Olive Jones’ portrayal is an accurate representation of the spirit of pirates, while eliminating the gory details. 


Barrie, James Matthew. Nursery Peter Pan. Ed. Olive Jones. Liverpool: Brockhampton Press Ltd,              1961. Print.

Beetles, Chris. Mabel Lucie Attwell. London: Antique Collectors’ Club, 1997. Print.

Birkin, Andrew, and Sharon Goode. J.M. Barrie & the Lost Boys: [the Real Story behind Peter              Pan]. New Haven: Yale UP, 2003. Print. 

Kavey, Allison B., and Lester D. Friedman, eds. Second Start To The Right: Peter Pan in the                  Popular Imagination. London: Rutgers UP, 2009. Print

Kuhn, Gabriel. Life under the Jolly Roger: Reflections on Golden Age Piracy. Oakland, CA: PM,          2010. Print.

“Pirate Code of Conduct. “ELIZABETHAN ERA. Web. 09 Nov. 2011. <http://www.elizabethan-        >.

Stacy, Jan, and Ryder Syvertsen. The Great Book of Movie Villains: a Guide to the Screen’s              Meanies, Tough Guys, and Bullies. Chicago: Contemporary, 1984. Print.

Surrell, J. Pirates of the Caribbean: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies. San Val                     Incorporated, 2005. Print

Pirates in The Peter Pan Picture Book and Morfar är Sjörövare

© 2011, Chris Johnston, Gustav Berg

O’Connor, Daniel. The Peter Pan Picture Book: An Illustrated Narrative of J.M. Barrie’s                Classic. Ill Alice B Woodward. Reprint of the 1907 ed. New York: Derrydale Books,            1980. Print.

The Peter Pan Picture Book


In this document we will make a comparison between the books The Peter Pan Picture Book and Morfar är Sjörövare, the title translates to “Grandpa is a Pirate”. We will look how the pirates are portrayed and analyze the books’ messages to the reader. We think that  belonging to the “right” country and/or ethnicity is a strong message in the books. So why do we analyze children’s literature? Our answer to that question is a quote by Peter Neumeyer “We simply must have faith that as students understand more, they enjoy more” (147). That has been our driving force in this project. Both books are interesting as historical documents from their time and place. We think that by analyzing them we will understand their context and appreciate the books more even though we might not agree with their messages. We also think that there are surprising similarities between these two books.

Alice B. Woodward (1862-1951) was an English illustrator from a family of artists and scientists (Beare). The illustrations for The Peter Pan Picture Book was made on plates and is one of her more influential works considering the book has been in print since its first publication. It is interesting to note that this is her first printed work in colour (Beare). Jan Lööf (1940) is a Swedish author and illustrator mostly known for his picture books for children (Nordvik). He has won several Swedish awards and is mostly known for the book and the show “Skrot-Nisse”, Nisse the Junk Man, which has a cult following. Very little of his work is known outside of Scandinavia. Lööf’s trademark in his books are machines, real or fantasy. Christopher Johnston has written the category part about pirates and the conclusion. Gustav Berg has written the introduction and the context part about Morfar är Sjörövare.


How the political state of the day influenced how the pirates were depicted in Morfar är Sjörövare.

Morfar är Sjörövare was released in 1966. This was amidst of what in Sweden is known as the “record years”,  which was the time period from the end of WW2 to the oil crisis in 1973 (Schön 367). The period known as the “record years” was a time of steady economic growth in Sweden, and that gave the government the ability to increase the living standard of most people (Stenmo 33). A result of this stability can be sensed in the book as it has an an aire of peace and security to it, even the conflicts are resolved “nicely”. We see it in a general way throughout the book on the people’s facial expressions, no one is ever displaying real anger or happiness. The book released  during a period in the cold war when the United States started war in Indochina and the relations between the young state of Israel and some of the Middle Eastern states was unstable, with two super powers supporting each side. This focus and interest on countries outside of the western world might be the reason we see Arabs in this story.. However this paper takes its point out of a re-release in 1975 and due to global events the story can be interpreted very differently.

The Yom Kippur war that took place in October 1973 between Egypt and Syria on one side and Israel on the other (Rabinovich xv). The conflict had a big impact on the Western world as well. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which represents most oil selling countries  of the Middle East, refused to sell oil to the countries helping Israel, mainly the United States and then the Netherlands. In January of 1974 the OPEC countries agreed of a price adjustment of the oil price which meant that since October of 1973 to January of 1974 the price of raw oil had increased with 400% (Bjereld 197). As an effect, the Swedish government decided to introduce ration laws for oil. These rations laws were abandoned in the first quarter of 1974 (Bjereld 207). Though not long lasting, the Yom Kippur war may have changed the portrayal of people with Middle Eastern background. In Morfar är Sjörövare the antagonist is the pirate Omar, a man that looks like he comes from the Middle East. He kidnaps Grandpa not with force but with cunning trickery; drilling a hole in grandpas pirate ship and capturing Grandpa and his crew from behind. The boy helps Grandpa to free himself by handing him a shovel, so he can dig himself out and win in a duel over Omar. The boy and Grandpa then run away since they are vastly outnumbered, and escape via an air ship. This suggest to the readers that the Arabs are cunning, and although there are many of them, a Swede/Westerner will win in a one on one battle against them.

