Saved Summary and Analysis of Part 5


Len asks Fred what it was like to kill the baby, but Fred deflects. When Len continues to ask, Fred shrugs him off. Pam tries to shoo Len away, but he stays by her side. When Fred and the gang leave, Len offers to walk Pam home, even though he's already late for work. "Can't we try an' get on like before. There's no one else. Yer only live once," he says, as the scene ends.

Scene 11. In the living room, Mary is sitting on the couch, when Harry comes in with a pot of tea. He sits at the table, where he cuts and butters some bread. Mary pours herself some tea and takes it to the couch. When Harry sits with his back to her, Mary gets up and moves the teapot to a place out of his reach. He protests, and Mary pours his tea onto the floor.

Mary and Harry begin to fight. Mary says that the tea set was a wedding present from her mother, and Harry accuses Mary of trying to seduce Len. Mary becomes livid, telling him that she has worked for everything in the house. As their fight elevates, and Mary hits Harry in the head with the teapot, pouring water on him, Pam comes in, then calls Len in.

They ask what happened, and Harry is convinced that he needs to see a doctor. When Len tells Pam to get a towel, Harry says that he's not allowed to touch the towels, and Mary suggests that Harry ruined her teapot, which she has had for 23 years. Len determines that they simply had a fight, and nothing is seriously wrong.

Suddenly, Harry comes out with the fact that he saw Mary and Len flirting. While holding a knife, Harry hints that they were being physical. In protest, Len shakes Harry, while Pam sits on the couch and sobs. She laments the fact that Len has killed her baby, taken her friends, and broken her home. Len protests that he is only trying to help. Len agrees to move out, as Pam keeps repeating, "No 'ome. No friends. Baby dead. Gone. Fred gone."

Scene 12. Len lies facedown on the floor of his bedroom, holding a knife. Harry comes in, wearing white combinations and "a skull cap of bandages." Len asks Harry how he's feeling and Harry says he doesn't know. Then, he tells Harry that he's listening through the floors and that he can hear Pam with someone, but Harry says he saw her come home alone. Harry tells Len that Pam is crying in her room, and Len tries to explain to him that he never had an affair with Mary.

Len tells Harry that he plans to emigrate, but Harry tells him he's too young. Len asks Harry about the war and Harry tells him, "Most I remember the peace an' quiet. Once or twice the 'ole lot blew up. Not more. Then it went quiet. Everythin' still. Yer don't get it that quiet now." He then tells Len not to move out, and tells him that he's going to leave soon, when he's ready and she is on her pension. "When someone carries on like 'er, they 'ave t' pay for it. People can't get away with murder. What'd 'appen then?"

Scene 13. Pam sits on the couch in the living room reading the Radio Times, while Mary clears the table. Harry comes in and fills in a football coupon. There is a loud bang offstage. Len comes in with a chair that Harry tripped over and broke and begins to fix it. When Pam gets up and leaves the room, Len asks her to get him a hammer. Mary sits down and reads the Radio Times, and Pam comes back in without a hammer.


This final section is the first time that we see Mary and Harry interact in the whole play. For the rest of the play, we have seen them as an oddly estranged couple, living under the same roof, but never stopping to interact with one another, in spite of being married. In Scene 11, they speak to one another, confronting one another about how much they loathe one another and everything that divides them. In this scene, we see an image of the squabbles between a couple of a different generation, and the struggles they face.

Throughout the play, seemingly normal interactions often crescendo into full-blown violence. We first see this with the treatment of Fred and Pam's baby and its eventual murder. Here, we see that the tension that has been bubbling up beneath the surface in Mary and Harry's relationship is a tremor of resentment that is actually physically threatening. In a moment of rage, Mary hits Harry in the head with a teapot and gets hot water all over him. Their mutual hatred is strong and overpowering, and carries with it a physically divisive element.

Creating further turmoil is Harry's revelation that Mary and Len have been flirting. This news is offensive to everyone, especially Pam, who sits on the couch and weeps about the betrayal. In this moment, we see how misplaced the characters' anguish is, that they would be more torn apart by a mere flirtation than by the neglect and murder of an infant. In this house, Pam, Len, Harry and Mary are locked in a psychosexual and violent dynamic, one that threatens notions of sexual propriety and correctness.

After this fight, there is a surprisingly quiet scene between Harry and Len. Harry visits Len in his room and they discuss Len's plans to leave and what he ought to do. It is one of the simpler conversational scenes in the play, unmarked by unrequited desire, violent rage, or sexual aims. It is unusual in an otherwise cacophonous and disturbing play to see such a moment of stillness.

The play ends rather curiously, with each of the characters pursuing their own activities silently. While Pam, Harry, and Mary all pursue rather empty exercises, Len tries to keep the household together by fixing a chair. After so much conflict and verbal jousting throughout the script, the end of the play has a certain stillness that is unsettling, a silence that suggests that there is nothing left to say, that the violent truth is being repressed yet again. Yet again, Len becomes a martyr-like figure, doing what is best for the household and family when none of them will take care of themselves.