Peter Pan is a tale that has stood the test of time and there are many fans of the story. It is easy to see why as well. This is about a little boy that never wanted to grow up and there are many of us out there who can relate to those feelings of not wanting to get old.
That being said, there are many ways that we can represent these feelings. We often see these things as a mid-life crisis but people just don’t want to get old and that makes sense. They might dye their hair, get a new car or take a trip around the world to express their lust for life. Others might get a tattoo and the one we are talking about today is the Peter Pan tattoo.
In this post, we are going to be talking about Peter Pan and the story written by J.M. Barrie. This story has led to many getting tattoos in honor of the story and we are going to talk about the meaning of the Peter Pan tattoo.
We will also discuss some of the different variations of the Peter Pan tattoo and what they mean to the people who are getting the tattoo. By the time you are done reading this post, you should feel more educated on the subject of Peter Pan and get a better understanding of why the Peter Pan tattoo is so popular.
About Peter Pan
J.M. Barrie’s classic drama Peter Pan has been a whimsical story beloved by both children and adults long before Walt Disney produced their own version. The characters, based on real children known by the author, have become romantic archetypes of eternal childhood and freedom of responsibility.
For many, Peter Pan is a representation of a lost childhood and an attempt to recapture that through a journey and experience. Most often rendered in the cartoon style of Disney, these images represent imagination and adventure. In other designs, phrases and quotes from the prose are taken and incorporated with imagery from the film or imagery described in the drama.
Peter Pan Tattoo Variations
Below are a few of the different variations of the Peter Pan tattoo that we have seen. These tattoos aren’t necessarily all images of Peter Pan. Many of these include characters and themes of the story which really open up your options in terms of tattooing. We hope this list below will give you an idea of a direction to go in when you get your own Peter Pan tattoo.
Peter Pan Quote Tattoo
“To die would be an awfully big adventure” is the most popular phrase to be taken from the prose and is spoken by Peter Pan, the boy who never grows up and will therefore never die. In this way, Peter Pan is a representation of immortality but also naivety in that he never endures adult experiences. Because of this, he is not able to fulfill Wendy’s desire for romantic love.
Another frequently used phrase is the directions to Neverland, “Second star to the right and straight on till morning”, which is sometimes abbreviated to “2★ R”. Another quote used is Peter’s instructions on flying, “Think happy thoughts” as well as “Faith, trust, and pixie dust”. Phrases are often accompanied by images of compasses and stars, particularly the north star, in reference to the adventure the characters embark upon.
Darling Kids Tattoo
The Darling children, Wendy, Michael, and John, are often used as an image together or individually, representing their individual traits and connection as siblings. Silhouettes are typical because of the iconic scene from the film where they fly from their nursery into the night sky, with a large full moon illuminated behind them.
Wendy is a symbol of maternity, a microcosm of motherhood brought to the motherless characters, the Lost Boys, of Neverland. She is a presentation of young love as well, although her growing affection for Peter Pan is unrequited. Michael, the oldest boy, is courageous and provides an authoritative paternal figure to Neverland while the youngest, Michael is a human mirror of Peter’s representation of eternal childhood.
Peter Pan Character
Peter Pan himself is the ultimate figure of childhood, a boy that will never become a man, who refuses to grow up. There is a sense of immortality in Peter Pan who denies his eventual mortality. He is locked in time, a representation of stasis. His elfish appearance and slender frame give him an androgynous appearance that is emphasized by his ignorance of Wendy’s attraction to him.
In terms of Peter’s personality, he is an overstated typecast of a careless and boastful boy. He is a boy who claims greatness even in times when he isn’t responsible for the things he does like when Wendy reattaches his shadow to him. Peter is a symbol of childhood and selfishness and can be depicted as being self-centered and forgetful.
He could be described as fearlessly cock which aids him in some of his adventures and he might also be categorized as being nonchalant. His famous saying, “To die will be an awfully big adventure”, is something he spouts when he thinks he is going to die on Marooner’s Rock when he feels scared. In a way, the Peter Pan tattoo is a symbol of being almost too brave but he also knows how to have fun!
Captain Hook Tattoo
Captain Hook is vulnerable in terms of his emotions. Because of this, he is often made a fool of. However, he is often acting as a cunning and menacing villain and never gives up his goal of exacting revenge on Peter Pan. Hook is also a murderer and even shot one of his crew members for singing a song that he didn’t like.
While he can sometimes be made a fool of, Hook is a force to be dealt with both mentally and physically. The people around him are generally in danger because of his volatile temper and Peter Pan is really the only person capable of putting up a fight with the skilled hook.
The characters of Neverland are colorful and varied, separated into several divisions. The villainous Captain Hook, often accompanied by the crocodile with the ticking clock, is an image of conflict and insanity. His menace is overshadowed by his fear of his own demons.
Tinkerbell is a character often chosen because she is a pretty and delicate fairy with a large and demanding personality. She follows Peter Pan on his adventures but represents a passion and jealousy that keeps Wendy from getting too close to Peter. Tinkerbell is sometimes pictured on her own but often imaged opposite of Peter Pan because of their odd friendship. She has become a symbol of femininity, love, and independence as she is bold and confident. Tattoos that feature Tinkerbell are generally colored and include sparkles and fairy dust.
Lost Boys Tattoo
The Lost Boys are a group of six boys who have lost their parents. They eventually leave Neverland with Wendy (excluding the Disney film) and grow up, representing the acceptance of mortality. Although they achieve adulthood, they remain children at heart and represent the phrase “Never grow up”.
Native American figures such as Tiger Lily are present as well although they are rather controversial representations of Indigenous tribes. These characters are typical of the period in which the drama was written and serve as a reminder of the stereotypes that spark prejudice.
Peter Pan and Shadow Tattoo
Peter Pan and his shadow is another classic icon taken from the movie. Peter Pan is constantly chasing his shadow as it is not affixed to him as shadows are to normal characters. This is a symbol of his inability to grasp reality and is usually rendered in a large tattoo piece.
In very simple Peter Pan tattoos, single icons from the film are used to represent the ideas of childhood and adventure. Peter’s green hat with a red feather, the twinkling north star, or a silhouette of one of the children or other characters is often seen. Captain Hook’s pirate ship with or without any of these other symbols is used as well to create a simple tattoo design.
The key to getting the perfect Peter Pan tattoo is to decide what style you want this tattoo in. Most people who decide on a Peter Pan tattoo get it in the cartoon or new school style that represents the way it was illustrated in the Disney movie.