The pictures

In our opinion the pictures represents two main categories. Firstly, the pictures reinforce a male stereotype. Secondly, the pictures portray Arabs as a people that are different from Westerners. The pictures are also easy to identify with for the reader, which would make the message of the book for the reader more effective. We see the male stereotype and male as the norm in many ways in the book. There is only one woman with any influence at all in this story, and that is the boys grandma. She says grandpas stories are only imaginative and she therefore only represents a hindrance to the boy and grandpa to have an adventure and some fun. They also has to sneak past her when they start their adventure and they have, conveniently, lost all evidence of their adventure when they get back. We see this as a way of telling the reader that this is a book mainly for boys, and if your a girl listening to the story there will be no one for you to identify with, except maybe Grandma, and she is boring.

Grandpa is wearing a black hat with a skull on it, a red coat, an orange dress shirt, beige gloves and pants and black boots. Omar has a long black beard, and wears an earring of gold, a green turban with a diamond garnish, blue “Alladin”-pants, pointed shoes, a grey coat and golden neck warmer. Omar’s style is more gaudy or feminine, he even has longer nails. Omar loses in this book so therefore it could be implied that displaying femininity makes you weaker and therefore you lose.

Grandpa himself, is portrayed as a man of action and in control of his feelings, his behaviour is stereotypical male.  His lack of emotional display is almost profound, he smiles at five different places in the book, and the biggest smile is when he is engaged in a fight . He is mildly upset when he gets kidnapped and when the airship is sinking, but show no signs of fear which would have been appropriate in those situations. Grandpa does not comfort the boy nor does he thank him when the boy hands him the shovel that helps him escape from his prison cell. His inability to show emotions is a classical male stereotype, and something the boy can be assumed to pick up since grandpa is the closest role model to the boy in the book. Omar and his men are portrayed very differently than the pirates on Grandpas boat. Omar’s men are also drawn in the same way, they look like identical twins. Grandpa’s men are all drawn with individual characteristics and personalities. This could suggest to the readers that Westerners are individuals and the leader only has slightly more power, whereas the Arabs are one indistinguishable group that follows an omnipotent leader.

According to Scott McCloud it is easier for a reader to identify with a character if it is drawn in a more cartoonish or simplistic way than if it is to realistic (36). The argument is that a character with more general characteristics will be easier to identify with since the characteristics apply to more people than a character that is drawn realisticly. The pictures in grandpa is a pirate are cartoonish and should therefore be easy to identify with. Identification is perhaps further improved by the fact that the only character with a “proper” name is the antagonist Omar. This could then suggest that the interpretation of Arabs the other is reinforced to the reader by the easy identification of the main character. Having this images and values presented to you at an early age would sets the foundation for your symbolism (Nodelman 106), in this story following the Western tradition. We realize that every mind will have a starting point set somewhere and we do not think that Jan Lööf had a secret agenda behind it . We see it more as an example of the time, with all that it implies.

We are not implying that Jan Lööf tries to promote a negative view towards Arabs, the story is testament to a time where our contacts with other cultures where more naive. We also recognize that Omar is one of few racialised characters in a picture book for children at that time.  However we think that during certain circumstances, the story could contribute to the formation of negative views against Arabs.

This is even more interesting due to the fact that Jan Lööf himself writes, in his book Jan Lööfs serier vol1, that anti-racism is a question that is very close to him, but that it is mostly focused on African-Americans and jazz-music. It could be that he had not reflected over these matters and Omar and his companions reflected the common mans view of people from the middle east at the time.


Political state of England at the time of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan

As Mary Brewer explains, “at the turn of the twentieth century, theatrical and literary ideas of race constituted important components of British public discourse, which helped shape the common understanding or radicalized subjects and related rationales for the subjugation of racial others” (387). Racial others in this context would be non-English looking whites.  As is the case with most fairy tales, in the story of Peter Pan there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ characters. A sense of British imperialism during this period suggests that in Peter Pan the Boys and Pan represent ‘good’ white Englishmen, and Captain Hook as a ‘bad’ racial other (Brewer 389). Based on the heightened sense of British imperialism during this period, perhaps Neverland is a depiction of the young, independent country the United States. Much like the United States, Neverland has native peoples, a land of opportunity and exploration that is separated from England by water, inhabited by pirates and native indians (racial others), and crocodiles. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century literary and theatrical devices were used to support patriotism and a sense of imperialism to the British public especially the middle and working class (Banham 157).  These devices such as books,  provided a romanticized view of the British empire to its public.  O’Connor & Woodward’s The Peter Pan Picture Book, adapted from J.M. Barrie’s screenplay provides examples supporting the previous statement that the Boys and Pan are ‘good’ white Englishmen. In order to avoid walking the plank, Captain Hook provides an option to the Boys. Hook proposes to the Boys that if they join his ship they would not have to walk the plank, but to do so they must proclaim, “down with King Edward” (O’Connor and Woodward 87). To this neither of the boys would agree to and as such, Captain Hook deemed that their “doom was sealed” (O’Connor and Woodward 87). Being the brave young Englishmen that they are, the Boys who would not declare down with King Edward and proceeded to sing “Rule Britannia” in the face of Captain Hook as he was attempting to force them to walk the plank (O’Connor and Woodward 88). Finally, the fate of the pirate Smee who was, “not so wicked as the rest of the crew” turned into a “reformed character and a brave sailor in His Majesty’s Fleet” once the crew disbanded following Captain Hook’s death (O’Connor and Woodward 92). The reformation of Smee from a ‘bad’ pirate to a brave sailor in the British navy further shows the British imperial undertones found in The Peter Pan Picture Book.

