LIT 4334: The Golden Age of Children's Literature

Hook: The poor man who can never achieve Form

on March 27, 2013 11:50pm

One of the more interesting parts about Peter and Wendy is Hook’s constant fascination over the concept of “Form.” Throughout Peter and Wendy we see him obsessing over it and, as we discussed in class, the people who worry about form generally don’t have it and those that don’t concern themselves with form attain true grace. However, I would like to further argue that it is physically impossible for Hook to achieve any semblance of true form because of one factor: his deformity, his namesake, his hook, and that this represents for Barrie a method of comparing adulthood with children.

Its a hook

Dun….dun…dun…

Hook, as should be apparent, has lost something that is extraordinarily important to nearly every person: his hand. He is therefore a mangled, deformed human being and, despite being quite deft with his hook, it is no real replacement for the working marvel that is a human hand. Thus, we see that Hook can never truly achieve true, great form for himself because no matter how much he may practice and wax on about great form, he is, in effect, a lesser creature. He is lesser than even the slouching most bestial and uncouth human being, for this human can, at any time, decide to correct his ways and “stand tall.” To bring this to an even more depressing view – Hook, a grown man who cannot stop thinking about his form, cannot maintain a superior form to that of a one-week baby, Peter Pan.

This utterly broken man then must be pitied for he is more of an animal: always gnawing away at some problem that is nearly impossible for him to fix and dies worrying about it. Hook – poor, malformed, missing an essential part of himself that he can never recover – directly corresponds to Barrie’s skewed perspective towards childhood and adulthood. In my interpretation there is no question that Hook, the deformed pirate, comes to represent adulthood for Barrie. I believe that Barrie believes that Adulthood then requires absence – that of some wonderful grace of childhood (form) – and oftentimes is accompanied by constant regret and anxiety  as well as extreme physical changes – the loss of Hook’s hand and puberty respectively- that create a bitter adult who is harassed by childhood (Peter).

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