Fly Away Peter Book Analysis

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Fly Away Peter, written by David Malouf, delineates Australian soldiers’ involvement in World War I and he utilises a variety of literary devices to convey his central ideas. Through the experiences of the protagonist, Jim Saddler, Malouf establishes the destructive nature of war by contrasting sensory imagery. As well as Jim’s ability to manufacture a separate reality to adapt to the destructions in his textual world through the motif of the birds. Malouf’s philosophical approach to the nature of life is also demonstrated using textual framing. Overall, Malouf presents these ideas with an eloquent text that employs numerous literary devices which evokes emotions from the reader and therefore, further their understandings of the text.

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The birds are the most prominent recurring symbol throughout the text. Jim is caught like a fly in the web of war where he is constantly feeling discontent and under the imminent threat of death. Conversely, the presence of the birds is able to help Jim find comfort during his tough times. Jim has an affinity with the birds back home, which when Jim sees the birds, he is able to experience a worry-free and harmony moment again. This enables Jim to stay in a “world of his own”, a separate reality that blocks out the harsh reality of war. The constant sound of the bombs exploding irreconcilably explodes the text’s harmonious moments and this exacerbates Jim’s feeling of discomfort. However, the leitmotif of the birds singing further aids in Jim’s ability to manufacture a separate reality to cope with the destructive nature of war. The singing of the birds is evident in the text such as “Thu thu it went, a soft whistling. Then, more quietly, wut”. This vivid description of the joyful sounds of the birds composes a beautiful melody that is reminiscent of Jim’s time back home. This helps to distract Jim from the reality of war and places him in a peaceful moment all to himself. Overall, the presence of the birds provides Jim “a kind of private reassurance for himself alone” and is able to bring Jim back from the brink of despair resulted from the
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