While talking with some readers this week, I realized that there’s quite a bit of troublesome pirate-y jargon in this novel. Barrie supposes that the reader of Peter and Wendy has a familiarity with Robert Louis Stevenson’s pirate adventure Treasure Island. He makes several references to it when talking about the pirates in Neverland. He loved reading the tale to Llewelyn Davies’s family of boys. These boys, by the way, were the ones who first heard the stories of Peter Pan from Barrie himself and all but the youngest one’s names are used for characters in the story Peter and Wendy (George, Peter, John and Michael). For those of us who have not read Stevenson’s novel in a while (although look for it later on this year in our book club), I hope this little cheat sheet will help.
Barbecue: The name for Long John Silver that the crew uses
Execution Dock: At Wapping in east London, the place where those condemned to death by the Admiralty Court were hanged. If you weren’t a pirate, you were hung at Tyburn in west London. Pirates went east.
Got six dozen on the Walrus from Flint: six dozen lashes, the Walrus is Flint’s old ship in Treasure Island
Sea-Cook: Also Long John Silver, was the original title of Treasure Island
Odds, bobs, hammer and tongs: Hook’s favorite expletive derived from the sea ballad in Marryat’s Snarleyyow or The Dog Fiend, ch. 9
Luff, you lubber: to luff is to bring a sailing ship around and a lubber is a clumsy sailor
Pieces of Eight: Spanish dollars or pesos, valued at 8 reals
Kid’s Creek: Named after Captain Kidd, a famous pirate hanged (twice because the rope broke) at Execution Dock on May 23, 1701. Became romanticized due to his stories about treasure
Walk the plank: Pirate execution where the victim is forced to walk blindfolded along a plank attached to the side of the ship until he fell or was tipped into the water
A Jonah: Someone who brings bad luck to the ship, as in the biblical story of Jonah and the whale
Bo’sun: His job was to keep good discipline and hard work on board the ship, did this by beating them
A rope’s end: Used by the bo’son to beat delinquent sailors and increase production/labor
Tars before the mast: Ordinary seamen, derived from “Jack Tar” a standard name for sailors. Their quarters were in the forecastle and therefore, before the mast.
Lashed himself to the wheel: Tied to the helm to prevent himself from being swept overboard during stormy weather
Much thanks goes to Peter Hollindale for the Explanatory Notes in my version of Peter and Wendy, 1991 edition. Hopefully, these terms will be clearer for you now as you read.
Avast, ye lubbers! This is our last section left to read of Peter and Wendy. We will have a BOOK CHAT on Saturday May 14 at 1:00 pm PST, 4:00 pm EST. Just click the highlighted link and it will take you right to tiny chat. I will be tweeting reminders and the link throughout the week. Hope to see you there!
Reading for week four: Peter and Wendy Chapters 15-17 (the end!)
Things to Ponder:
- How did you feel about the scene where Tink rescues Peter? How do you think Tink’s recovery would be portrayed in a stage presentation?
- Do you think the violence in this novel is appropriate or too much for a “children’s” book?
- Hook is always concerned with good form. What are some things he does that goes against his own philosophy of what is right or good form?
Contributed by: Lynnette Johnson (NDM#271) Lynnette is the DDL Book of the Month Blogger.