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Creating Other Worlds in Fly Away Peter

Creating Other Worlds in Fly Away Peter

In the novel Fly Away Peter, David Malouf explores the individual’s ability to transcend the immediate, and create ‘other worlds’ of his or her own:

“Meanwhile the Mind, from pleasure less,

Withdraws into happiness: …it creates,…

Far other worlds…”

Malouf uses the continuity of life to highlight the importance of the individual’s mind set against the meaning of human existence. Malouf’s three main characters, Jim Saddler, Ashley Crowther and Imogen Harcourt, are used to present Malouf’s themes in a unique and sensitive manner. Malouf also implies that fate is predetermined and beyond the control of the individual. The only escape route offered is through man’s imagination. “It is the human mind, the imagination which makes us special…”

Malouf suggests life has a continuity, that there is a ceaselessness surrounding time and as a result, individual life is to be savoured. Malouf uses symbolism to represent life’s perpetuity. A prominent example of this is the migrational patterns of the birds in the novel. Birds continue regardless of time: “The timespan for them was more or less infinite.”. When Jim marvels at the sandpiper’s ability to find its way across the world and back: “…because the [memory] was … there… in the long memory of its kind.” The constant reference to bird migration becomes a clear symbol of the idea of continuity.

The concept of the continuity of life is also expressed by the association of humans and earth. The notion “…that the earth was man’s sphere…”, occurs throughout the novel and represents re-growth and the idea that life goes on regardless of circumstance. Jim felt himself ‘dissolving’ into the earth when he …

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…he suggestion that fate is predetermined. Another example of this is the young officer who was hit leading his men onto the battle ground. He died with the look, “I wasn’t ready. Unfair!” Malouf shows that fate is predetermined. The only way the individual can escape it is by creating his own ‘imagined’ world.

Fly Away Peter is unique in its presentation of universal and prominent themes. The significance of the individual, as opposed to the meaning of life, man’s ability to transcend the immediate, the continuity of life and predetermined fate are all examined in a sensitive and perceptive manner. Malouf crafts his three main characters to portray and develop the essence of his main themes. The most prominent of these themes is summarised by Malouf when he said: “We can and must transcend the conditions we find ourselves in, however terrible they may be.”

Orlick as the Dark Side of Pip in Dickens’ Great Expectations

Orlick as the Dark Side of Pip in Dickens’ Great Expectations

Charles Dickens’ aptly titled novel Great Expectations focuses on the journey of the stories chief protagonist, Pip, to fulfill the expectations of his life that have been set for him by external forces. The fusing of the seemingly unattainable aspects of high society and upper class, coupled with Pip’s insatiable desire to reach such status, drives him to realize these expectations that have been prescribed for him. The encompassing desire that he feels stems from his experiences with Mrs. Havisham and the unbridled passion that he feels for Estella. Pip realizes that due to the society-imposed caste system that he is trapped in, he will never be able to acquire Estella’s love working as a lowly blacksmith at the forge. The gloomy realizations that Pip is undergoing cause him to categorically despise everything about himself, feeling ashamed for the life he is living when illuminated by the throngs of the upper class.

These feelings are summed up in Pip’s utter disgust and hatred for the character of Orlick. To Pip, Orlick represents everything that he abhors about himself. When Pip sees Orlick he envisions what awaits him in the future; being ensnared in a life that he couldn’t bear. Orlick, in actualization, is Pip without his high expectations. But there is a much deeper and ominous aspect of the relationship between Pip and Orlick. Dickens uses the character of Orlick to symbolize the darkside of Pip. Pip’s innermost primal feelings and desires are represented through Orlick’s actions, which Pip is ultimately responsible for. These actions ultimately lead to the downfall of both men.

In the first scene where we see Pip and Orlick together, there is …

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…eration. It’s ironic that if only Pip had followed through with the original expectations that he had set for himself instead of the supposed greater expectations that he hoped for, he would have been better off.

Works Cited and Consulted

Bell, Vereen. “Understanding the Characters of Great Expectations.” Victorian Newsletter 27 (1965): 21-24.

Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Ed. Janice Carlisle. Boston: Bedford, St. Martin’s, 1996.

Rawlins, Jack P. “Great Expectations: Dickens and the Betrayal.” Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900. 23 (1983): 667-683.

Millhauser, Milton. “Great Expectations: The Downfall.” Dickens Studies Annual 2 (1972): 267-276.

Rosenberg, Edgar. “Last Words on Great Expectations.” Dickens Studies Annual 9 (1981): 87- 107.

Sucksmith, Harvey Peter. The Narrative Art of Charles Dickens. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1970.

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