Malouf: Fly Away Peter

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade July 2001

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David Malouf's Fly Away Peter focuses on young Queenslander Jim Saddler. Initially, Jim lives in the idyllic bird sanctuary but he finds his life too restricted and so enlists to fight in the First World War. This novel comprises of many memorable and important scenes that apprehend significant moments such as the sandpiper, the bi-plane, Clancy and Jim's death and the lasting image of the surfer. These themes relate to the novels concerns because it explores aspects and the affects in humanity, such as the nature of human life, technology, human experience and the danger of propaganda.

The scene of the sandpiper is significant to the novel because depicts the uniqueness and individualism of the birds and nature. When Jim observes the sandpiper in "its own brief huddle of heat and energy" then looks at a photograph of the sandpiper, he thinks, "this is the moment when we see into the creatures unique life".

Jim realises that each individual creature is unique whether it is an ant, bird or a human being. Although there might be billions of insects or birds, it does not detract from the uniqueness of the individual creature. During the war, Jim's understanding of the uniqueness of nature is crystallized when he looks under a log and sees the wood lice and the other insects. He realises the connection between the birds, men and insects. In fact, they are all the same and unique living inside their own identity. Therefore the image of the sandpiper can be classified as one of the special moments as it is a scene that demonstrates the uniqueness and importance of the each individual creature and nature.

The image of the bi-plane is an important scene, which is relevant to the novel's theme because it illustrates the impact of new...