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Fly Away Peter
Enemies, like friends, told you who you were.' To what extent is Jim's understanding of self enhanced by his contact with those around him?'Fly Away Peter' is essentially a story about life. Through the life of Jim Saddler the reader becomes aware of the ideas posed by the author, David Malouf. Jim's life, if anything, is indeed a journey, unfolding through various broadening experiences that lead to Jim's eventual understanding of the world and his own self. However, to simply say that this understanding is enhanced solely by his contact with those around him is only true to a certain extent. Jim's journey of life exists on many levels, just one of which is the lessons he learns through his contact with others.

A strong note emphasised throughout the novel is Jim's detachment. During the establishment of his relationship with Ashley, and his decision to join the war, 'Jim existed in a world of his own, not withdrawn exactly, but impenetrably private'. Ever the lone wolf, Jim keeps the events in his life at arm's length, remaining distant and observing his world in his own unique way. The retiring, introspective Jim notes he has no close friends, though calling Clancy a 'mate'. Even the horrors of war fail to make Jim see the world as others do. He admits his naivety, confessing that'he had been living, till he came here, in a state of dangerous innocence'. Jim acknowledges how his new experiences have indeed opened his eyes to the real world, but as yet he has not reached his eventual understanding of self.

The bond between Jim, Ashley and Imogen is founded on their mutual respect for, and love of, the bird life in the sanctuary. There is certainly no doubt that Jim and Ashley are brought together by their appreciation of nature. Ashley has 'a quiet respect for the things Jim also respected', and the reader is made aware of the bond and mutual respect each feels for the other. These three characters, despite their social differences, easily relate through the birds. Ashley provides Jim with a place in the world through the sanctuary, and Imogen helps Jim to secure his place within the sanctuary through her photographs and the book. Ashley and Imogen are certainly significant factors in Jim's journey. They play a part in his final understanding and affirmation of self, in that they are encouraging influences upon Jim and help him to appreciate himself, however they are not the sole deciding factors in Jim's comprehension of life.

'Enemies, like friends, told you who you were'. This is indeed true of Jim, who learns much about his own self through the cynical criticism of his father and the brutish bullying of Wizzer. His father, with his bitter outlook and defeatist attitude, shows Jim what he does not want to become. In his...
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Fly Away Peter. EssayMania.com. Retrieved on 12 Oct, 2010 from