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Wendy Darling

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Wendy Darling
Wendy darling

Real Name

Wendy Moira Angela Darling

First Appearance

Peter Pan, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up (1904)

Created by

J.M. Barrie & Ela Q. May

Origin

Wendy attends a "kindergarten school" with her younger brothers. Like Peter Pan, 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.

Wendy is the most developed character in the story. She is proud of her childhood and enjoys telling stories and fantasizing. She has a distaste for adulthood, acquired partly by the example of it set by her father, whom she loves but, also fears due to his fits of anger. Her ambition 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 indefinitely.

Ironically, Wendy finds that this experience brings out her more adult side. Peter and the tribe of Lost Boys 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).

Wendy eventually learns to accept the virtues of adulthood and returns to London.

In An Afterthought (included in the novel published in 1911 and later incorporated into some productions of the play), Wendy has grown up, married, and has a daughter, Jane. When Peter returns looking for Wendy (not understanding she would no longer be a young girl), he meets Jane, and Wendy lets her go off with him. The same scenario later plays out with Jane's daughter, Margaret, and the same will happen with Margaret's daughter and granddaughter and on and on for as long as children believe in fairies.

Wendy is generally depicted as a pretty girl with soft features, twinkling eyes and either blonde, brown or black hair. While Tiger Lily and Tinker Bell are portrayed as the figures of exotic, magical beauty, Wendy represents the conventional, flirtatious young mother figure and, ultimately, it is she who captures the attention of Peter (with romantic feelings hinted at but, never articulated).

Public Domain Appearances

  • Peter and Wendy

Notes

  • The Peter Pan play is not in the public domain in England or the United States. Special legislation was passed that gave the play a perpetual copyright. The characters, however, are in the public domain (as are the novels).
  • Much like Cynthia Cynch being the predecessor to the character of Nimmie Amee, Maimie Mannering was an early prototype for the character of Wendy Darling (even though the story featuring Maimie wasn't published until two years after the play starring Wendy).

See Also

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