Fly Away Peter and Heart of Darkness

Satisfactory Essays
Fly Away Peter and Heart of Darkness

Fly Away Peter, written by David Malouf, is set in 1914-1915 during the period of World War One. The story of the main character, Jim, begins in his home in rural Queensland before embarking on a journey in France to fight in the war. Heart of Darkness, written by Joseph Conrad, is set in a similar period of time. The main character Marlow’s journey is to the Congo, which had recently become a part of the Belgium Empire. Both characters undertake a physical, intellectual and spiritual journey. They also learn about themselves individually as well as about humanity which brings them to question the meaning of life.

At the beginning of the two novels, both Jim and Marlow are somewhat innocent to what lay ahead of them. Malouf describes Jim as being in a state of ‘dangerous innocence’ in the early chapters of Fly Away Peter. He is portrayed as being a person who is not well educated, has limited experience of the world and doesn’t like change. ‘New views of the things didn’t interest him…’ pg. 50. In Heart of Darkness, Conrad portrays Marlow as a man who loves adventure, which is quite unlike the character of Jim. He has seen and experienced much of the world. However, he is innocent because he has never been to a place like Africa where colonialism exists. He has always lived in a civilized world controlled by rules and regulations and so has never witnessed the effect lack of restraint can have on people.

As Jim and Marlow undertake their physical journeys, both begin to lose their innocence and gain knowledge of the world. Jim begins to lose his innocence when he goes to Brisbane and sees how the news of war affects people. The change makes him realize he wants to experience more in his life and so enlists to fight in the war. On arrival in France Jim finds himself in a ‘world unlike anything he had ever known or imagined.’ p58 He experienced the horrors and living and fighting in the trenches and the way war transformed soldiers into different people that became unrecognizable. As he sees the people killed and replaced and killed again he becomes a veteran of war and feels himself growing older. Marlow begins to lose his innocence when he arrives in Africa and witnesses the effects of colonialism.
Get Access