Realism represents life as it really is or was. It can be identified in terms of the effect on the reader. That is, realistic fiction is written to evoke the feelings of the reader and give the sense that its characters and their experiences are a part of reality. The novel Fly Away Peter by David Malouf is a prime example of a fictional text that is presented as being real because of the way it is constructed. Through a variety of techniques including imagery, diction, symbolism and methods of characterisation the reader is presented with a number of characters that depict human life and experiences, in which the reader can relate to and accept as being real. Fly Away Peter presents a harsh and confronting picture of the experiences of war but also issues of class.
Within the novel Fly Away Peter, issues of class are present between two characters, Jim Saddler and Ashley Crowther. The differences between Jim and Ashley also represent the differences between Australia and England at the time. Class distinctions between the two characters create a sense of realism for the reader, as they are able to relate and make sense of it. Jim Saddler is an ordinary man who is seen as inferior because of his lack of education and appearan
" (Pg 14) The innocence of Jim is shown when Ashley describes how he "discovered"tm Jim, giving the connotation of being new. The words symbolise class and wealth. Jim Saddler aids in portraying human life experiences. That is, due to differing circumstances, in this case being war, a person changes. Therefore, although the novel is fiction, the experiences of characters seem real because of the way the novel is constructed. " The connotation of the word fate is symbolic of Ashley's predetermined future. The character of Jim is presented as being inferior due to the fact he goes to war as a soldier and is obliged to endure the hardships of war itself. That is, the description of men smelling like corpses and dampness is a realistic part of war, something soldiers had to cope with. " (Pg 14) Ashley is thus seen as superior because of his dress sense and cultural heritage. Thus through the readers knowledge and understanding of the world, they accept and agree with what the author presents. " The young man stood, thin faced, heavy shouldered in worn moleskins and a collarless shirt. The horrors and impact of war is thus highly significant. " But he would have first to find the wound"where he was hit. Therefore, although the text is fiction, it can seem real because of the way the characters are constructed. Also, through the readers"tm understanding of the world and knowledge of present living standards during war, the war described in the novel creates a sense of realism for the reader.