Thursday, April 17, 2014

Peter Pan,
James Franklin

Neverland is a fictional place featured in the works of J. M. Barrie and those based on them, including Disney’s Peter Pan. It is the dwelling place of Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys and others. Although not all people in Neverland cease to age, its best known resident, Peter Pan, famously refused to grow up, and it is often used as a metaphor for eternal childhood, immortality, and escapism. Neverland’s are found in the minds of children, and that although each is "always more or less an island", and they have a family resemblance, they are not the same from one child to the next. In Disney’s film, one adaptation of the old story, Neverland is found in the minds of the children Wendy, John, and Michael Darling. The exact location of Neverland is ambiguous and it is reached by magical flight, Peter gives its location as towards the "second star to the right, and straight on till morning".
Neverland’s purpose and argument is to offer an escape from the mundane and offers children a safe place to explore their imagination. This exemplified by its whimsical cast of inhabitants and exotic places for kids to explore. Escapism refers to mental diversion by means of entertainment or recreation, as an "escape" from the perceived unpleasant or banal aspects of daily life. It can also be used as a term to define the actions people take to help relieve persisting feelings of depression or general sadness. In the film Peter Pan, the children’s father, who is fed up with the stories that have made his children less practical, angrily declares that Wendy has gotten too old to continue staying in the nursery with her younger siblings, and it's time for her to grow up and have a room of her own. For Wendy, John and Michael Neverland is just that, an escape. 
The humor that Peter Pan uses to convince Wendy, John and Michael that Neverland is a fun and fantastical resource that will distract them from their troubles is a clear use of the pathos appeal even though the land is wildly outside the scope of reality. This use of pathos is described in “Everything’s an Argument, by Lunsford Ruszkiewicz on page 49, “Humor also makes otherwise sober or suspicious people suspend their judgment and even their prejudices, perhaps because the surprise and naughtiness of wit are combustive: they provoke laughter or smiles, not reflection” (Ruszkiewicz, 48-49). 
The island of Neverland’s ethos is exemplified by its resources and inhabitants. Though humor is a good way to establish a pathos connection with the audience, one must also establish credibility. “... humor alone can’t establish credibility. Although a funny anecdote may help dispose an audience to listen to you, you will need to move quickly to make reasonable claims and then back them up with evidence and documentation - or, in electronic environments, to link your claims to sites with reliable information” (Ruszkiewicz, 60). Neverland’s claims and arguments are physical and many. The mermaid’s cove and lost boys are clear examples in the film that the island offers a jovial and fun escape from the ordinary. 
Lastly, the use of logos as an appeal that the island of Neverland offers an escape is used in the film as well. Before Wendy, Michael, and John have been convinced that they want to join Peter Pan on his trip to Neverland, Peter Pan spends a good deal of time recounting his adventures and experiences. By giving a testimony or narrative of his experience he convinces the children of his argument. His tactic was a clear use of logos, explained by Ruszkiewicz, “Personal experience carefully reported can also support a claim convincingly, especially if a writer (or someone presenting an argument) has earned the trust of the readers” (Ruszkiewicz, 83). 
Using all of these arguments, Peter Pan, as well as the islands activities and inhabitants, help convince the children that they should escape from their dreary circumstances and follow Peter into a land of fun, that sets the tone of the movie as light and adventurous. I would give this movie a 4/5 slurpees because the film offers a fantastical experience for the viewers, while also containing an argument that we need to occasionally escape from day to day life and have some fun.

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