The Play

(Survey of Dramatic Literature)

The play begins in the living room of the home in which Pam lives with her father and mother. Having just met Len, she has brought him home with her, and they are preparing to engage in sexual intercourse. Harry, getting ready for work, enters the room as they are settling themselves on the couch, but he says nothing and leaves immediately, allowing them to continue, rather jokingly, with the sexual act. After this encounter, Len moves in as a lodger and becomes seriously interested in Pam, but she is attracted to Fred, another, tougher young man.

In the next scene, Pam is taking care of a baby she has had with Fred. She is still living with her parents, and Len continues to board with them; he takes care of Pam—as much as she will let him, since she now despises him. Fred pays no attention to her. Mary and Harry seem to take the situation without comment, which is consistent with the fact that they do not speak to each other. Len acts as a go-between for Pam and the elusive Fred, but he has little success in getting Fred to visit her. He has even less success in pleasing Pam, who wants him to move out of her parents’ home and leave her alone. The baby, offstage much of the time, cries incessantly and is ignored by Pam.

The central scene of the play occurs in the local park, where Pam confronts Fred, begging him to visit her more often. In the ensuing quarrel she walks off, leaving the baby in its carriage for Fred to take care of, or not, as he pleases. Mocked by a gang of friends, Fred threatens to abandon the baby. Slowly at first, and then with increasing enthusiasm, the young men torment the baby. At first, Fred resists their suggestions that he join in, but as the attack on the child goes beyond pinching to punching and to throwing burning matches into the carriage, Fred gets involved....

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Dramatic Devices

(Survey of Dramatic Literature)

Saved is an almost perfect example of the naturalist play, in which human conduct as it is played out in real life, particularly among the least fortunate members of a society, is explored relentlessly and usually without comment, and in which the forces of heredity and environment act upon characters powerless to resist. The naturalistic play is, however, more than simple documentary. It is Bond’s intention to lay blame for the reprehensible conduct of his characters on the place that they, through no fault of their own, inhabit in a capitalist society. He has, on many occasions, been accused of gratuitous brutality and sensationalism, but he belongs to a quite important movement in the theater that began in the work of Émile Zola and Henrik Ibsen, who used drama not simply to entertain but also to attack social inequities.

Bond deliberately wanted to upset his audience; in Saved, therefore, he put as much sordid, dreary reality on the stage as he could, attempting to reproduce, with little artistic shaping, the desultory banality of working-class language, relationships, and conduct. The sets are kept as rudimentary as possible, and what constitutes “set” is tasteless and ugly. There is a deliberate flatness in the speech patterns, which are often regionally accurate but confined to boring incoherence. No attempt is made to make the conversations interesting; clichés pervade the supposed witty badinage of the play’s young men...

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Historical Context

(Drama for Students)

In 1948, as a result of several acts of Parliament, Great Britain (the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland)...

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Literary Style

(Drama for Students)

Saved has thirteen scenes with an intermission suggested after the seventh. Six of the scenes are set in the...

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Compare and Contrast

(Drama for Students)

1965: As part of the ‘‘Welfare State,’’ the government owned and operated all public transportation, telephone, gas, electric,...

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Topics for Further Study

(Drama for Students)

How does the British secondary education system differ from that of the United States? Can you think of any changes that might benefit people...

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(Great Characters in Literature)

Sources for Further Study

Bond, Edwin. Edwin Bond Letters. Edited by Ian Stuart. London: Harwood, 1994.

Cohn, Ruby. “Edward Bond.” In Contemporary Dramatists. 6th ed. Detroit: St. James, 1999.

Coult, Tony. The Plays of Edward Bond. London: Methuen, 1977.

Hay, Malcolm, and Phillip Roberts. Edward Bond: A Companion to the Plays. London: Eyre Methuen, 1978.

Mangan, Michael. Edward Bond. London: British Council, 1998.

Robert, Philip, ed. Bond on File. London: Methuen, 1985.

Scharine, R. The Plays of Edward Bond. Lewisburg, Pa.: Bucknell University Press, 1976.

Spencer, Jenny S. Dramatic Strategies in the Plays of Edward Bond. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Trussler, Simon. Edward Bond. Harlow, England: Longman, 1976.

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Drama for Students)

Bond, Edward. Saved, Methuen, 1966, pp. 6, 9-10, 11, 19, 69, 75.

Bond, Edward. Lear,...

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