This chapter as the beginning of the book sets the scene and begins to develop the characters of the novel. The story begins with Jim in the swampland watching birds calmly, looking at how they live their lives, remembering that these small birds have seen more of the world than most people, “has been further and higher than even that clumsy plane” (p.3). As a respectful intruder into the birds’ territories, Jim feels that nature is in balance before he notices a biplane begins making circles above the swampland. The biplane belongs to Ashley Crowther, Jim’s employer who owns the swampland and is giving his guests flights over the area.
Ashley is something like a local squire after returning from England, where he had his education. This distinguishes the lives between Jim and Ashley, although we later learn that Ashley in fact provided the job for Jim, it has liberated Jim, and has “made free of his own life” (p.5) the basic, boring life that Jim’s father had declared “for the likes of us” (p.5) Jim and Ashley have a strong bond between them, despite their difference in class. Ashley recognises that Jim has an affinity with the land, and proclaims that in fact the land partially belongs to Jim, although Ashley owns it. Later we meet Jim’s father, a traditional man, with many contrasts between Jim and himself. Jim’s father resented the English, against their “fancy accents and their new fangled ideas.
And their machines!” (p.6) Jim’s father believes that Jim would be better off just going to Brisbane and getting a job there, so as not to rely on the English for employment. But Jim will stay and rely on Ashley because “Something in the silence that existed between them, … made Jim believe that there could be a common ground between them, whatever the difference.”
My Thoughts and Feelings about Chapter 1:
When reading this chapter I felt that there was a very strong affinity between Jim and nature, that he was so intensely fascinated with the birds that he wanted to be one, to fly off to another part of the world. It seemed as though Jim would be quite content to sit or stand in the swampland all day and just watch the birds. The disturbance of the plane disturbed Jim because it was an intrusion into the normal goings-on and was harmful to the wellbeing of the natural processes that occur.
This in my mind is imagery for the way war inflicts upon the world, and how no one likes it. When we meet Ashley I sense something of a respect toward Jim, despite his “higher class” Ashley respected Jim as much as any other man. Jim is also unintimidated by Ashley, although it is Ashley who is his employer. The two young men can just sit there and both be very content in that their relationship can support that and that they enjoy each others company and all times. The relationship that Ashley has with Jim is in strong contrast to the relationship that Jim has with his father, which is in a rather poor condition. The differences between Jim’s father and himself are strong. Jim’s father is a very traditional man and I felt as though he wanted Jim to continue the Australian tradition of hard work, to follow in his footsteps, but instead Jim wanted to work for Ashley and learn about nature by experiencing it first hand. When I was reading this part of the chapter I almost felt sorry for Jim’s father because he seemed quite upset at the fact that Jim was not following the inevitable life “for the likes of us”.
Within Chapter Two of ‘Fly Away Peter’, Ashley Crowther, being Cambridge educated, a musician and much like an English gentleman, has returned to his childhood home to find that he is still in touch with it and not al all a stranger as would be expected. Ashley rides around his property, reestablishing his connection with it, reminiscing. The house is given new life- filled with weekend guests who have come to share and enjoy the landscape and nature with Ashley. One day, while riding by the swamp, Ashley discovers Jim observing the Dollar bird. Despite differences in their backgrounds, Jim and Ashley discover that they share a mutual interest and respect for nature. After sharing a cigarette, Ashley excitedly offers Jim a job in this bird sanctuary, an idea that had only just presented itself to him. They shake on it and it is confirmed.
Explain the thoughts and feelings you had, as you read this chapter. The way that Ashley Crowther is introduced at the beginning of Chapter Two gives the reader the impression that he is a nice and generous person as it is mentioned that he had a good sense of humour and a love for wide spaces and distant horizons that he felt was too good not to share. The descriptions provided by Malouf of the property stimulate us to picture a very beautiful place with the music of nature (birds and insects) all around and with a ragged appearance filled with pastel blues and greens. The fact that they are so excited by the Dollar bird sitting in the ironbark makes us realise just how much Jim and Ashley love nature and want to be a part of it all. The reason why Jim doesn’t jump at the job opportunity immediately but remains silent for a while is unclear. After all, it was mentioned that he had been waiting for so long for something like this to present itself. So why didn’t he jump at the opportunity? Overall, the chapter wasn’t very exciting or anything like that but it was significant because it was in this chapter that the idea of a bird sanctuary occurs to Ashley Crowther.
