The space of the nursery in Peter and Wendy is an area of safety and control in the Darling children’s lives. When the children are inside of it their parents or their nurse, Nana can have the children under their domain. It is not until the children are left unguarded that they can leave with Peter and enter to a world of greater freedom and danger. Although they experience much greater freedom, the children submit to their parent’s wishes to keep them inside their realm.
The nursery acts as a place of safety for the Darling children. They do not encounter real danger until they leave the nursery’s space and enter the outside world and the Neverland. As they fly to Neverland the children and Peter go on for so long that they get too sleepy and when any one of them starts to fall, they rely on Peter to catch them, but “there was always the possibility that the next time you fell he would let you go” (Barrie, 103). There is a chance that any one of the children could plummet to their death if Peter “let you go.” There is no longer the security of their parents constantly trying to keep them safe. As soon as they enter the Neverland, the children are attacked by pirates, “The pirates…fired Long Tom,” their cannon, “at them” (110). Though the cannonball does not hit them, they are the intended targets of the blast. This outside space that the children enter is one where they must fear for their lives. “Thus sharply did the terrified three learn the difference between an island of make-believe and the same island come true” (110). Before they left their home there were no real pirates to threaten the children’s lives, they were only alive in their imagination where all danger was made up. Now in this new environment, harm is possible. The Darlings cannot shut out this intrusion, or shape the children’s minds to disdain the violence of the pirates, which they will participate in.
Mrs. Darling has incredible control over her children while they are in the nursery. as she can physically change what her children are thinking.
“It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning…When you wake in the morning, the naughtinesses and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind; and on the top…are spread out your prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on.”
She makes sure that her children’s “prettier thoughts” are...