What is a description of The Flower Girl's behavior in Act 1 of Pygmalion?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Flower Girl's behavior in Act 1 of Pygmalion goes through a number of manifestations. First she is righteously indignant and defiant when gentleman Freddy bumps into her, spills her flowers, inadvertently treads them underfoot, casually says "Oh. Sorry," then runs away to fetch a taxi for his demandingly domineering sister and courteous but overly-tolerant mother. When The Flower Girl learns that the woman who speaks to her is Freddy's mother, she gives her a deserved scolding and requests that the mother pay for the flowers damaged by Freddie.

The next manifestation comes after she makes a politely casual remark to a gentleman, then properly asks him if he'd buy a flower from her. This leads a member of the crowd, who are sheltering from the rain, to remark that she had better be careful because a "copper's nark" was taking down "her words." In the ensuing bedlam, The Flower Girl behaves in an adamant, loud, nearly hysterical manner protesting (1) her right as a flower seller to ask a gentleman to buy a flower, (2) her respect for and adherence to the laws of street selling, (3) her virtue as a "good girl", and (4) her dignity and right to not have words taken down by The Note Taker, or at least to have them taken down correctly. The finale of her behavior is a subdued hysteria that still quietly and correctly protests her rights and dignity.