The setting of the story is set in the garden. It is described as a wilderness. It has a small vegetable patch near the pond. I think this garden could have potential if it was cared for and not used as the children’s ‘Play area’. It has one bed where Mrs Quick (one of the main characters) ‘grew flowers for the house’ and it ‘hadn’t been touched for years’. She had lost care for it. Old apple trees tottered over seedy laurels, unpruned roses where in the garden and tall ruins of dahlias and delphiniums hung from broken sticks.
From the way the writer had written about the garden, he describes it as if it was like a jungle. I know this because he keeps referring it as ‘wilderness’. The reason for its neglect was that it was for the children and that ‘they should do what they like there’. This phrase is a hint into what is to come later on in the story. Mr quick like that their garden was different from other neighbours because he was proud that it was different and that his children had created a place where his children could play and relax. It was like a ‘play area’ for them. The writer repeats the word ‘wilderness’ to emphasise the state of the garden.
He wants the readers to understand that the garden is like a ‘forest’. The condition, the smell, everything. ‘Sun just warming up… making even old weeds shine red and gold’. The reader says this because even though the garden is like a jungle, it still is beautiful. Weeds are said to be ugly and most people want to get rid of them but the writer wants the readers to understand that the garden is beautiful, weeds and all. ‘It had a special kind of beauty of untouched woods’.
The writer is still telling the reader that the garden is like a ‘primeval forest’. This means that it was before humans/ untouched by man. This confirms what the writer said before about the quick family not caring about the garden. The connection between the state of the garden and the behaviour of the children are similar in the sense that the garden is ‘wild’ and that when the children ‘attack’ the dog and father the actions of them are ‘wild’ because they throw ‘bamboo’ sticks at the dog and pounce on the dad like a ‘wild’ tiger perhaps? Their actions are like fierce animals in the jungle, which could be seen as the children in the garden. The children as fierce animals and the garden as a jungle.
First things first are that the two girls are of similar ages. Kate is thirteen (the oldest), and Jenny is twelve. The two girls are similar in their mannerisms. They both dismiss their father when he comes in from work and they don’t have a positive attitude towards him. Jenny merely turns her head slightly and dropped her cheek on her book. She didn’t welcome him with affection like young children so. She just accepted his presence and got back to relaxing. Kate reacted alike. She was friendlier to her father but also didn’t shower him with affection when he came home. She muffled a ‘Hullo, Daddy’.
The differenced between them is that jenny doesn’t even reply to her father but Kate does. Although Kate is a year older that jenny the roles in them change. Jenny seems more matured than Kate because Jenny reads books and Kate had been playing in the garden because she had mud on her legs. Saying this though they have the same attitude towards their father. They just accept he was there and shrug him off. Normally in today’s era, children would respect their families and greet them warmly but the way the reader wrote about the children dismissing him as if he was just a friend.
I am going to pick out some details that refer to how Kate and jenny are behaving. I am going to decide whether this behaviour is good, bad or ordinary. Kate and jenny ‘washed the cut, painted it with iodine ‘. This is good behaviour because this shows that the children care about their father and that they are still affectionate towards him. Kate raised one foot and tickled the dog’s stomach. This is good behaviour. It shows affection toward the dog. The girls handed out cake and bread for tea. This is good behaviour because they are helping their mother by looking after the guests and providing them with food.
This shows that the daughters are kind and responsible. Jenny made sure that the plaster was stuck on her fathers cut. This is also good behaviour because it shows more affection for her father in the way that she cares that her father is hurt and wants to make him better. Ordinary behaviour is ‘Jenny with a book under her nose’. This isn’t good behaviour because although she isn’t up to mischief she isn’t helping others or doing anything particularly good. ‘Kate…was sitting on the swing’. This is ordinary behaviour because normally little girls of Kate’s age do this. ‘Kate… lay on her back with her hair tousled in the dirt.’ Again this is ordinary behaviour because most little girls of this age do these similarities. Now I will discuss the bad behaviour both girls have. Jenny ‘snatched a bamboo… and hurled it at Snort like a spear’.
