I really love the story of Peter Pan in general.  I like the novel, musical, various film adaptations and spin offs… I think that universe and those characters are really something special.  I’m actually not a huge fan of the 1953 Disney version of Peter Pan.  Shocking, I know!  I’m not sure why, and for the most part I don’t have specific problems with it.  But overall it isn’t on the same level as other Disney movies for me (or other Peter Pan adaptations).  However, I do really like how they presented Wendy Darling.

Wendy is a story teller.  She is called “the supreme authority on Peter Pan.”  Wendy is constantly entertaining her younger brothers with her fantastic stories about Neverland.  Her talent for storytelling means she would have to be both very knowledgeable and very imaginative.

Mr. Darling, her father, does not approve of Wendy’s tales.  He thinks it’s childish and insists that she needs to grow up.  He says that she needs to leave the nursery behind to have her own room, separate from her brothers.  This change would mark Wendy’s transition from childhood into being a proper young lady. I think it’s really interesting that she then flies off to Neverland that night, which is essentially one big imaginative battle between eternal youth and oppressive adulthood (think about the lost boys vs. pirates).

Although Mr. Darling views his daughter as foolish, Wendy is nothing of the sort.  She’s very smart, and even very practical in her own way.  She actually serves as the voice of reason throughout most of the film.  Take the scene where she reattaches Peter’s shadow as an example.  Peter, the lost boys, and Wendy’s brothers would all be hopeless without her good sense and guidance.  She is a perfect balance of maturity and a youthful sense of fun.  That’s my favorite thing about Wendy.  She shows that you don’t need to sacrifice imagination for intelligence and responsibility.

Wendy is one of the most caring Disney girls.  She loves and looks out for all the lost boys as if she was their own mother.  Wendy’s kindness and forgiveness is pretty remarkable.  Up until the end of the film, Tinkerbell is absolutely terrible to Wendy.  When they first meet, Tink pulls her hair and calls her big and ugly.  Wendy, although hurt, responds about Tink “Oh, I think she’s lovely.”  She sets her pride aside for the sake of kindness and honesty.  Even when Tink convinces the lost boys to shoot Wendy, she is forgiven.  Peter wants to banish Tink forever but Wendy begs him “oh please, not forever!” That generosity is incredible. 

And this does not make Wendy weak or a push-over.  When the mermaids tease and try to drown Wendy, she won’t stand for it.  When the Indian women keeps bossing her around, Wendy just leaves.  Wendy really is very strong-willed.  When all the lost-boys were ready to join Captain Hook’s pirates out of fear, Wendy stood by her convictions and walked the plank.  She actually went through with it! She didn’t know that Peter would be hovering below to catch her.  That’s awesome.

Although Peter Pan is relatively popular and people seem to like Wendy, I don’t think enough people truly appreciate why she’s so great. Re-watching Peter Pan was worth it, if only for the sake of getting reacquainted with Wendy.