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Fly Away Peter By David Malouf:"Jim Saw That He Had Been Living, Before He Came Here, In A State Of Dangerous Innocence... He Had Been Blind."

771 words - 3 pages

"Jim saw that he had been living, before he came here, in a state of dangerous innocence... He had been blind." What did Jim mean and how does it relate the overall point of the novel.'Fly Away Peter', by David Malouf, is essentially a novel examining life; it charts Jim's loss of innocence as he confronts the brutality of war and the truth of human nature. On his arrival to the trenches it is as if Jim has opened his eyes for the first time, and only now has truly seen the harsh and glaring reality that he was so distanced from in the lush, shady paradise of the sanctuary. It is the story of how each of us will, or already have left the secure safety of our youthful thoughts to experience the uncertainty and shock of actuality.Jim acknowledges his need to extend his thinking and experience of life in the face of the changes that the war will inevitably bring. Jim feels he needs to go to war, "otherwise he would never understand...why his life and everything he had known were so changed...and nobody would be able to tell him". Jim's self-admission that his quest for understanding and awareness will take him to the battlefields of Europe foreshadows the realisation of his own inexperience and naivety when he arrives. Jim's innocence is echoed by that of his countrymen, who are oblivious to the horrors that they will live through or die from. "I'd want to be in it," one young girl passionately declares to Jim, of the war. "It's an opportunity"."Every life is a march from innocence...to virtue or vice." Jim marches straight from his simple life in the sanctuary into the corruption of war. He leaves his field glasses behind with the 'continuity' and natural 'abundance' of the sanctuary, accepts his rifle and bayonet, and joins the "familiars of death" in the trenches. The situation that Jim finds himself in, where he is fighting knee-deep in mud or advancing against enemy bullets through no-man's-land, would be considered more dangerous than his time peacefully spent in the sanctuary. However, Malouf is not writing on the already evident horrors of war; instead, he warns his readers that not to know one's true nature is...

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