Fly Away Peter

1817 WordsDec 13, 20068 Pages
The novel Fly Away Peter expresses specific attitudes and values by encouraging the reader to identify with the central character, Jim Saddler. David Malouf, the author, attempts to expose the brutality of war and encourages readers to realise that one can be living a very sheltered lifestyle oblivious of the cruelty and negative side of life. In this text dealing with the experiences of Jim during World War I and events leading up to his signing up, the author uses biblical allusions, evocative and sensuous imagery, contrast of settings, metaphors and other characters to aid readers to establish an identity for the protagonist. It is through his central character that he communicates his disparaging perspective on war and points out…show more content…
Jim's childish enjoyment of the episode when he and Clancy run to the engine for hot water, and his naïve admiration for the Pharaoh-like grandeur of the war, are reminders of how little he knows. However the audience shares in Jim's growing horror as we discover what it's really like when he gets into the trenches. Clancy whom by now the reader has associated with as a lovable larrikin is "blasted out of existence", Eric's legs are torn off and Bob coughs up his lungs. These ghastly images as witnesses by Jim causes the reader to react in an anti-war way. Hence through contrast of settings Malouf shows his condescending attitude towards war. Malouf uses poignant metaphors which relate to the central character and delivers his message of life's meaning even after death. The concluding scene where Imogen is on the beach reflecting upon Jim's unnecessarily shortened life, the wave is a metaphor for Jim's life. Growing bigger and higher until ultimately crashing down symbolic of the rising and falling of Jim's life. Like a wave Jim reached his peak which was death. Also when Jim, running towards the enemy lines, sees "himself a distant slow-moving figure within… the long view of all their lives", he is understanding that life is something that moves relentlessly towards death. here Malouf seeks to say that we are not divine creatures but instead mortal. We must accept that ultimate change which is the subject

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