Fly Away Peter

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Australia is a relatively young country compared to the rest of the world and places such as Europe. Before the First World War Australia struggled to give itself a lasting identity, the war united the Australian people together for the first time as a nation, and created the ‘ANZAC legacy' and the Australian way we know today. The years surrounding World War One helped build our identity, and David Malouf expresses this issue in the novella Fly Away Peter.

In 1914 Australia was just a newly federated country, only 13 years into it's nationhood. Australians in this time had no identity of their own and were dependent on their ‘mother country', they saw themselves as British people in a new land, and their loyalties were very strong to Britain. Even though Australia had been seen as a ‘new land', it is still clear that the British social values and attitudes about class and gender were exactly the same as the ‘new' Australian way. This can be seen in the differences between Jim and Ashley, Ashley is rich and well educated, while Jim is his inferior employee. They are from the same small area in Queensland, but are as culturally different as could be possible.

Although Australia was so closely related to Europe, it was also very cut off, the war was something Australians had not yet heard of, and when they did, they were the last to learn about it, "the echo of a shot that had been fired months back and had taken all this time to come round the world and reach them". War is something Australia has not yet experienced, and most of the Australians were "filled with excitement" and the streets were "filled with an odd electricity". They had "entered a different day," Australia was going to become a part of the bigger picture, and Jim felt that it "made him bold", ready to try and experience new things.

Young Australians were eager to join the war to help England and to be involved in the excitement, they did not want to miss out on such an excellent...
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