Vivie Warren, the independent, confident, self-possessed, twenty-two-year-old daughter of Mrs. Kitty Warren. After finishing a rigorous academic program with honors at Cambridge, Vivie plans to become an actuarial accountant. Unlike many young women of her day, she hopes for a highly successful business career. She has lived at boarding schools all of her life and has had little contact with her mother and no knowledge of the family business. Vivie has taken a country cottage in Haslemere to devote herself to reading law in preparation for her business endeavors. Mrs. Warren surprises Vivie by inviting not only herself but also several male friends to share Vivie’s holiday. During their encounter at the cottage, Vivie learns the truth about her mother’s profession and comes to admire her mother for her strength and determination. She cannot, however, fulfill the role of devoted daughter that her mother would now like her to play. She admits to her mother that they are too much alike but maintains her resolve that her world will be different from that of her mother and that they must part—a typically Shavian touch of having the child reject the parent.
Mrs. Kitty Warren
Mrs. Kitty Warren, alias Miss Vacasour, an aging but financially secure madam whose work in prostitution was a result of economic necessity, not moral weakness. Born in poverty, Mrs. Warren saw only two choices offered her by society and unashamedly chose the vagaries of prostitution over the certain death of working in the white-lead factory. Although she makes no apologies for her profession, she does keep...
(The entire section is 671 words.)