Contrast the girls' behavior in the garden and later on, at tea, in Joyce Cary's "Growing Up."   

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Joyce Cary's short story, "Growing Up," the girls' behavior changes so drastically in such a short time, that it's no wonder Quick has trouble keeping up.

When he arrives home, Quick calls out to his daughters who do not respond. They are in the back of the garden, listless and unmoving. The next thing Quick knows, the girls are tormenting Snort, the dog, which upsets him. As he moves to intervene, all of the sudden the girls are like screaming banshees, chasing after him and falling on him as he sits in a garden chair. Jenny's face is so vicious-looking that it frightens her father. Then she starts to strangle him in earnest, and though he fights for breath, he is fearful that he might hurt their delicate bones, the same ones that are cutting off his air.

However, all of a sudden, the chair breaks. Out of fear or because she was "pinched," the dog nips at Quick and breaks the skin on his head. All at once, the girls' manner changes and they begin to order their father about as they take upon themselves the task of seeing to the cut.

Mrs. Quick comes home with her friend, and they look at the other three as if they are children. However, Quick has seen something alarming in the girls' faces and bahavior, and begins to feel as if he is no longer a part of their lives. At tea, they behave with grace and tranquility that belies their earlier actions. Quick decides he needs male company and makes for the club when tea is done. However, Jenny follows him out, ostensibly to ask after his cut.

Jenny is frowning over something, and a realization comes to her, but she does not share it with him. She casually moves back towards the house, and still puzzled, Quick goes on his way—certain that something vital has taken place of which he is unaware.