College of Arts and Sciences
Literature, Children's Literature, Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie, Psychoanalysis, Dear Brutus, Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Second Chance, Fault in Our Stars, Finding Neverland, Neverland for Adults
Children's and Young Adult Literature | English Language and Literature | Literature in English, British Isles
Alley, Kathryn, "Psychological Criticism and Shakespearean Allusions in J.M. Barrie’s Dear Brutus: A Neverland for Adults" (2023). Senior Honors Theses. 1274.
In Peter Pan, Sir James Barrie welcomes readers into Neverland, the realm of eternal youth. Barrie’s lesser-known play, Dear Brutus, ushers audiences into a supernatural garden free of responsibility, reality, and permanence. Referring to Cassius’ words in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the 1917 tragedy explores the consequences of romantic escapism and the seductive power of second chances. Through the lens of Freud’s and Lacan’s psychological criticism, and Barrie’s connection to his might-have-been daughter, Margaret, Dear Brutus unveils the plight of eight mysterious strangers by illustrating that all adults are lost children. Dear Brutus feels in many ways like an unconsciously autobiographical play in which Barrie sought to work through his own traumatic childhood and submerged desires to permit his characters to discover the importance of facing up to reality and adult responsibility.