Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?
This is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain.
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.
After reading the introduction to the play I realized that it was not going to be a ‘friendly’ play about a group of seven year olds. There was going to be something to give it a malicious twist. The play begins with one of the small boys playing happily by themselves. My first reaction was seeing as the children are being played by adults this will look quite ‘odd’. What I was having to understand was that it was being played by adults to emphasise that children don’t always play in a ‘friendly’ matter. When the boy starts pretending he is an aeroplane he quotes: ‘Then be all dead. Dead. Dead. Burnt to nothing’. He has said that all the people he has imagined will die and be burnt. This is a very disturbing thing for such a young child to be thinking, instead we would expect him to say: ‘and they will all land softly’ or a similar gentle mannered idea. As two friends, Peter and Willie are united and their behaviour seems quite normal and playful. However, what shocked me was when Peter started beating Willie physically over an apple. His behaviour is very spiteful and threatens to ‘spit right in the middle’ of Willie’s face. This is a side of a seven year old that I have never seen or imagined before. All children have people that they look up to and compare themselves with. In this case it is a boy called Wallace Wilson. Peter doesn’t seem to like his name being mentioned which I think is a result of his jealousy. Overall in the opening scene I found out that Peter is a lot more threatening and domineering than Willie, and this gives him a sense of leadership.
Potter wrote the play because he wants us to judge and criticise the children ...