Peter Pan Syndrome Essay

1058 words - 5 pages

Peter Pan syndrome is a psychological state in which one refuses to transition from childhood to adulthood. Many people suffer from Peter Pan syndrome due to traumatic events or selfish reasons. J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan demonstrates how Peter Pan suffers from Peter Pan syndrome for selfish reasons. Instead of looking beyond his own needs, Peter Pan does whatever is in his best interest. However, Holden Caufield in J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in The Rye suffers from Peter Pan syndrome not due to selfish reasons, but because he cares about others and their childhood. Peter Pan and Holden both suffer from Peter Pan syndrome as demonstrated through the refusal to grow up, and the refusal to lose their innocence; however, Holden learns to move on while Peter Pan remains trapped in time.
Those who refuse to grow up tend to have a reason for doing so; however, sometimes people refuse to grow up due to being selfish. Peter Pan refuses to grow up because he wants to stay in Neverland and always have fun. Peter Pan does not want to face “grown up” problems because he is afraid of reality (Barrie 85). For example, Peter Pan takes Wendy with him to Neverland not because he wants to have fun, but because he needs her. Peter Pan does not have a mother or guidance around him; which is why he needs someone like Wendy to guide him, but at the same time keep him company. He tries to persuade her many times by telling her to “forget them all” (Barrie 85). Peter Pan tells Wendy, “Come with me, where you’ll never, never have to worry about grown up things again” (Barrie 85). He tells her to go with him because he does not want her to grow up; however, Peter Pan is not the only character in the novel that never wants Wendy to change. Wendy’s mother wants her to stay young and pretty because “all children, except one, grow up” (Barrie 1). This quotation is referring to Peter Pan because he is the only child who never grows up. Thus, Peter’s purpose in taking Wendy to Neverland was for his own enjoyment and because he never wants to grow up; instead he wants to always stay in Neverland. Peter Pan does not want to grow up because he is selfish; however, Holden thinks about others, which leads to his peter pan syndrome. Holden refuses to grow up because he does not want to face the reality that his brother, Allie, is gone, so he tries to fill the gap that Allie left. Allie’s death highly impacted Holden, because at the time of Allie’s death “[Holden] was only thirteen” (Salinger 39). To Holden, growing up means accepting the fact that Allie is gone. This is why Holden says, “Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody” (Salinger 214). This relates back to Allie because Holden was so close to Allie that he misses him everyday, which is why he tries filling the gap with other people, like Ackley and Stradlater. Therefore, Holden’s...

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