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"Compare the parents in 'Your Shoes' and 'Growing Up' and what they learn about themselves."

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Introduction

"Compare the parents in 'Your Shoes' and 'Growing Up' and what they learn about themselves." 'Your Shoes' by Mich´┐Żle Roberts and 'Growing Up' by Joyce Cary are two very different short stories. They both, however, involve one parent who seems to be in a state of uncertainty regarding their child or children. I feel that, having studies both, each parent needs to learn something about their own lives in order to apply the understanding to their jobs as parents. Roberts and Cary both present the children in their short stories as individual human beings. It has come as a surprise to both parents that their children need to be understood and that they might actually need to get to know their offspring as people. In the case of the mother in 'Your Shoes', however, this might actually be too late. Beginning to read 'Your Shoes', the reader is aware that the narration is in the style of a letter. It is, in fact, revealed that a mother is writing to her daughter who has run away from home. She writes: "You just went off, just ran out of the house in the middle of the night, and left me." ...read more.

Middle

She would be back at four," give the impression of a rather mysterious and anonymous figure. Both of the short stories seem to centre around one particular parent, as I am sure was intended by Roberts and Cary. In one way or another, both parents appear to be feeling a deep sense of betrayal ("You left me" and "...something new had broken into his old simple and happy relation with his daughters; they had suddenly receded from, him into a world of their own..."). The mother in 'Your Shoes' regrets never having bonded sufficiently with her only daughter and that her leaving home is a rejection of her parental love and effort. Previously, though, she had believed in her ability to acquaint herself with all aspects of the girl's personality and lifestyle: "I thought I knew you...No secret places, no hidey-holes, nothing in you I couldn't see." The fact that she feels she "didn't really know you at all" causes the reader to sympathise with the mother herself. The reader is informed rather fully about the previous underlying problems in the family, and the fact that to be given another chance at letting her daughter know to what extent she is loved would be to stabilise the mother's state of mind. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think that Roberts is attempting to stress the fact that bitter memories and regretful past experiences have changed the narrator's intended style of mothering ("I dreamed of my mother last night...There was so much I wanted to say to her and now it's too late"). The role of a pair of white trainers in the story presents several ideas. One is a symbol of all things lost - deteriorating marital and maternal relationships have been the causes of insanity. The white colouring of the trainers also links to the theme of insanity - the white gowns and clothes worn by psychiatric patients. The theme of 'white' is maintained throughout the story. The daughters in 'Growing Up' are younger, and there do not appear to be any unstable emotional foundations...simply a lack of castigation. Having hurriedly learned of his paternal misunderstanding, Robert Quick, if he chooses, is still able to see his daughters grow up in a calm, ladylike manner. As Roberts intended, this is more than can be said for the parenting in "Your Shoes". Roberts and Cary have, overall, created two seemingly dissimilar characters; however when the short stories are studied several similar misunderstandings become apparent. Some of the pain caused by insufficient parenting is too deep to erase, other examples can change. Both characters have much to learn about both themselves and their children. 1 1 ...read more.

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