The role of gender in the Peter Pan Picture Book

Michael Egan argues that the serious study of children’s literature began with Freud who discovered evidence in folk and fairy tales to support his theory of the unconscious (37). Egan suggests that Neverland represents a child’s unconscious and that an Oedipal relationship exists between Peter Pan and Captain Hook (39). In the center of Neverland is Captain Hook, Peter Pan’s once greatest enemy as well an enemy to all children (Egan 47). Captain Hook as a pirate was not portrayed as a grungy, classless man, but instead a handsome one who enjoys quality clothing, music, drink, and a sharp mind (Egan 49). If an Oedipal relationship exists between Peter Pan and Captain Hook, then Pan must be the son and Hook the father. Peter Pan’s victory over Hook adds to this. In the Peter Pan Picture Book Wendy was portrayed in a motherly manner to the boys while in Neverland. Aside from the obvious age difference between Pan and Hook the aforementioned interests of Hook in conjunction with his ship, crew of other pirates, and suave nature makes him seem more mature or fatherly in comparison to the children. In the part of the book where Captain Hook captures the boys, Egan states that Hook charmingly escorts Wendy away from her home because she was fascinated and entranced by his gentlemanly personality (51). Wendy taking on a motherly role in the book, as well as the characteristics indicated of Captain Hook, and Peter Pan representing eternal childhood shows the Oedipal triangle of mother, father, and son. In the final battle, Hook, having trouble fighting against Pan asks whom he is fighting to which Pan replies “I’m youth, I’m joy. I’m a little bird that has broken out of the egg.” (O’Connor and Woodward 91). Pan then pushes Hook off his own ship and into the jaws of the crocodile who already had taste of his hand. By Peter Pan defeated Captain Hook, he must replace Hook as the father in the Oedipal role with Wendy. This is seen at the end of the book where Pan and Wendy exchange a kiss in combination with Pan and the Lost Boy’s desire for a mother in Neverland.


The imagery of pirates/Captain Hook in the Peter Pan Picture Book

Captain Hook is shown in The Peter Pan Picture Book as a tall, slender, dark haired man whose right hand is a hook. This image is shown in a print corresponding to the text on page 91. The text of that page depicts the Boys and Hook fighting on the ship. While fighting Hook is shown toting two pistols, one in his left hand, one tucked in his sash, and his hook held up in the air as if ready to strike down. He has a mean snarl on his face and an aggressive confrontational stance. The images of Pan from the Peter Pan Picture Book arguably set the standard to which Captain Hook and his pirate crew would look like in other forms of media proceeding the first 1907 publication. Captain Hook is portrayed in a less cartoonish, more realistic way than Grandpa from Grandpa is a Pirate.  McCloud states that images drawn realistically are done in order to objectify them and emphasize certain characteristics that may separate them as different (44).



Through our exploration of the political state of the respective countries to which Morfar är Sjörövare (Grandpa is a Pirate) and The Peter Pan Picture Book we found that it played an important role in the works’ content. During the 1960s when Morfar är Sjörövare was written and first published, Sweden was experiencing a steady economic growth with high levels of equality amongst classes. The second print came following the Yom Kippur War which took place in the middle east, the same place that the protagonist Omar is depicted to rein from. The Peter Pan Picture Book was written during a sense of British imperialism and a heightened sense of patriotism. This was a period of British pride and loyalty. Captain Hook was anti-England as he made the boys declare down with the King if they were to join his rank of multicultural pirates. We also found that an Oedipal relationship exists between Peter Pan as the son, Wendy as a mother, and Captain Hook in a Oedipal father role. In Morfar är Sjörövare there is only one woman with any importance to the story, the Grandmother. It was found that stereotypical 21st century ideology of men and women was found in Morfar är Sjörövare in regards to Grandpa’s actions towards his grandson and the Grandma’s representation of hinderance of imagination. As one can see, these books written at different times, in different countries has created a vastly different interpretation and presentation of pirates. But nonetheless they present to the reader a view back to the day they were released and in some cases an understanding that the interpretation of the story can change in as little as ten years.



Beare, Geoffrey. “Woodward, Alice B.”  The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature.       Edited by Jack Zipes. Oxford University Press 2006.  Ryerson University.  23                       November 2011  <                               subview=Main&entry=t204.e3451>

Bjereld, Ulf. Svensk Mellanösternpolitik. En studie av Sveriges agerande och                             ställningstaganden gentemot konflikterna i Mellanöstern 1947-1985. Stockholm:                   Carlssons bokförlag, 1989. Print.

Brewer, Mary. “Peter Pan and the White Imperial Imagery.” New Theatre Quarterly 23               (2007) 387-392. Web. 17 Oct. 2011.

Egan, Michael. “The Neverland of Id: Barrie, Peter Pan, and Freud.” Children’s                         Literature 10 (1982) 37-55. Web. 17 Oct. 2011.

McCloud. Scott. Understanding Comics – The Invisible Art. New York: Kitchen Sink Book.        1993. Print.

Neumeyer. Peter. “Children’s Literature in the English Department.” Children’s Literature          Association Quarterly. 12.3 (1987): 145-50. Print.

O’Connor, Daniel. The Peter Pan Picture Book: An Illustrated Narrative of J.M. Barrie’s            Classic. Ill Alice B Woodward. Reprint of the 1907 ed. New York: Derrydale Books,            1980. Print.

Nodelman, Perr. Words about pictures -The Narrative Art of Children’s Picture Books.              Athens, GA: Uuniversity of Georgia Press, 1988. Print.

Nordvik, Enar. jan lööf. Web. Nov 13. 2011. <>.

Rabinovich, Abraham. The Yom Kippur War – The Epic Encounter That Transformed the            Middle East. New York: Schocken Books, 2004. Print.

Schön, Lennart. En Modern Svensk Ekonomisk Historia: Tillväxt och Omvandling Under två       Sekel. Stockholm: Sns Förlag, 2007. Print.

Stenmo, Sven. The Evolution of Modern State -Sweden, Japan, and the United States.             New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010. Print.

tags: O’Connor, Woodward, Alice B., J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan Picture Book, Peter Pan, Morfar är Sjörövare, Grandpa is a Pirate, pirates, Captain Hook, Neverland, Chris Johnston, Gustav Berg

Sindbad as an Anti-Pirate?

© Copyright 2011, Michael Drimba and Matthew Haddad (CLA website licensed with Creative Commons License, authors retain copyright)

Ludmila Zeman. Sindbad in the Land of Giants. Toronto: Tundra, 2001. Print.

Sindbad in the Land of Giants is a story adapted and retold by Ludmila Zeman From the Tales of the Thousand and One Nights. Ludmila Zeman was born in Gottwadlov, Czechoslovakia. With a famous filmmaker for a father, her talents in painting, puppet making and filmmaking were nurtured, and by age 10 she was contributing to prize winning films. She eventually started making her own films after she went to university, and emigrated to Canada to teach at a university in British Columbia. Since then she has published a number of prize winning books and has produced award winning television programs, (Library and Archives Canada 2002). The book was beautifully illustrated by the same author and published in the year 2001. The intended audience of this book is the modern day twenty-first century child, since it is a twenty-first century retold version of the old tale intended for children. The story’s main character, Sindbad the Sailor, will be compared to the category of Pirates in children’s literature. Sindbad will also be compared in relation to the cultural context of Pirates in popular contemporary movies such as Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies.

In this literary tale Sindbad the Sailor is represented as a morally decent yet greedy character in contrast to the representation of morally indecent pirate characters who commit ethically questionable actions in search for some form of wealth or treasure. Culturally Sindbad has been portrayed as a less than morally sound character yet Zeman’s representation of Sindbad is that of an anti-pirate similar to the contemporary representation of the pirate character Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies. Jack Sparrow is a figure that is morally ambiguous, since he is a Pirate who commits ethical and morally questionable actions. Yet he is portrayed as a friendly and loveable character even by the civilized figures. Sindbad is ultimately portrayed as revered heroic figure while pirates in children’s literature are portrayed as the anarchical figures even though they strive for the same goal.

Pirates Within Children’s Literature in Relation to Sindbad

Pirates have been represented in a great portion of fairy tales within children’s literature; however pirates did not originally derive from children’s literature. Rather a pirate was always characterized as a thief of commodities, ships and other material wealth which travelled the seas. The stealing and plundering of ships for material goods is a part of the ultimate goal, which is to attain large amounts of wealth. Not until the emergence of Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island did the way of attaining it change. Pirate stories prior to Stevenson’s version were characterized by the stealing of and from ships where as Treasure Island was the first to introduce the search for buried treasure, (Phillips 2011, 38). This provided a notable change in the view of pirates within children’s literature. Pirates were seen with a sense of purpose since they have the ability to embark on a quest with the new concept of buried treasure. This change made pirates more appropriate for children since pirates were now going on a quest rather than stealing something that is not there’s to begin with. This characterization of pirates is still present in children’s literature today and really has not changed their representation.

In Zeman’s book, Sindbad the Sailor traversed the seas in search for wealth similar to that of a pirate. Sindbad’s story is essentially a tale about a quest that he embarked on for treasure and splendour even though it was highly dangerous. This shows the similarity between Sindbad and pirates, both were in search for attaining wealth. Sindbad and pirates, have similar goals to attain that wealth but Sindbad is represented much differently than a pirate in Zeman’s book.

Sindbad has been represented differently throughout literature, from folklore to children’s literary tales. Shahrazad, the Queen of Persia, was apparently the original story teller of the One Thousand and One Nights tales which she told to the King of Persia. The tales were intended for an adult audience and told within the Islamic ideology held during that time in the Arab peninsula. In all those stories Sindbad is always on an adventure for wealth, characterized by lots of violence and always ends with Sindbad attaining more wealth. Essentially Sindbad was represented as a romanticized heroic and immortal figure within the old tales. Yet Sindbad’s ultimate reason for attaining that wealth was through greed, even if it meant committing acts of violence, (Molan 1978, 244). His greed is his downfall but he is not truly represented as a greedy character even though that vice could weigh heavily upon his representation. Rather he is represented as a wealthy heroic merchant sailor and his adventures are filled with experiences of valour, honour and bravery. However, there are original stories where he reacts with violence for a revengeful purpose and for the overall attainment of wealth. Even in Zeman’s story, Sindbad stabs the eyes out of the ape monster which captured him and his crew earlier on their voyage within the story. Of course he had reasons to do so since he was captured by the monster, but at the end of the story his whole crew dies and he goes back home with more wealth. The point is that Sindbad commits acts of violence based on his initial emotion of greed for material wealth. He embarks on adventures for personal attainment of wealth but he is not represented as similar to ethically questionable pirates.

This act of violence was for self defence, but overall it occured based on the fact that he set out to sea in search for wealth.

Even though Sindbad and pirates both have the overall same objective to attain wealth they are both represented much differently. Pirates are represented as anarchical adult figures acting rebelliously, similar to children acting out against authoritative figures such as parents, (Phillips 2011, 54). Pirates were represented as lawbreakers, unruly citizens and thieves. Even if they shift to seeking buried treasure they are still represented as such. The reason why they are represented that way is because most pirate characters are contrasted with a protagonist figure.

Sindbad in Zeman’s story is the protagonist yet he has some traits that are very similar to that of a pirate. He has a lust for attaining wealth and treasure plus he uses any means necessary including violence to achieve that goal. But he is represented as a heroic figure rather than an unruly and lawbreaking figure. Sindbad is a character that is represented differently as ideologies change, depending on the time, place and medium which it is presented in. But one thing is for certain; Sindbad is not represented in a negative way rather he is seen as a figure with much knowledge, experience and reverence, (Ouyang 2004, 145). Sindbad’s adventures all involve bravery and courage yet the experience gives him a lot of knowledge. This knowledge is passed on in the book from Sindbad the Sailor to Sindbad the Porter. Sindbad the Sailor’s adventures enlighten Sindbad the Porter and all of his experience make him a better person.

Essentially with Sindbad the Sailor sea adventures are represented as the greatest goal even if it may involve danger, violence and greed. The point is that the pirates seek buried treasure much differently than Sindbad. Pirates seek wealth for fulfilling greed but it ends there because that is all they seek. They seek wealth but have no care for anyone or anything else. Sindbad has a love for adventure, he seeks wealth from buried treasure to fulfill his greed but his adventure is an experience which he shares with Sindbad the Porter and then consequently with the reader. His experiences from traversing the seas are representative of adult knowledge. Essentially, Sindbad’s experience on the sea is similar to adult experience, it is dangerous but in the end those who persevere will attain success and knowledge. Wealth in Zeman’s book represents success and Sindbad’s experience represents knowledge. Therefore he is not represented as a pirate like figure in search of just wealth. Rather Sindbad is an anti-pirate figure in search of wealth, success and adventurous experience that helps the character and ultimately the reader gain more knowledge.

Sindbad in Relation to Real-Life Pirates and Captain Jack Sparrow

In the short story, Zeman depicts Sindbad very differently than he was originally depicted in the 1001 nights stories. In those stories, he often returned to who and where he was captured and killed his captors, (Molan 1978, 237). This sort of behavior is much more ruthless and pirate-like than the Sindbad in Zeman’s version, where he only uses violence when necessary and never goes back for revenge. Zeman’s Sindbad is a much more respectable person, and is depicted as a sailor rather than pirate. However, the entire premise of his adventure was to collect riches and fame, which is exactly what pirates do. Within the context of both children’s literature, the role of pirates has historically changed from commandeering ships to attaining large amounts of wealth. Historically, pirates have typically been more focused on attacking ships rather than searching for buried or hidden treasure.

There are many instances in the story where Sindbad shows anti-pirate tendencies. When the monkeys from the island are ransacking his ship, his crew and himself surrender to the monkeys and let them plunder as they please. This is backwards to how a pirate would act, and it seems as if the monkeys are the pirates and Sindbad and his crew just helpless merchants.

Conversely, Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies is portrayed as a pirate, but does not act like one in the conventional sense. He does not kill anybody unless they are attacking him, and shows mercy when he can. He also has an emotional side, portrayed through his love affair with Elizabeth, (Verbinski 2003). However, the pirate that Jack Sparrow was based on was supremely barbaric in comparison. His real name was Bartholomew Roberts, and he was known as one of the most dangerous pirates of his day. It was said that he captured approximately 470 vessels in his lifetime and earned astonishing amounts of money, (Hudson 2007).

He was also completely ruthless in how he treated his prisoners, and it was not uncommon for him to hang prisoners on the bow of his ship and lash them with whips until they became unconscious. Jack Sparrow never did anything of the sort, and it seemed as though he was captured by other pirates in the movies much more often than he had ever captured anybody else, (Hudson 2007).

A real life pirate like Bartholomew Roberts looks nothing like what pirates do in children's books.

The similarities between Sindbad and Jack Sparrow are striking. They both never acted as ruthlessly as the people they were based on, they were usually the ones falling victim to other pirates, yet they are both known as pirates. The mere fact that they sailed on ships and looked for treasure doesn’t seem to be enough to justify pirate status.

The pictures and illustrations also play a large role in how the story portrays Sindbad. The way that all the pages are framed with such beautiful, Arabian tapestry-like borders mimic the wealth that Sindbad has created for himself through his adventures. In the book, when Sindbad is approaching the island, the illustration of lightning against a deep red sky indicates a sense of danger. Usually the danger in this sort of situation would come from pirates themselves, not the place they are going to. Therefore Sindbad is essentially portrayed as the victim of the dangers he encounters on his voyage, something a pirate would most likely embrace.

Sindbad encounters dangerous situations, as illustrated through the colour scheme and intense details. There is a strong sense of forboding.

Additionally, the illustrations, especially the borders, have an Arabian-Persian theme, which contributes to the overall feeling of the story, (Yarshater 1962, 61). The general style of the illustrations exudes the feeling of wealth and status. They also do not convey Sindbad as a pirate like figure, but rather as a wealthy man.

In conclusion, Sindbad is portrayed not as a pirate, but rather as a sort of anti-pirate, who falls victim to creatures and dangerous situations at sea. He has many similarities to Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, especially the fact that he is usually the one who falls victim to other pirate-like characters. If you compare Sindbad to pirates in other children’s literature, he is seen as a heroic figure, while most pirates are viewed as anarchical figures. Both pirates in other children’s literature and Sindbad share the same goals, but they differ greatly in how they act, as well as how they are represented morally. With this in mind, why does the audience generally assume that Sindbad is a pirate? The mere fact that he is looking for treasure is not enough justification to call him a pirate. Pirates are characterized by other specific traits, such as acting unethically and being morally indecent.

Select Bibliography

Hudson, Christopher. “The Real Jack Sparrow: He Would Have Eaten Johnny Depp for Breakfast | Mail Online.” Mail Online. Mail Online, 26 May 2007. Web. 14 Nov. 2011. <>.

“LUDMILA ZEMAN.” Welcome to the LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA Website | Bienvenue Au Site Web BIBLIOTHÈQUE ET ARCHIVES CANADA. Library and Archives Canada, 25 Sept. 2002. Web. 14 Nov. 2011. <>.

Molan, Peter D. “Sinbad the Sailor, a Commentary on the Ethics of Violence.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 98.3 (1978): 237-247. Jstor. Web. 9 Oct. 2011.

Ouyang, Wen-chin. “Whose story is it? Sindbad the sailor in literature and film.” Middle Eastern Literatures 7.2 (2004): 133-147. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Oct. 2011.

Phillips, Alexandra. “The Changing Portrayal of Pirates in Children’s Literature.” New Review of Children’s Literature and Librarianship 17.1 (2011): 36-56. Taylor and Francis Journals. Web. 11 Oct. 2011.

Pirates of the Caribbean–the Curse of the Black Pearl. Dir. Gore Verbinski. Perf. Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom. Disney, 2003. DVD.

Yarshater, E. “Some Common Characteristics of Persian Poetry and Art.” Studia Islamica 16 (1962): 61-71. JSTOR. Web. 14 Nov. 2011. <>.

Pirates in Peter Pan: Examining the Categorization of Adults as the ‘Other’

Authors: © Copyright 2011, Rebecca Freedman and Denielle Jackson

Daniel O’Connor. The Story of Peter Pan. Illustrated by Alice Woodward. London: G. Bell and Sons, 1907
Pirates in Peter Pan: Examining the Categorization of Adults as the ‘Other’

Curated by: Rebecca Freedman and Denielle Jackson

 “Literature entertains, stretches imagination, elicits a wealth of emotions, and develops compassion. It generates questions and new knowledge, affords vicarious experiences of other worlds, and provides encounters with different beliefs and values” (Pantaleo 221).

           J.M. Barrie’s play, Peter Pan,is retold by Daniel O’Connor. In Daniel O’Connor’s, The Story of Peter Pan, illustrated by Alice Woodward, the reader’s thoughts are stimulated through the imaginary world of Neverland. In Neverland, we are introduced to the unforgettable characters of Peter Pan, the Lost Boys and the pirates. Throughout the story, Peter Pan’s adventures are fearful, dangerous and exciting.  Peter Pan and his young friends are faced with many barriers that they overcome. The most important barrier to overcome is the battle with the pirates. The evil pirates represent the ‘other’ as they are opposite of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. The ideologies of childhood in the twentieth century are evident throughout the story. The focus of our exhibit is to examine the ideological values of childhood represented in Daniel O’Connor’s The Story of Peter Pan. Rebecca will explore the representations of pirates as adult, male figures, and the relationship between the pirates and the Lost Boys. Denielle will dive into the the social and cultural realities of 1907 in order to place this book at a particular moment in time.

The Relationship between Adults and Children in The Story of Peter Pan

In O’Connor’s The Story of Peter Pan, is it important to recognize the contradictory relationship between the adult and the child. Though the story mostly describes the adventures of the children, it is crucial to understand the relationship between the pirates and Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. As O’Connor’s story is a retelling of J.M. Barrie’s play, similar ideologies of childhood are presented. These ideologies are the opposing relationship between the imaginative child and the realistic adult. “What Barrie is mapping in his Neverland are fluid relationships between the real world of the Edwardian adults – overinscribed with imperial, impositional determinations – and the barrier-less world of the imaginary” (Fox 255). The notion of childhood is known as imaginary and unrealistic. These notions oppose the view of adults as colonial and superior. In The Story of Peter Pan, the adults are portrayed as pirates and are seen as superior to the children. The pirates represent the ‘other’ as they oppose the view of the imaginary and joyful children. Thus, the contrasting relationship between the pirates and the children in O’Connor’s story reinforce the ideologies of childhood.

 The Representation of Pirates in The Story of Peter Pan

The pirate ship is depicted in black and white, which is not only stylistic, but also economical. Printing in colour was very expensive.

Pirates in The Story of Peter Pan are important characters. The representation of pirates serves of great purpose when examining the ideologies of childhood. Historically, pirates were conniving, male adults who participate in illegal acts such as stealing. In the text, the historical identities of pirates are expected and portrayed through their behaviour (Fox 262). In The Story of Peter Pan, Captain Hook, the antagonist, represents Peter Pan’s arch-nemesis. Through a coloured illustration, by Alice Woodward, Captain Hook’s features are evil and scary. His face is angular and boney, and is shadowed to accentuate his dreadful features. His long black hair also represents wickedness, immorality and darkness. The all male cast of pirates are corrupted and “simply act as pirates do” (Fox 262). The pirates are deceitful in The Story of Peter Pan as it is expected of them through historical identity. Furthermore, the pirates have captured innocent children, the Lost Boys. Consequently, the pirates represent adult figures who are over exaggeratedly opposite of the innocent Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. This emphasis on child-adult conflict in The Story of Peter Pan reinforces the notion of childhood.

Eternal Youth: Peter Pan and the Lost Boys

In order to judge the pirates as evil, we must compare them to other characters. In opposing the representation of pirates as the ‘other’, we can examine the representation of children in The Story of Peter Pan. Eternal youth is a main theme in the story and overpowers the strong pirates. The children in the text are innocent and joyful. Their innocence seems to be more powerful than the pirates’ evilness. The Lost Boys are five young boys who were captured by Captain Hook and his crew. The five young and innocent boys were chained as prisoners on their ship. Neverland puts an emphasis on eternal youth as the children do not want to grow up (Springer 97). Shockingly, in the text, childhood innocence overpowers adulthood realism. When battling the pirates, Peter Pan and the Lost Boys ultimately outsmart them. Even thought the pirates were armed with swords, daggers, and blunderbusses, “youth and the values it protects come out victorious” (Springer 97).

 Fate of the Pirates

The outcome of the pirates proves that the ideologies of childhood are misleading. Childhood innocence is deemed to be superior to the pirates’ wickedness. The Story of Peter Pan portrays a deserving fate for the pirates. During the battle on the pirate ship, Peter Pan and the Lost Boys defeates the pirates. Peter Pan pushes Captain Hook into the jaws of a crocodile. The rest of the pirates drown except for two particular pirates, Smee and Starkey. “Starkey never shed blood but was guilty of evil deeds” (O’Connor 58). Starkey was captured by the Redskins and was made a nurse. This was a bad outcome for him as it was a step down from pirating. Smee, on the other hand, was the least evil of the pirates. He was not as wicked as the rest and therefore became a reformed character and a sailor (O’Connor 58). The outcome for Smee and Starkey was not fatal as they portrayed glimpses of innocence and were not purely evil, like the rest. Therefore, it can be said that the pirates that portrayed characteristics of childhood received a better fate than those who resembled adulthood.

