Birthday in Fairy-Land By: Thomas Wentworth Higginson
This story begins with Annie who is reading a book. She wished that she could see fairies and then she becomes drawn by the music the fairies are making. The fairies invite her to their land and she participates in a ceremony of crowning. The Queen of the fairies tells Annie that she must leave her home and family behind if she wanted to stay. Annie refuses and learns that leaving her home and family behind would never bring her happiness. At the end Annie realizes it was all a dream and cries for her mother.
When I read this story I couldn’t help but think about Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up and instead lived in Neverland among the fairies, young boys, and other creatures. Thomas Wentworth Higginson’s story tries to tell us that happiness comes at a cost of something else. Annie might like the fairies and their world, but for her to achieve true happiness she could never do so if she were to give up her family and home. However, in Peter Pan’s case he had run away from his home and chose to live in Neverland where he would never grow up. In a way they Annie and Peter Pan represent two different choices where one chose to go back home and one chose to stay.
Wendy, the girl who Peter Pan brings to Neverland is similar to Annie because she chose to go home to her family and grow up. When Wendy has grown up and has a child named Jane she tells her that out of all the things she liked she had chosen her home:
“And then he flew us all away to the Neverland and the fairies and the pirates and the redskins and the mermaids’ lagoon, and the home under the ground, and the little house.”
“Yes! which did you like best of all?”
“I think I liked the home under the ground best of all.” (Barrie, Chapter 17).
When you compare this to how Annie thinks of home and her family you can see the similarity between both girls. When Annie thinks about having to leave her family for Fairy Land, she knows that she would not truly be happy there: “ ‘And shall I never, never, see the darlings again?’ though she; ‘and have I agreed to stay here for ever, and let them look for me in vain, and at last mourn for me as lost? Oh! How foolish and wicked I was to think, that any thing here could give me any pleasure, without having them with me!’ ” (Higginson, Page 20-21).
Barrie, James. “Peter Pan.” Gutenburg. 25 June 2008. Web. 18 Oct 2015. <http://www.gutenberg.org/files/16/16-h/16-h.htm#link2HCH0003>.
Higginson, Thomas. “Birthday in Fairy-Land.” Boston Literary History. 1850. Web. 18 Oct 2015. <http://www.bostonliteraryhistory.com/chapter-4/thomas-wentworth-higginson-1823-1911- birthday-fairy-land-story-children-boston-wm-crosby>.