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Jim's Progression From "A State Of Innocence" In The Novel "Fly Away Peter" By David Malouf.

1290 words - 5 pages

The novel Fly Away Peter shows us Jim's progression from "a state of innocence" to a different understanding of himself and the world. Discuss"Fly Away Peter by David Malouf is a study of life; charting Jim's journey from innocence into the horror and brutality of World War One, and of human nature. On his arrival to the trenches it is as if Jim has opened his eyes for the first time, and only then truly sees 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 war.Malouf attempts repeatedly to have us acknowledge the innocence of Jim. In the silent relationship between Jim, Ashley and Imogen, but Malouf avoids being blunt and obvious by usage of prose and specific, perhaps unnecessary detail which bring us back to the present; such things such as Imogen's Camera and Jim's moustache. The observation of the birds, and the passion that all three share for this activity create a unique bond between them. The birds, "refugees from the old world', may tempt us to see this world as idyllic, however Malouf contracts the possibilities of the new world with that of the old and the patterns of nature are disturbed. The present reality intrudes. Nevertheless, Jim is taken to the birds due to recognition of the bird's containment, of his tender, respectful nature to them as a species, allowing him to realize intuitively, each as a part of the 'whole' scheme of things.Jim understands his need to extend his thinking and experience in and 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".Though Imogen is a small part of the book, she is a large part of the story, for although there is no sexuality between Jim and Imogen, there is an attempt to establish a common human link and bond not affected by social stigma such as gender or class. Not that Imogen is able to go to war, nor is Jim immune from sex, though the Brisbane encounter was only in passing it seemed. 'Nothing had changed'. Rather that the near-paradise for Jim within the sanctuary is not disturbed by the outside. We are reminded of the bi-plane of the opening which first shadows the water lands and Jim's innocent state. The plane, man made, is a sign of the human corruption of nature, mimicry of the...

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