How does the play Saved deal with social issues like poverty and alienation from the natural world? And what makes it postmodernist?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In Saved, Edward Bond presents poverty as having a corrosive effect on the human soul. It leads people to do things that they wouldn't normally do. Poverty is therefore not just an economic or social issue for Bond, but also a moral one. It strips all the characters in the play of their human dignity.

The most notorious scene in the play, which involves the stoning to death of a baby in a pram, is a prime example of this—people in this bleak, impoverished part of London have been robbed of their humanity by the grinding poverty that eats away at them, body and soul.

While postmodernism as we understand it today wasn't part of the cultural scene when Saved was written, in the mid-60s, some scholars and literary critics have nonetheless read certain elements of the postmodern condition into the play. One such element is the lack of any kind of absolute moral standards—the kind which, once upon a time, used to govern society. It's as if the characters in the play, repressed by the constant burden of poverty, have used their radical separation from so-called respectable society to create their own values.

The way that the characters lead their lives is suggestive of the kind of chaos and indeterminacy to which the postmodern condition speaks and which forces upon each and every individual the challenge of generating meaning in their lives, however one chooses to define it.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial