1. When was this play written? What was the state of the British suffrage movement at the time?
  2. What was Robins’ background? Based on this play, with which branches of the suffrage movement would she have had sympathy?
  3. Was the title well-chosen? What is the play’s intended purpose, and intended audience?
  4. Does this play remind you of any of Ibsen’s plays, such as The Doll’s House or A Man of the People?  Of any Shavian plays of the period, such as Mrs. Warren’s Profession? Can you see parallels and contrasts with the themes of James’s The Bostonians?
  5. Why do you think this was constructed as a three act rather than five act play? What is important about their respective settings? (first the problem is presented through the attitudes of the aristocracy; next is the descent into the underworld; and finally a partial resolution is reached as the women move toward suffragism and a member of parliament agrees to be their ally)
  6. Act I: What issues are developed in the first scene? The first act?
  7. What do we learn about the Wynnstays, Gregory Stonor, Miss Levering, Mrs. Heriot, and Jean Dunbarton respectively? What sector of society does each represent?
  8. What new changes in circumstances have occurred to Jean? Are these at all related?
  9. What does Farnborough point out as essential weaknesses in Stonor’s political views? What qualities do others perceive to be his limitations or flaws? (too self-confident)
  10. What significance is attached to the use of the motor car? The telegram?
  11. What effect is created by the announcement that Miss Levering is trying to raise money for a shelter for homeless women? What does Mrs. Heriot think the money should be used for? (an organ in the church outside of which huddle homeless women)
  12. What does Miss Levering  claim is “the greatest evil in the world”? (women's powerlessness)
  13. Why does she argue that a homeless shelter for women is needed? Why are “Rescue  Leagues” insufficient?
  14. What type of provision has been made for men? (Rowton Houses) On what grounds has a similar provision been denied to women?
  15. How had Miss Levering been able to learn the things she learned? (disguised as poor) What counterarguments does she face when she appeals for help for fallen women?
  16. What attitudes toward women and marriage are represented in Lord John and Mr. Greatorex? How do the women at first respond to the idea of the vote?  
  17. Are any of the names chosen fitting or symbolic? (e. g., Stonor, Greatorex)
  18. What does Miss Levering recount of her own past? What does Mrs. Heriot add to the account?
  19. What news does Stonor bring of the fortunes of his electoral campaign?
  20. What do we learn of the suffragists’ election tactics? What do his auditors think of  them?
  21. Are all the women opposed to “votes for women”?  (Mrs. Freddy a non-violent suffragist)
  22. What do we learn about the events which had motivated the actions of the Suffragettes? How have the members of parliament who claim to support women's suffrage behaved? (ignore and even joke about the subject)
  23. What motivates Jean to make an excuse for leaving Lord and Lady John’s home? (wants to hear suffragette rally)      
  24. What final incident with a handkerchief seems to suggest a hidden plot line? What surprising knowledge does Geoffrey Stonor reveal?  (of Miss Levering’s first name)
  25. Act II: In the central act, what are some features of the political speeches presented? How is each speaker different, and what different concerns does each have? In particular, what are the concerns of the working-class woman speaker?
  26. What may be the purpose of presenting a working-class woman speaker, a young middle-class one, and a married man? (shows variety of supporters) What is added by representing the different registers of speech?
  27. Why do you think Vida Levering was chosen as the final speaker? What specific examples of injustice does she cite? What final bitter words does she state in closing?
  28. What difficulties are faced by the women speakers, and do they do a good job of overcoming them? (frightened at so much opposition, gain courage to persist)
  29. How is their dialogue with the audience used to strengthen their argument? (hostility helps make their points about ignorance and injustice)
  30. What claims do these early suffragettes make about ways England would change when women permitted their share of decision-making? What is the relationship between women and war? (they will oppose it)
  31. Can you think of other literary instances where a political speech is used for dramatic effect? 
  32. What do we learn from this scene about the condition and attitudes of ordinary British people?
  33. How does the play use humor to make its point? Against whom is the humor directed?
  34. What are some instances of the comic reversal of expectations?
  35. What is the effect of portraying Lady John’s growing interest in the women’s movement? Jean Dunbarton’s conversion to the cause? (times are changing)
  36. Act III: What political pressures face Stonor, and how does he respond?
  37. What are causes for disagreement between Jean and Stonor? What do we learn about his past?
  38. How does Vida Levering respond to Jean’s desire that she and Stonor reconcile? What does she tell Lady John have been her motives?
  39. What point is made by Vida Levering’s dismissal of Trent’s services as moderator for their meetings?
  40. What comes out in her final conversation with Stonor? Why had he urged her to abort their child, and what effect did this have on her?
  41. How is the audience expected to respond to these revelations? (with sympathy, believing that a woman's essential connection to her child as the basic feature of her identity)
  42. Can you think of previous works of literature in which a woman who has aborted her child is presented as a heroine? (entire reversal of "fallen woman" narrative)
  43. What is the importance of the paper which he hands her?
  44. Were you surprised by the ending? Is there realism in presenting Stonor's conversion to the suffrage cause as the result of a deal? (a backroom deal)
  45. Why do you think the dramatist presents a woman who leaves for a life of work rather than a marriage or reconciliation?
  46. Is the conclusion open-ended? Can one argue that it makes an appeal to its audience? (suffrage yet remains to be won)
  47. Based on this play, what do you think were the ideals of the British women’s movement of the time? (sisterhood, broad reformist help for poor)
  48. What are some of this play’s unusual themes? Do you know of other British literary works which deal with the theme of the psychological effects of abortion? (e. g., Egerton’s “Gone Under”)
  49. How would you answer the charge that this play is propagandistic rather than literary? Or would this be a false dichotomy?
  50. Does this play suggest themes still relevant today?