Jim Saddler and Imogen Harcourt meet: Armed with a new pair of binoculars provided by Ashley, Jim was busy admiring a sandpiper and reflecting on how amazing it is that such a tiny bird had seen so much of the world. That although it may have a small eye, it retains “some image of the larger world” that no mere man has seen. Then suddenly he realized that he wasn’t the only one watching this tiny sandpiper – a woman was taking a photograph of it. Although this coincidence was uncanny, he thought it “seemed much less extraordinary than that this few ounces of feather and bone should have found its way here from Siberia or Norway”. Curious about this “old girl” who shared his affinity for birds, he discovered her name and where she lived, and decided to go and introduce himself.
Miss Imogen Harcourt is a middle-aged English woman who lives in a run-down weatherboard cottage. To Jim’s surprise, Imogen also noticed him watching the sandpiper. She shares with Jim her life story, how she came to live in Australia, and that taking nature photographs for a London magazine was how she supplements her small income, and deals with homesickness at the same time. Jim “found he understood almost everything she said straight off”, which was “unusual”. Jim, impressed by her professional competence, is “oddly moved” by her photograph, recognizing her skill as an intuition or gift she has – deeming the photograph of the sandpiper “perfect”. So Ashley, Jim and Imogen “became partners, all three”. Jim told her of the “sanctuary”, using the word for the first and last time, forever after speaking only of “the birds”.
Thoughts and feelings:
Throughout this chapter I felt that that the meeting of Imogen and Jim was no coincidence. Although their relationship was purely platonic, their mutual appreciation of bird life transcended any formalities that may have otherwise been called for. In life they were kindred spirits, fixed on the same goal – just like when they first saw each other, out of all the birds in the entire sanctuary they were each fixing their attention from different sides on the same sandpiper. This perfect moment shared with the sandpiper forever linked them together.
The main event in this chapter is the guide Jim takes Ashley’s upper class visitors. We learn that Jim considers England to be a mad place after he over heard a upper class person talking about the beauty of animated birds. It is at this point that we first hear about the up coming war. The most important reference in this chapter is about Jim and Ashley relationships. Jim sees Ashley as his employer and as a good friend. We also see the similarities and differences between these two characters. Jim the one with the knowledge of birds from his years of observing, and Ashley the businessman with a nature loving side.
Explain the thoughts and feelings you had, as you read this chapter. As I read this chapter I thought about all the contrasts that were made. The first is between Jim, a casual person, compared to the upper class visitors who were preoccupied at first with not getting their expensive clothes dirty. The second contrast is the relaxing boat trip where the beautiful birds were observed, and then the gossip the visitors were saying about the imitated birds. The last contrast, but most important is the mention of the future war and the peaceful birds. These contrasts affected my feelings towards the characters and the changing setting of the novel.
This chapter charts Jim’s visit to Brisbane and the effects that reality of war played on him and the rest of the community as a whole. During his stay, Jim came into contact with many individuals who had contrasting personalities. Jim’s encounters were as follows:
· Swedish shop keeper – who expressed his disgust at the war that was about to begin, ‘A bad business… a catastrophe. Madness.” · Patriotic young girl – who seemed overly eager about the idea of war and going to fight for one’s country, ‘If I was a man I’d want to be in it [War]. · Group of excited youths – Who seemed to want to celebrate the onset of war. · A woman – who held passionate views against aboriginals, but was willing to have a ‘good time’ with other young men, including Jim. Explain the thoughts and feelings you had, as you read this chapter This chapter is largely about how other people can influence a Persons life. Initially the girl’s statement to Jim, which read as: “I reckon you’ll be joining up”, is what plants ‘ the seed of excitement’ generated by the war in him. Given that it was accepted within the Brisbane that all capable young men should fight for their nation, it may prompt a reader to think: If Jim was not in Brisbane whether he would still have gone to fight in the war? The chapter also plays an important role in asserting the type of character Jim is.
Through his nervous reaction to the gathering of the crowd, when he questions “is this what it will be like from now on? … Will I ever get used to it? – Readers should be able to gauge that Jim’s personality fits that of one who likes to observe rather than communicate. He is an individualist. The apparent eagerness by the majority of people to go to war may be somewhat misleading. Although it may seem as if those in favour of fighting did so because they felt it was their duty to represent their country, a more cynical view may be that individuals viewed it as an opportunity to explore the world.
