Len, a twenty-one-year-old working-class lodger. Described as “naturally good” in spite of the brutalizing environment in which he lives, he is an outsider both in regard to the home in which he lives and to the gang of unemployed toughs who congregate in the park. As he moves between the violence of the family and that of the gang, he functions as a theatrical device, highlighting the parallels between the public and the private displays of senseless violence and empty, cliché-littered language. He is the only character in the play who displays nurturing, caring capabilities, and he remains ineffectual in affecting or moderating the actions of the other characters.
Pam, the twenty-three-year-old mother of an illegitimate child, to whom she refers only as “it.” Numbed by the constant arguments in her home, by poverty, by drink, and by watching television, she is filled with a kind of hopeless cynicism that is in sharp contrast to Len’s seemingly unwarranted optimism about making things better. She can feel only lust and not love, reacting to Len’s affection with hostility and to Fred’s abandonment with desperation. Even the death of her child does not touch her. She is as much a victim of society as her child is, and her inability to feel is a product of that influence rather than of any innate difficulty.
Mary, the fifty-three-year-old mother of Pam, trapped...
(The entire section is 570 words.)