Fly Away Peter Essay

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‘Fly Away Peter’ is a novella written by David Malouf in 1982, set in 1914 in Queensland, Australia. Three very different people were brought together by their location, and share a love of birds and the natural environment, where the Queensland coast in 1914 is a timeless and idyllic world of sandpipers, ibises, and kingfishers. The two young men, Jim Sandler and Ashley Crowther enlist in the army when the Australian Government joins the allied forces in WWI. They soon experience the mud and horror of the trenches of Armentieres. Malouf’s use of narrative techniques such as third person perspective and contrast serve to explore the dangers of patriotism in relation to war. Similarly, imagery and setting are contrasted with the ugliness of war. Finally, a variety of language techniques coalesce to create extremely emotive language, exploring the gruelling and emotionally damaging nature of war’s conditions.
Malouf’s application of third person perspective, serves to convey the influence of patriotism in times of war. Malouf conveys in the early chapters of ‘Fly Away Peter’ his idea that Australia was a young but patriotic nation in 1914, the year in which the text’s events take place. The strong patriotism of Australians is seemingly shown in a positive context by Malouf,
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War is integral to the text, and aspects of it are explored extensively by Malouf. The poisonous manner in which patriotism drives unsuited young men to war is conveyed via perspective and contrast. Contrast of imagery conveys the overall nature of war, in its hierarchy and ugliness. Finally, language techniques such as emotive language and negative connotations are utilized to explore the gruelling conditions of war, and the emotional toll it takes. Malouf’s text conveys much about the horrendous nature of war and the phenomena surrounding it, via a variety of narrative and language
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