Saved Essay Questions

  1. 1

    Why is it important for us to know that Len saw Fred and the gang of friends murdering the baby?

    Len is a sympathetic character who appears to care for the child in a way no one else does, and thus represents the people who seek to move society forward by caring for others. Bond complicates this, however, when he includes the detail that Len watched the murder of the baby and said nothing. In this sense, Len comes also to represent those who stand idly by while violence is being done. He too is caught in a stasis and an inability to protect those who are more vulnerable than him.

  2. 2

    How does Scene 2 set up the rest of the play?

    Len and Pam are adrift in a boat in Scene 2. They aren't going anywhere and need help being brought in. Fred helps them in and hits on Pam in front of Len quite blatantly. This foreshadows the fact that Len will not be able to hold onto Pam, that she will begin an affair with Fred. It represents the ways that the characters will slip in and out of favor with one another. It also introduces us to Fred, who is brash and lewd, his attitude foreshadowing his ruthlessness later in the play.

  3. 3

    What is a reason that Edward Bond believes the play to be "irresponsibly optimistic"?

    The play ends with Len fixing Harry's chair with Mary in the room. Len must go to get a hammer for himself. One reason that the play is "irresponsibly optimistic" is that any of the characters are able to be in the same room with one another after all of the tragedy they have faced. Len is repairing Harry's chair, which is symbolic of his desire to fix the household, but can it be fixed? The ending is not exactly hopeful, but it does present an image of a family trying to piece itself back together.

  4. 4

    How is the play symbolic for society as a whole?

    While the play looks at one very specific family and its dysfunctional relations, the conflicts in the play represent the ways that working-class Londoners are alienated and marginalized from society. On one level, we can see Pam's neglect and Fred's murder of the baby as a symptom of their desperation, which has to do with their class position and their feelings of alienation. The violence that underlies their action is as much a symptom of the system in which they live as it is an individual character trait. Indeed, Bond wanted the violence to be seen this way, as a part of the human animal, and his capacity to harm others.

  5. 5

    In what way is the play relentless?

    Saved is relentless because it often stages dynamics between the characters over and over again without change. This monotony seems to be part of how Bond sees and wants to depict the alienation and oppression of the society in which these people live. Len pursues Pam doggedly, taking care of her even after she verbally abuses him. He sacrifices all his dignity in order to try and convince her to be with him. Similarly, Pam throws herself at Fred, never once taking no for an answer, always imagining that he will take her back, even though he shows no signs. Additionally, the men in the play, when they are alone with each other, often talk in sexually suggestive and lewd language, which seems to suggest that sex is a compulsive topic of interest.