This is violent and not acceptable. This is action of an ‘Indian’ (like in a western Indian movie where the Indians are seen as the fierce opponents to the cowboys) not a young girl. A spear is a weapon and a young girl should certainly not have weapons or make them. Kate half kicked the dog. This is bad behaviour because it is cruelty towards the dog. This isn’t acceptable as a dog is a living thing and shouldn’t be abused like this for any reason. Kate seized another bamboo and threw it at the dog. This is another bit of bad behaviour that Kate shows and it totally unacceptable. The verb seized is a very powerful emotive word and it means to hold firmly.
The image of a little girl holding a bamboo stick firmly aiming it at a dog is very disturbing as it shows anger and violence and these words aren’t normally visualised with a little girl. Jenny tried to hook Snort with a rake. This is also bad behaviour coming from Jenny and is very worrying as a young child is seen violent towards her dog. Another ordinary object is turned into a weapon and used to harm the dog. This is intolerable behaviour from a child of her age.
Children tore at their dad hurting him. This is bad behaviour because they are causing physical cruelty towards their father. I think that they both have equally bad behaviour because when the dog ‘annoys’ Kate she tells it to go away and jenny mimics her. This tells me that jenny copies her sister Kate but later on when jenny throws a bamboo stick at Snort, Kate copies her and does the same.
So they both copy each other in their bad behaviour. It isn’t like one sister is copying the other. They both copy each other. Jenny and Kate together put violence on the dog and the father. In another sense Kate could be seen as the more violent one of the pair because Jenny sees that her dad is hurt and cares for him by ordering Kate to get some water so that they can clean up the cut and put a plaster on it. Later on jenny comes and checks on the cut, which shows remorse and responsibility of her actions towards her father. Kate doesn’t appear to do this and therefore we are bound to the conclusion that Kate shows little remorse in her actions towards her father.
The main character is Robert quick. He is introduced immediately. Even though the story is written in third person narration in some parts the story is written from the father’s point of view such as personal comments or personal feelings. When Robert Quick comes in from work he is eager to see his daughters. He shouts ‘Hullo’ to them both expecting a reply, which only Kate answers. He was disappointed at the children because at one time when they were younger they adored him. When he came home from work sometimes he would meet the girls and drive them home. They would sometimes ‘play about’ and hide behind the hedges.
So from the playful banter of earlier years and to no reply now I feel that he is disappointed and doesn’t know where there affection has gone from them. He doesn’t realise that they are growing up. When he doesn’t he urges the conversation to go further and asks another question desperately trying to get their attention. He gives more attention to jenny as he continued the conversation with her. When describing the two girls he adds more detail about jenny. He says ‘Jenny had moods of passionate devotion…she was going to be an exciting woman, strong in her feeling, intelligent, reflective.’ He doesn’t mention anything about Kate’s moods, which suggests that he feels more for Jenny than Kate. Although he shows a little attention here, the writer comments that ‘Quick never asked for affection from his girls’ which makes me wonder whether his views changed when the affection was lost.
The excuses he makes for their behaviour is that they are growing up. He says ‘they had suddenly receded from him into a world of their own’ basically saying that they are growing up. He confirms this at the end of the story by reviewing Jenny’s behaviour and saying ‘She’s growing up – and so am I’. I don’t think that there is any evidence that Robert Quick is a lazy man because he works. This becomes clear to the readers in the first paragraphs when Mr quick comes home from a ‘business trip’. He seems to be dressed for work with him hat and dark ‘business suit’.
The writer has repeatedly used the word business to get the readers to understand that Robert Quick either owns a business or works for one. When working I don’t think that anyone can be lazy because if he works for a living to raise cash for his family and not get benefits then I don’t think that Mr quick could be lazy in this aspect. I think he was lazy to not get up out of his seat to stop the violence from happening to his dog or was he just scared?
Mrs Quick plays the mother of Jenny and Kate and the wife to Robert Quick. The Quick’s family status is that she occupies her time with her family and community work and Mr Quick owns a successful job. I know that it must be successful because he owns a car, which is very rare in the 1950’s. We learn that Mrs Quick is ‘Handsome, rosy, good natures, practical’. She is such a minor character because the violence would never be towards the mother. I think that because Mr Quick is at work, Mrs Quick would be at home with the children and their relationship would be stronger because they are close. I think the anger came towards the father because he was only home for a few hours and didn’t have a strong connection with his daughters as much as Mrs Quick did.