Wendy Darling

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Wendy Moira Angela Darling
Peter Pan character
Wendy Darling.PNG
1907 illustration by Oliver Herford of Wendy and the Lost Boys
First appearancePeter Pan (1904)
Created byJ. M. Barrie
Information
GenderFemale
ChildrenJane (daughter)
RelativesJohn Darling (brother)
Michael Darling (brother)
Margaret (grandchild)
NationalityEnglish
 
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Wendy Moira Angela Darling
Peter Pan character
Wendy Darling.PNG
1907 illustration by Oliver Herford of Wendy and the Lost Boys
First appearancePeter Pan (1904)
Created byJ. M. Barrie
Information
GenderFemale
ChildrenJane (daughter)
RelativesJohn Darling (brother)
Michael Darling (brother)
Margaret (grandchild)
NationalityEnglish

Wendy Moira Angela Darling is a fictional character and the female protagonist of Peter and Wendy by J. M. Barrie, and in most adaptations in other media. Her exact age is not specified in the original play or novel by Barrie, though she is implied to be 12 or 13 years old or younger, as she is "just Peter's size" and he still has all his baby teeth. Wendy expresses an innocent adoration for Peter as soon as they meet, and is honest to herself and company throughout the entire book, play or film. As a girl who is beginning to "grow up", she stands in contrast to Peter Pan, a boy who refuses to do so, the major theme of the Peter Pan stories. In the beginning, Wendy hesitates to escape to the Neverland, to take care of her brothers and accompany her mother, but in time, she shows passion for magical events and adventures.

Background[edit]

In the novel Peter Pan, and its cinematic adaptations, she is an Edwardian schoolgirl. The novel states that she attends a "kindergarten school" with her younger brothers, meaning a school for pre-adolescent children. Like Peter, in many adaptations of the story she is shown to be on the brink of adolescence. She belongs to a middle class London household of that era, and is the daughter of George Darling, a short-tempered and pompous bank/office worker, and his wife, Mary. Wendy shares a nursery room with her two brothers, Michael and John. However, in the Disney version, her father decides that "it's high time she had a room of her own" and kicks her out of the nursery for "stuffing the boys' heads with a lot of silly stories", but changes his mind at the end of the film after he returns home with his wife after the party.

Character[edit]

Wendy is the most developed character in the story of Peter Pan, and is often considered the central protagonist. She is proud of her own childhood and enjoys telling stories and fantasising. She has a distaste for adulthood, acquired partly by the example of it set by her father, whom she loves but fears due to his somewhat violent fits of anger. Her ambition early in the story is to somehow avoid growing up. She is granted this opportunity by Peter Pan, who takes her and her brothers to Neverland, where they can remain young forever.

Ironically, Wendy finds that this experience brings out her more adult side. Peter and the tribe of Lost Boys who dwell in Neverland want her to be their "mother" (a role they remember only vaguely), a request she tentatively accedes to, performing various domestic tasks for them. There is also a degree of innocent or implied flirtation with Peter (thereby forming a love triangle with Peter's sometimes-jealous fairy friend Tinker Bell). In the Disney version she also becomes jealous of Princess Tiger Lily after the Princess kisses Peter. (In fact, she becomes so jealous she turns on her heel and marches back to Hangman's Tree. In the original script of Barrie's book, Peter and Wendy, Wendy asks Peter, towards the end of the book, if he would like to speak to her parents about 'a very sweet subject', implying that she would like him to speak to her parents about someday marrying her).

Wendy eventually learns that adulthood has its rewards, and returns to London, having decided not to postpone maturity any longer.

In An Afterthought written by JM Barrie and staged in 1908, which was included in the novel published in 1911 and later incorporated into some productions of the play, Wendy has grown up and married (it is not known whom she marries), and has a daughter, Jane. When Peter returns looking for Wendy (not understanding that she would no longer be a young girl, as time escapes him while he is in the Neverland), he meets Jane; Wendy lets her daughter go off with him, apparently trusting her to make the same choices. The same scenario later plays out between Jane's daughter, Wendy's granddaughter, Margaret. (We don't actually see this happen. Barrie states [at the very end of the book] that Jane has a daughter, Margaret, who will one day go to the Neverland with Peter Pan, and that the same thing will happen with Margaret's future daughter and future granddaughter, and on and on, for as long as children believe in fairies.)