Peter Pan: a timeless classic or a product of its era?

This picture illustrates the moment of victory for Peter Pan where Captain Hook is about to be eaten by a crocodile.

       Fairy tales are often seen as being timeless and placeless, conveying universal truths. Daniel O’Connor’s The Story of Peter Pan is no exception to this commonly held belief. If we have a closer look, we can see that fairy tales are actually time and place specific. They express conditions, attitudes and values pertaining to specific socio-cultural moments.This story is one of many children’s books that are used to socialize children in helping them understand the culture of the time as it emphasizes the differing relationship between the adult and the child (Pantaleo 226). In order to better understand the context of The Story of Peter Pan, we need to take a closer look at the period in which the story was written. At the time of the writing of The Story of Peter Pan, Britain had transformed from the Victorian era to the Edwardian period.


The Victorian-era: Children as Superior Beings

During the Victorian period, there was a large amount of industrialization and urbanization. Childhood was idealized because it was seen as pure, closer to nature, and closer to God. Children were largely regarded as superior beings in some regards. In Jacqueline Rose’s The Case of Peter Pan, or, the Impossibility of Children’s Fiction, she makes the argument that The Story of Peter Pan is not for or about children, but rather illustrates adults’ desire for the fantasy of childhood; innocence is not a distinctive quality of childhood, but rather adult desire (Rose 128). Victoria’s England was a child-dominated society, with one of every three of her subjects under the age of fifteen. For the first time, books were aimed at entertaining children instead of instructing them how to behave. This period was what many consider “The Golden Age” of children’s literature (White). In children’s fiction, it is common to put children in opposition with adults. This creates a binary that highlights the differences between adult and child. In Donna White’s, Child-Hating: Peter Pan in the Context of Victorian Hatred, she argues that “fantasy spaces of childhood almost always include beings that hate both the state of childhood and childhood itself” and that in Peter Pan, there is a “deliberately antagonistic relationship between adulthood and childhood…grounded in an irrational hatred” (White 44). Artists during the Victorian period portrayed children as innocent, simple and playful. Peter Pan is depicted as a complex character; he is full of joy, vitality and fearlessness but also selfish, cocky and ill-mannered. This can be attributed to the beginning of the Edwardian period. “The Victorian child is a symbol of innocence, the Edwardian child of hedonism. In fiction, the former is good, the latter has a good time” (White 122).

The Edwardian-era: the age of rebellion

The death of Queen Victoria in 1901 and the succession by her son Edward marked the end of the Victorian era and the beginning of the Edwardian period. Edward, the Prince of Wales, had the reputation of being an irresponsible pleasure-seeking playboy. This, compounded with Victorian social and moral repression created an appetite for rebellion (Norris). Following the example of the fun-loving Prince of Wales sounded more appealing than growing up into the inadequate Victorian male. The Edwardian era is perceived as a romantic period with long endless summer afternoons. As Lyn Gardner said in her article Confronting Peter Pan’s ‘awfully big adventure’ in the Guardian, “it is easy to explain the appeal of Peter Pan to the Edwardians and post-WWI generation, who could see in the play an elegiac spectacle of endless summer days spent playing pirates and Indians”. The Story of Peter Pan continues to hold a place in our popular culture as a result of many ideas that the Edwardian period gave rise to. These include the rising importance of childhood, the influence of the imagined space, and the engagement of the hero archetype (Norris).

Alice B. Woodward: The Illustrator

This is a pivotal moment in the text and is the final battle between Peter Pan and the Lost Boys versus Captain Hook and the pirates


Alice Bolingbroke Woodward (1862-1951) was a famous English illustrator. She created 28 coloured plates for The Story of Peter Pan, and it has been continuously in print from 1907 to the present day (Springer). It is considered to be the most popular illustrated Peter Pan book of all time. Alice illustrates pivotal plot points and emotional moments, such as the battle between Peter and the pirates and the fate of the pirates when Peter pushes captain hook off of the ship. She also illustrates establishing pictures that place the reader in Neverland, such as the pirate ship.



Like many children’s books, the conflict in Peter Pan is derived from the pitting of child against adult, creating a binary opposite with the adult as ‘other’. By analyzing the representation of pirates in Daniel O’Connor’s The Story of Peter Pan, we are able to understand the significance of the relationship between the pirates and the Lost Boys as they represent adulthood and childhood. By delving into the historical moment in which the book was written, we are able to challenge the notion that children’s books are timeless and placeless and see that this is a book that could not have come out of any other time period.

“Torn between the opposing demands of innocence and experience, the author who resorts to the wishful magical thinking of the child nonetheless feels compelled, in varying degrees, to hold on to the grown-up’s circumscribed notions about reality. In the better works of fantasy of the [Victorian] period, this dramatic tension between the outlooks of adult and childhood selves becomes rich and elastic: conflict and harmony, friction and reconciliation, realism and wonder, are allowed to interpenetrate and co-exist.” (White 245)


Works Cited

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