Growing Up and Flight: Main Characters
The two stories are very similar in many ways. Both are about learning new things and the changing attitudes between the old and the young. Also the main learners in both stories are the older generation. In Flight it is the Grandfather while in Flight it is Robert Quick. Also in both stories the secondary learners are the younger generation Jenny in Growing Up and the mother of the younger generations seem to have already learned and accepted the lessons. However there is a slight difference I feel that in “Flight” it is more about accepting new concepts than about learning.
In flight the first thing Quick realizes is that his daughters have grown up, he realizes this due to their lack of response to him and their lack of affection. This is how in lines 4 to 6 “He had hoped indeed that they might, as often before, been waiting at the corner of the road” and in line 25 to 26 “He shouted ‘Hullo, hullo, children.’ There was no reply. And he stopped, in surprise.” He expects the children to be the same as they were when they were younger but they have changed. This is also shown from lines 34 to 49 where the children are very unresponsive towards their father, Jenny answers by having “peered at him through her hair” and a “slight wiggle of her behind” and Kate answers him only by “faint, muffled… ‘Hullo'”.
The Grandfather in Flight learns that his granddaughter has grown up as well in lines 116 and in lines 119 to 122 what makes him realize this is their “grown up seriousness”. The author shows this by contrasting the grand father being “shut-out” by their “grown up seriousness” while they are “tumbling like puppies on the grass”. This contrast shows that although they appear to be the same the grandfather has learnt that inside his granddaughter has changed. Mr. Quick also learns that his daughters can be hurtful and learns not to have fixed expectations of them. He learns of their hurtful ness in lines 75 to 105 when the girls first torture snort and then begin to attack him. But he then learns not to have fixed expectations of them when shortly after that in lines 125 to 136 they then begin to take care of him and nurse his wounds. A similar thing happens in Flight when the granddaughter first taunts her grandfather in lines 47 to 51, but then later 103 to 105 bring him a present as a peace offering showing him not to have fixed expectations either.
Both the granddaughter in Flight and Jenny in Growing Up also learn something new by the end of the stories. The granddaughter realizes that her grandfather does not wish to spite her (as it seems in lines25 to 39) and is only trying to prevent her from getting married because he truly loves her, and he does not wish her to be unhappy. The author has presented this at the very end of the play, so that it has a lingering effect on the reader. Doris Lessing shows this not by any words but by an action, namely when the grandfather releases the birds (which have been made to symbolize the granddaughter) free in lines126 to 145, symbolizing setting his granddaughter free to do as she pleases.
In turn she realizes this and reacts to it and is said to be having “tears run shivering off her face” showing the profound impact it has on her. Joyce Cary author of growing up also shows Jenny’s new understanding at the end of the story. He leaves the reader with a sense of uncertainty concerning Jenny, unsure as to what exactly she is thinking, leaving it at “she also was struck by something new and unexpected”. I believe that Jenny gained a new understanding of Quick, perhaps one of vulnerability. This is perhaps due to the fact that quick towards the end is shown as fearing his children. In lines 174 to 175 he is shown as unsure what to think of what Jenny was doing, which may be the base of her new understanding
Another similarity between the stories upon comparison is the resemblance in the roles of the Daughter in Flight and Mrs. Quick in Growing Up. The authors of both stories show them as being superior and show them as already understanding what the other characters are yet to learn. In Growing Up when Mr. Quick tells Mrs. Quick about the events of the day which have shocked him she merely replies “All you children- amusing her selves while we run the world.” As if the events were perfectly normal and natural, because she already knows to expect it. The same is true for the Daughter in Flight she too shows that she understands both sides and knows what to expect when she converses with her father in lines 75 to 100 when she appears to have al the answers to the grandfather’s questions.
Both stories have a lot in common in the way the authors present the way in which the characters learn new things. This is especially true in terms of structure where the layout is close to identical. Though both stories seem to be about different themes they are very similar in comparison.