Physical appearance[edit]

Barrie does not give any description of Wendy, but she is generally depicted as a pretty girl with either blond or brown hair. While Tiger Lily and Tinker Bell are usually portrayed as exotic or magical figures, Wendy represents the conventional young mother figure who ultimately captures Peter Pan's attention. Wendy is portrayed in the Disney movie with light brown hair, wearing a blue nightdress and a blue ribbon in her hair.

Relationships[edit]

In the original novel and the 1953 Disney movie, Wendy has an easy relationship with her mother, Mary Darling. Her relationship with her father, George Darling, is more difficult as he is always serious and does not like Wendy telling stories to her brothers that he considers childish, threatening to move Wendy to her own room. However, Wendy and her father do love each other and when Wendy comes back from Neverland, she seems to have a better understanding of her father.

Wendy and her brothers, John Darling and Michael Darling, to whom she tells stories, have a good relationship. She shows great concern for them and is very protective towards them. In the 1953 cartoon movie, she makes John and Michael realize that they need their real mother and persuades them to return home after their adventures in Neverland.

Wendy believes in Peter Pan and shares his stories with her brothers every night. When Wendy and Peter meet for the first time, she begins to care about him too. Romantic feelings between them are hinted at, but never articulated. In the 2003 film, the feeling is mutual and Wendy shows her love when she gives Peter a hidden kiss in order to save him from Captain Hook. They also have a special moment in the cartoon sequel to the 1953 film, Return to Neverland, when Peter and a grown up Wendy are reunited for the first time in years and they say goodbye for the final time. In Hook, an older Wendy hints she still has feelings for Peter (who has grown up and married her great granddaughter, Moira).

The name Wendy[edit]

The first name Wendy was very uncommon in the Anglosphere before J. M. Barrie's work and its subsequent popularity has led some to credit him with "inventing" it. Although the name Wendy was used to a limited extent as the familiar-form of the Welsh name Gwendolyn, it is thought that Barrie took the name from a phrase used by Margaret Henley, a five-year-old girl whom Barrie befriended in the 1890s, daughter of his friend William Henley.[1] She called Barrie her "friendy-wendy", which she pronounced as "fwendy-wendy".[2][3] She died at the age of five and was buried, along with her family, in Cockayne Hatley.[2][3]

In Great Britain, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, children's playhouses are commonly known as Wendy houses.

Portrayal in popular culture[edit]

In film[edit]

Wendy Darling as portrayed in Disney's Peter Pan.

In television[edit]

In Season 3, it is revealed that Wendy made an attempt to rescue Baelfire from Neverland but was captured by Peter Pan and taken prisoner. Peter Pan uses Wendy as leverage against her younger brothers, who do his dirty work now. They are sent on a mission to find Henry and eventually drive into Storybrooke. They later try to get Pandora's box to stop Belle and Ariel because they must do Peter's bidding or Wendy will die. However, they end up trusting Belle as she sends the box to Rumpelstiltskin. Wendy is used to trick Henry with false information by Peter Pan, who wishes to have Henry believe in him. When Emma, Snow White, The Evil Queen and the rest of their group reunites, they find Wendy held captive in her wooden cage. Baelfire frees her, and she expresses her feelings with him. Wendy tells them that Peter Pan was lying to them, and if Henry dies, Peter becomes immortal. After Pan's "supposed" defeat, Wendy travels with Emma, Snow White, Prince Charming, The Evil Queen, Baelfire, Rumpelstiltskin, Killian, Henry, Tinkerbell, and the Lost Boys aboard the Jolly Roger for Storybrooke. Wendy happily reunites with her brothers, who also meet Baelfire again after so many years. Wendy and her brothers decide to head back "home", to modern London.

In other literary works[edit]

In anime and manga[edit]

In music[edit]

In video games[edit]

In comic and graphic novel[edit]

Non-fiction[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Birkin, Andrew. J. M. Barrie and the Lost Boys, Yale University Press, 2003.
  2. ^ a b "The History of Wendy". Retrieved 2009-07-25. 
  3. ^ a b Winn, Christopher. I Never Knew That About England. 
  4. ^ Kiley, Dr. Dan (1984). The Wendy Dilemma: When Women Stop Mothering Their Men. Arbor House Publishing. ASIN B000O6BTHI. ISBN 9780877956259. 
  5. ^ Kiley, Dr. Dan (1983). The Peter Pan Syndrome: Men Who Have Never Grown Up. Avon Books. ISBN 0380688905. 

External links[edit]