Fly Away Peter Chapter Summary

2003 Words9 Pages
Fly away peter notes PLOT SUMMARY Fly Away Peter is an Australian novel set before and during the First World War. The first part of the novel is set on the Queensland Gold Coast, and the second part on the Western Front. The central character of the novel is Jim Saddler, a self-contained young man with a profound understanding of the bird life of an estuary near his home. Ashley Crowther has recently inherited the farm which includes the estuary; despite the divide of class and experience, the two young men form a close bond when Ashley offers Jim a job as a warden, recording the comings and goings of birds in their 'sanctuary'. Jim also befriends Imogen, an older woman whose photography captures the beauty of the birds in the sanctuary; in particular the Sandpiper. This is an idyllic world of Sandpipers, plovers and ibises, but not without the seeds of change and disturbance. When the First World War breaks out, Jim feels obliged to join up, and travels to the Western Front, where his unique and sensitive perception gives the reader a window to the horrific experience of trench warfare. Malouf's description of the all-consuming 'system' of war and the gruesome realities of living and dying at the front are gut-wrenching in their…show more content…
This subtle parallel is used by Malouf to explore the key theme of innocence and experience. The idyllic "eden" of the estuary contrasts boldly with the hellish trenches. The novel consists of dualities: war and peace, life and death, innocence and experience, wealth and poverty, natural and man-made. However, these binaries are tinged with ambiguity. While the 'sanctuary' is idyllic, it is in this time and place of 'innocence' that Jim saw his brother killed on the farm, and had to live with the venomous and destructive despair of his father. Conversely, in the trenches, friendship is rich and the bird life is
Open Document