This chapter takes place at the coming of Spring, during the time of the “big migrations”. With all the birds arriving into the area, Jim is busy observing and recording the new “refugees”. After recording each breed, Jim carefully and with much precision, enters all the birds into “The Book”. As a mark of the occasion, Jim presents The Book to Ashley and his wife, Julia, on their wedding day. Explain the thoughts and feelings you had, as you read this chapter Through this chapter, I realised the great significance of why Jim records each breed of birds. The recording of the birds gives each of them an existence in the world. Having a name for each breed allows the birds to be identified. I also felt the dedication and joy Jim has for his job: “The greater excitement was inscribing what he had seen into The Book.” Another example: “Chose a good pen and the best ink; bringing to the occasion his fullest attention; concentrating…”
In this chapter, Jim discovers a new bird, which he seemed to recognize but then at the same time was unable to identify. The features of this bird were very different to what he thought this bird could have been. He was very puzzled for he knew every bird, but this one was one that he had never laid eyes on. In this chapter Jim’s excitable response to the concealed and loveliness of birds is emphasized again. The following day in the company of Miss. Harcourt, he sees the bird again, he is informed that the bird is a Dunlin by Miss Harcourt. Jim is quite fascinated by “this common rare creature he had never laid eyes on till yesterday that was as common as a starling”.
For Jim it was one of the most engaging for Jim, but was not so interesting for Miss. Harcourt. She was used to the “thousands that used to come in back home, along the shore and in the marshes”. Miss Harcourt was quite surprised by Jim’s determination to study the bird. “At last, after a long time, he didn’t know how long, he laid the glasses regretfully aside and found Miss Harcourt regarding him with a smile”. It seemed bizarre that Jim should be so fascinated in something that visited the shores of her childhood, his determination and intensity amazed her as it was a side of Jim that she had never seen before.
Ashley’s friend Bert takes Jim up for a ride in his aeroplane. Jim is reluctant to go as he feels that the earth is for humans and the air is for birds. He also disapproves because flying machines have changed from “toys” to weapons of war. However he does in the end accept the invitation to see the country from a bird’s eye view that he so well knows from the ground. Jim does not come away any admiration for the plane or pilot but he wonders how birds can take the same map that he just witnessed and use it to fly around the World. It is also in this chapter that Jim feels “the ground tilting” towards “the pit” and it is this pressure along with the pressure of his father that causes Jim to enlist in the army. Ashley accepts the news of Jim joining the army calmly while Imogen becomes angry. Jim’s father is sentimental and envious of Jim referring to him as “the lucky one”. The fact that Jim’s father was envious of his son being able to enlist in the army is puzzling and it shows how naïve individuals can be, and also how easy it is to be caught up in what the majority believes even if it is life threatening.
Jim has arrived at the war, along with many other Australian soldiers. Jim befriends Clancy Parkett. Jim and Bobby Cleese spend a day trapped in a shell hole just in front of enemy lines. Bobby describes fishing off Peel Island, whiting, and Deception Bay – images of home. On his journey to the front, Jim had seen thousands of birds. He had eagerly noted down a description of a flock of dunlin, the same bird he and Imogen Harcourt had seen at the sanctuary. Jim is involved in a scuffle with Wizzer Green. For a moment the two men appear ready to kill each other. Then Clancy steps in and fights Wizzer, defusing the dangerous situation.
Chapter 10 begins to deal with the hardships suffered by the soldiers through dreadful times, and the beauty and fun of snow. The soldiers are taken to the front (Bailleul) in cattle trucks, forty to a car. The trucks used previously were used to take cattle upto the slaughter houses, and the smell of the animals still existed. Despite this, the men are very cheerful through their singing and joking, anxious for battle. Clancy leads Jim in a chase to arrive at the engine for hot water, an adventure in which Jim enjoys. As the soldiers view the trenches for the first time, Jim views in amazement at the organization that has gone into it. He relates the organization aspect of the trenches to the building of the pyramids in ancient times by the pharaoh’s.
The chapter is set in the town of Armentières, a quiet section of the front. It is the last night (December 22nd) before they have to go into the line, and Clancy persuades Jim to break the rules and go to a village – two miles out of town. On the way, Jim and Clancy are joined by Eric Sawney. Arriving at the village, Clancy takes them to a bar owned by Monique. They have a couple of drinks, and get drunk, where we find out about a Margaret Clancy knew.
In this chapter Jim has entered the war, the chapter describes the harsh conditions that the soldiers had to go through in the trenches, the rats, the smell and the dead bodies and sickness that were always around them. It describes water as being an enemy for the soldiers as the trenches were often flooded by it and the soldiers feet began to rot standing in it for days on end. The chapter talks about the Australian soldiers having more enemies than the German’s on the other side of the trenches.
These enemies were not only the water that filled the trenches but the rats that occupied them as well. Dead bodies and the diseases that came from them were also a big problem for the soldiers. In this chapter the trench that Jim is in gets bombed, a young boy Eric Sawney gets both of his legs blown off and Jim’s friend Clancy was killed by the incident. This event is very traumatizing for Jim who was unhurt by the incident. Jim later visits Eric in hospital, feeling guilty about the young boy having no one to look after him.