Simply Accept the Changes of Life and Move on: Joyce Cary's "Growing Up"

Simply Accept the Changes of Life and Move on: Joyce Cary's "Growing Up"

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Joyce Cary was a famous Irish novelist and he studied in Oxford. The short story Growing up is part of his collection ‘Spring Song and other Short Stories ’.The short story ‘Growing Up’ deals with the idea that how time brings about many changes and how one has to consequently move on and grow up by simply accepting the changes time had heralded and ushered along ; This idea is clearly seen all through the story and is reflected in the characters of Mr. Quick and his daughters.

This short story is about a father coming home from a business trip to his family. He expects joy and excitement at his homecoming from his daughters and is surprised by their indifference. He meets his daughters and they begin to behave in an alarmingly violent fashion. He panics but the 'game' ceases as abruptly as it had started. Later the girls' mother arrives with the welfare committee and they conduct themselves like well-educated young well behaved girls. Quick's reaction of surprise toward these brutal and sudden changes in his daughters only highlights the fact that he doesn't really know his children. The girls are shown as innocence gone vicious due to the neglect of their parents though the parents meant well by giving the some freedom. The girls eventually turn into boorish hooligans far from mature, dignified girls they pose to be at the tea party. Quick in the end is very disappointed and loses even the little allusions he yet had. He decides to go to the club and spend time with his old friend Wilkins even though Wilkins was a ‘crashing, dreary bore’.

Robert Quick was a busy working man who had returned home after a long business trip. He was longing to get a warm welcome from his beloved family members who he had not seen for a lo...


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...ill be their banker to pay off the bills due. He eventually faces the harsh reality of the situation and stops looking at his family from the rose tinted glasses. He realizes that the entire scenario has undergone a drastic change and nothing has remained the same.

The title ‘Growing up’ is therefore very apt to describe the situation in the Quick’s household. It is shown that the parents also need to grow up with their children and realize that they will soon not always be the epicenter of the lives of their children. Change due to time is inevitable and the sooner one ‘grows up’ it is better. In addition to this Joyce Cary also suggests that growing up is always hard whether it’s at the teenage years or at fifty two. The comment passed by Quick in the end further throws light on the apt nature on the title. He remarks that his kids are growing up and so is he.

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