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Fly Away Peter

            "Fly Away Peter- could be described as a journey of discovery. What does Jim discover about himself and how does Malouf show us this process of discovery?-.
             In the novel, "Fly Away Peter-, Jim Saddler goes through a process of change and development, through which he discovers much about himself and the true reason why were are here. As a writer Malouf is very in touch with nature and uses contrasts throughout his novel to make a point. The contrasts Malouf makes between the instinct of birds (benign) and the instincts of humans (malignant) show us how the instinct of humans harms others and how things we do everyday have damaging impacts on nature and other people. Malouf also contrasts the serenity and beauty of the swamp in Queensland to the horror of the trenches and war; by doing this it makes the war seem so much worse. We really understand how destructive war is and how it affects so many people. .
             The novel begins with the view of a biplane flying clumsily over the swamp. Against this backdrop, where birds roam free, Malouf makes his first point. By comparing the two he shows how humans try to imitate nature, but how nature - the birds in particular - are far superior. Humans are shown as ill at ease in their surroundings and there is a point made to show that Jim feels s need to have a place named for him. This seems to suggest that humans need to feel they have an ongoing purpose in life and a reason to be on this earth. The idea of why we are here is one of the main themes running through the novel, and the question raised by Jim "what are we here to achieve?- begins his journey discovery.
             To help Jim answer this question of what, as human beings, we are here to achieve Malouf brings in the idea of human transience. He deeply evokes life's transience and fragility, but also offers us reassurance in the continuity and balance of things. The horrific and senseless death of Clancy reminds us how delicate life is and how it can be taken away at any moment without warning.

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