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Mrs. Darling first heard of Peter when she was tidying up her children's minds. It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day. If you could keep awake (but of course you can't) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it very interesting to watch her.

This is from Peter Pan. I can't understand the context of "It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day."

Does "in their minds" mean "in her children's minds" or " in good mothers' minds"? Does "things" and "articles" mean "event" or "something like toys"? A man said "into their proper places" means "in their heads". Right? And which does this "their" mean, her children or good mothers? Could you teach me?

  • The addressee (you) is obviously a child. A couple of sentences after your cited text, it continues with When you wake in the morning, the naughtiness and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind. So their can't be a "singular they" usage - it refers to the minds of the children. Who are are asleep, so you have to be imaginative to grasp how their mother can get into their heads and tidy things up, but it's quaint imagery (and prescient as regards what we now understand to be the purpose of sleep). – FumbleFingers Jun 15 '17 at 16:24
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The first their refers to her children. It cannot refer to every good mother, because every is singular, referring to each individual mother.

The many articles which have wandered during the day are the children's experiences, thoughts and memories, which must be properly arranged to ensure the children's mental and moral development. —This is of course a fantastic and whimsical metaphor for a mother's care, fitted to the fantastic and whimsical tale which Barrie is about to tell.

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