The Shadow
Reading Comprehension Activity

Author: J.M. Barrie

Chapter 2 Passage: J.M. Barrie’s beloved classic, “Peter Pan,” also known as “Peter and Wendy,” began as a play in 1904 and became a novel in 1911. The story of a boy who would not grow up and his adventures in Neverland with the Darling children: Wendy, Michael, and John. Students will read the passage and answer questions on context clues and details of the story.

Topic(s): Adventure / Thriller, Science Fiction / Fantasy. Skill(s): Summary, Context Clues, Story Elements. Genre(s): Prose

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Peter Pan is
the story of a boy who would not grow up. He lives in a faraway world called
Neverland. Peter can fly. He often goes into London to look for adventures.
In this passage, Peter, with his friend Tinker Bell the fairy, has entered the
bedroom of the sleeping Darling children during the night. Mrs. Darling has
dozed off nearby. She wakes up when Peter comes into the room. Nana is the
children’s nanny who happens to be a large dog.




Mrs. Darling screamed, and, as if in answer to
a bell, the door opened, and Nana entered, returned from her evening out. She
growled and sprang at the boy, who leapt lightly through the window. Again Mrs.
Darling screamed, this time in distress for him, for she thought he was killed,
and she ran down into the street to look for his little body, but it was not
there; and she looked up, and in the black night she could see nothing but what
she thought was a shooting star.


She returned to the
nursery, and found Nana with something in her mouth, which proved to be the
boy’s shadow. As he leapt at the window Nana had closed it quickly, too late to
catch him, but his shadow had not had time to get out; slam went the window and
snapped it off.


You may be sure Mrs.
Darling examined the shadow carefully, but it was quite the ordinary kind.


Nana had no doubt of
what was the best thing to do with this shadow. She hung it out at the window,
meaning “He is sure to come back for it; let us put it where he can get it
easily without disturbing the children.”


But unfortunately Mrs.
Darling could not leave it hanging out at the window, it looked so like the
washing and lowered the whole tone of the house. She thought of showing it to
Mr. Darling, but he was totting up winter great-coats for John and Michael,
with a wet towel around his head to keep his brain clear, and it seemed a shame
to trouble him; besides, she knew exactly what he would say: “It all comes of
having a dog for a nurse.”


She decided to roll the shadow up and put it away
carefully in a drawer, until a fitting opportunity came for telling her
husband. Ah me!

Comprehension Questions

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