Growing Up

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‘Growing Up’ by Joyce Cary (page 73)
Joyce Cary – a man – was born in 1888 and died in 1957. This short story gives no hint of the adventurous and varied life of the writer himself. He was born in Northern Ireland and was educated at Oxford, before taking part in the Balkan War and then moving to Nigeria as a civil servant and a soldier. He was married with four sons. Although some of his novels and short stories reflect his experiences in Africa, he also wrote about art and politics. This short story looks at children and two of Cary’s novels were directly concerned with childhood. Themes Children and growing up is the central theme of this story, as it is with several of the other stories in the Anthology. However, the central character is an adult and so it links well with ‘Flight’, where the story follows the emotions of a grandfather trying to accept his granddaughter’s forthcoming marriage. ‘Your Shoes’ also has a central narrator, although that story is written in the first person. This short story is certainly concerned with relationships between the generations. Children as a destructive force appear in ‘Growing Up’, in the came way that the boy in ‘Chemistry’ has an urge to damage his mother’s boyfriend. ‘Superman and Paula Brown’s new Snowsuit’ also examines the theme of the destructive power of children. Adults struggling to understand the behaviour of children are a central issue in ‘Growing Up’, as they also are in ‘Superman and Paula Brown’s New Snowsuit’. Notes The first paragraph establishes the central character, a businessman Robert Quick. He is named, unlike the anonymous central characters of several of these stories. He is described as a conventional businessman, in a dark suit and hat. Significantly, he sheds some of his formal clothes as he goes into the garden, perhaps representing that the rules and values he will encounter there are far from civilised. Ls. 7 – 19 The garden is described as a ‘wilderness’. It has been neglected because...
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