• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the use of symbolism in the novel Fly Away Peter

Extracts from this document...


Yr 11 English Lit. Long Essay Emma Bright Fly Away Peter Discuss the use of symbolism in the novel Fly Away Peter Effective use of symbolism enables the reader to gain a greater understanding of the concepts the author wishes to portray. Malouf cleverly demonstrates this within the novel Fly Away Peter and transforms it from a story about Australian involvement in the First World War into an analysis of society, the effect war has on people, friendship and what it is to be an Australian. On closer examination of the text Malouf's symbols become apparent, which are then able to provide further insightful information about the characters, the circumstances that are faced and the themes and messages presented to us throughout the novel. These symbols come in various forms, although the most prominent recurring symbol within Fly Away Peter is that of the birds. The birds are first presented to the reader at the beginning of the novel where we find the main character Jim, bird watching in the swamplands of the Australian coast. They are described as "A vast population of water birds lived in the swamp / lorikeets, rosellas and the different families of pigeons - fruit-pigeon, bronze wings, the occasional topknot or squatter - and high over all stood the birds of prey, the hawks and kestrels." ...read more.


(Pg. 27-28 - Chpt. 3) Capturing this one perfect moment of the Sandpiper is symbolic of trying to capture life and fixing it "maybe for ever". Imogen later realizes that life is a cycle and must continue, but the photograph of the bird is her way of trying to keep that moment, that life alive forever. The Dunlin, which is first mentioned in chapter 7 and later again in chapter 9 is another important symbol used by Malouf. Jim is amazed by the presence of the bird as, "It doesn't occur" (Pg. 48 - Chpt. 7), whereas Imogen sees it as quiet ordinary as she knows it as a common bird back home in Europe where she comes from. The Dunlin is appreciated differently by Jim, "and immediately on his lips it sounded different, and it wasn't just the vowel. / At its difference in his mouth and hers." (Pg. 47 - Chpt. 7) We are given their opposing views on the Dunlin and Imogen finds "she was amazed by this new vision of him, his determination, his intensity." (Pg. 49 - Chpt. 7) This relates to Jim going to the war and how Miss. Harcourt feels that he is different; his determination is similar to when he goes to war. As Jim finds the bird unique and captivating, it seems that he's enjoying something that he doesn't feel will last forever. ...read more.


symbolizes how the cycle of life goes on, it is repeated over and over again as people live out their lives - ride on the crest of the wave, but then must eventually fall into the ocean and die. This understanding of the symbols used to represent the cycle of life allows Imogen and the reader to comprehend the death of Jim. That we are all a component of the cycle of life, and that Jim has had his time riding the crest of the wave, and now must fall into the ocean so that the cycle can be repeated. Malouf is able to effectively use symbolic representation within his novel Fly Away Peter to provide us with further insight into the characters, their relationships, the society in which they are positioned and the circumstances with which they must face. They allow us to understand Jim's perception of the war and how he feels about its presence within their society. We're shown Miss Harcourt and Jim's desires to understand what life is all about. One of the most important themes of the novel is presented to the reader through symbolic suggestions, which is the concept that life is an ever-going cycle, which peaks and then must eventually fall away. The symbols throughout Fly Away Peter help present that central theme Malouf is trying to tell us, that "life wasn't for anything. It simply was." (Pg. 132 - Chpt. 18) ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

The essay writer has presented us with thoughtful insights into the purpose and themes of this novel. The bird imagery in particular is well presented and supported by relevant quotations and skilful analysis. In particular, the comparisons and contrasts between the worlds of birds and of humans is well brought out here, especially when referring to the war episodes.

Punctuation is a little sloppy and some grammatical structures are clumsy. However, paragraphing is well managed, with an excellent introduction and good conclusion.

4 stars.

Marked by teacher Jeff Taylor 10/06/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level War Poetry essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The causes of world war one

    4 star(s)

    This most frustrating of enemies prevented the troops from reaching the trenches of the opposition forces. In some places the wire was reported to be so thick that the barrel of a gun couldn't be forced through it. In some cases corpses were laid across the wire to act as a bridge, and allow the troops to cross.

  2. Consider the ways Frayn presents Uncle Peter in 'Spies'

    He is said to be 'like a saint', and the image of his portrait being surrounded in a silver frame creates a sense of how his character is loved and idolised. The motif of the silver framed picture first appears in Auntie Dee's house as 'a photograph of Uncle Peter

  1. The Lost Generation in The Sun Also Rises

    The Great War causes the characters of The Sun Also Rises not only physical and emotional suffering, but moral and religious abandonment as well. Although none of the main characters in this book professes true devotion to their religion, it is the contrast among characters that illustrates the morally lost state of the generation.

  2. In the wars, Robert Rose is a very significant character.

    to Rowena. Robert also was very protective of Rowena and always showed his concern for her, like Mrs. Ross did for all her children but more so towards Robert. Consequently, Robert being the closest to Rowena becomes the reason Mrs.

  1. Regeneration - The Horror of Pity and War

    truths are told for example families are lied to about their loved ones when they're killed. We see that in both the novel and the poetry there's a sense of life as a waste as nobody believes they would come out alive for example the young man in 'Disabled' "threw

  2. Asleep analysis

    In the second stanza, Owen questioned the meaning of death. "Whether his deeper sleep lie shaded by the shaking of great wings...or whether yet his thin and sodden head...." The two questions served as a direct comparison between the illusion that one is honored and blessed to die for his

  1. Compare and contrast the techniques employed in portraying the horror of war in Regeneration ...

    soldiers dealt with every day, but for Raleigh this is a new experience- making it all the more horrific and the audiences experience more intense.

  2. Francis Character Analysis

    He was a Frenchtown hero and a true mentor to the children of the Wreck centre. Larry was always someone the children admired with his movie star smile 'My hero from the war'. He was so admired by everyone that he was thrown a welcome home party by Frenchtown, 'You

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work