Saved Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Boat (Symbol)

In the second scene of the play, we see Pam and Len in a rowboat. Pam seems bored and her mind is wandering, but Len remains attentive towards her. This image is symbolic of their relationship, the fact that they are stranded in a kind of romantic boat together, unable to entertain one another or get along.

Len caring for Pam (Motif)

While she is not very amenable to it, Pam gets taken care of time and again by Len. Len insists on taking care of Pam, even if it comes at the expense of his job and obligations, and even if she lashes out at him in the process. Len cannot help but care for Pam and her family, and it becomes something of a motif, representing how willing Len is to give up his own comfort on behalf of Pam and Pam's family.

Baby Crying (Symbol)

The first time the audience encounters Pam's baby, it is crying while Len, Pam, and her parents sit in the living room. No one does anything to help. The baby continues to cry, then chokes, then screams, then cries again. The crying is a kind of motif, representing just how ignored and neglected the baby is, and also the ability of the alienated central characters to tune out the call of the baby. The baby calling out to no avail also represents all of the characters' psychic struggles and inability to find relief or care from the others.

Balloon on the pram (Symbol)

When Pam wheels the baby's pram into the park to confront Fred, there is a sausage balloon attached to the carriage. After she leaves, Fred and his friends begin to mess with the pram, and one of them pokes at the balloon until it bursts. This moment symbolizes the violence of the group of boys, their willingness to burst something fragile.

Harry's bandages (Symbol)

After Mary pours the teapot of hot water onto Harry, he wears bandages on his head. The bandages symbolize the abuse he has endured over the years, the fact that he has sustained both emotional and physical abuse living in a working-class home.