She is recognized as the boys’ mother by Hook, becomes responsible for their welfare upon their return to the real world and is permitted to return once a year for a week (when Peter remembers to come back for her) to conduct his spring cleaning.This type of traditional female role is depicted to a lesser extent in Mary Poppins although it is slightly changed as a result of Mary’s different role. Her role as a female in traditional society is revealed as Mary unpacks her bag upon her arrival. The first item to be removed is a starched white apron that she promptly ties around her waist to announce her position within the house. The list of items that follow are completely in line with the duties of a woman. They consist of “a large cake of Sunlight Soap, a toothbrush, a packet of hairpins, a bottle of scent, a small folding armchair and a box of throat lozenges” (Travers, 1962: 21). The final item is every child’s dreaded evening medicine, but Mary Poppin’s bottle is touched with magic, making it taste like the taker’s favorite liquid. Mary observes all the strict proprieties of a proper Englishwoman through her every action and in her fastidious attention to her outer appearance. Although she enjoys taking pride in her appearance, she demonstrates the appropriate reaction of a well-born woman approached by a low-born man. When the butcher ventures to pay her a compliment by calling her a “nice, handsome young lady”, he is met with the “sight of Mary Poppin’s face. The expression on it was awful … And she took the sausages and turned the perambulator around very quickly, and wheeled it out of the shop in such a way that the Butcher knew he had mortally offended. Peter Pan And Mary Poppins Affirming The Role Of The True Woman.
Barrie, J.M. Peter Pan. New York: Starscape Books, 2003.
Travers, P.L. Mary Poppins. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1962.
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