Peter Rabbit: Human or Animal?

I found our in class discussion on how Peter Rabbit is anthropomorphized quite fascinating and something I hadn’t thought about before. His mother is very careful and deliberate in buttoning his jacket which is what ends up getting him caught just as he’s about to escape Mr. McGregor.

What’s more, his shoes also seem to be a hinderance that he kicks off to “r[u]n on four legs and [go] faster”. I think this brings up an interesting question of what Beatrix Potter is trying to portray Peter as. We could see it as him being confined by the restrictions and expectations his mother put on him and that he needs to free himself of them to escape. At the same time however, Peter Rabbit is an animal and we see him going from dressed up, walking on his hind legs, holding vegetables in his front paws to escaping on all fours in the manner of a rabbit.

What does she mean by reversing his personification? And what implications does his identity have for Mr. McGregor? Is he the prey being hunted by the human, or is he the human being stalked by the animal?


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