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James Matthew Barrie - Essay Example

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James Matthew Barrie

Barrie himself, in the novel titled by his mother's name, Margaret Ogilvy (1896), describes his mother's very careful ways:
She begins the day by the fireside with the New Testament in her hands, an old volume with its loose pages beautifully refixed, and its covers sewn and resewn by her, so that you would say it can never fall to pieces. It is mine now, and to me the black threads with which she stitched it are as part of the contents. Other books she read in the ordinary manner, but this one differently, her lips moving with each word as if she were reading aloud, and her face very solemn. The Testament lies open on her lap long after she has ceased to read, and the expression of her face has not changed. (Chapter 3)
Books were indeed very common in the Barrie household and would surely sow the seeds of imagination in the young James that would do him very well in his writing career. Margaret would read the classics in "Robinson Crusoe" and "Arabian Nights," among many others, together with her children, thus giving them the desire to read and to allow their creativity fly. Yet, as any biography of the respected novelist and playwright will surely mention, an important moment in Barrie's youth was the tragic death of his older brother, David, in a senseless skating accident before the 14th birthday.
David had been a favorite of the mother and from this accident she never fully recovered. The young James, barely seven at the time of the tragedy, made every loving attempt to console his mother, once even wearing David's suit. Only then was he "rewarded with the first intent glances of his mother toward him" (Sarris, Page 1) This key event in Barrie's youth would turn into one of the most unforgettable images in his art, because in the eyes of his mother, comfort was found in the fact "that her dead son would remain a boy forever, never to grow up and leave her" (Wikipedia, Page 1).
Barrie managed to complete his education at Dumfries Academy at the University of Edinburgh with an M.A. in 1882. He started professional work as a journalist for a local newspaper before moving to London in 1885, freelancing for national dailies and magazines. After three years in London, Barrie produced his first novel, Better Dead (1888) - a funny whodunit about the imaginary deaths of the most famous celebrities at the time. Indeed, his own fame would soon follow with a series of novels based on his hometown of Kirriemuir, beginning with Auld Licht Idylls (1888), A Window in Thrums (1889), and The Little Minister (1891). Soon after, with his working together with Charles Frohman, Barrie realized his ambitions of writing plays which in turn made his stature grow as one of Britain's most popular writers. His penthouse would entertain a continuous line of visitors including ministers, royalties, politicians, artists, celebrities, socialites and a list of who's who in society at that time. Already, he counted the most famous writers as his friends: Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, Thomas Hardy, H.G. Wells, Jerome K. Jerome, George Bernard Shaw. His influence was beginning to exert itself well that he even managed to form a cricket team of these literature giants called the "Allahakbarries," a ...Show more

Summary

It will always be a rich, wonderful experience to study the mystery and genius of JM Barrie whose life was surrounded by events that are as eventful and colorful as his writings. Born into poverty the 9th of May, 1860, James was the ninth of a huge brood of ten children, with a handloom weaver for a father…
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James Matthew Barrie essay example
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