Detailed plot summary – Act Two

Act Two Scene One

Fairground music can be heard as the curtain rises. Jo appears with her friend Geoffrey Ingram and they enter the flat. Jo is obviously pregnant. Geof is caring towards Jo and she admits that she is pregnant by her sailor boyfriend. She invites Geof, an art student, to stay with her in the flat.

Most of this scene is concerned with the growing friendship between Jo and Geof who is homosexual. Geof enjoys caring for Jo and encourages her to look after herself and to prepare for the baby’s arrival. He buys a wicker basket for the baby as well as a book on baby care.

Geof offers to marry Jo and tries to kiss her but she tells him that she does not want a relationship, I’m not marrying anybody. Jo tells Geof he should leave but he admits that he would rather be dead than be parted from her.

A little later Helen arrives having heard that Jo is pregnant. She assumes Geof is Jo’s boyfriend but Jo makes it clear Geof is not the baby’s father. Geof has asked Helen to the flat in order to encourage Jo to start caring for herself and her unborn baby. However, an argument soon begins and Helen is rude to both Geof and Jo.

When things calm down a little, Helen offers to help by giving Jo some money. Peter, Helen’s husband, arrives at the flat. He is abusive and aggressive. He regrets getting married to Helen and it appears that their marriage is not a happy one. When Helen and Peter leave, Peter takes the money intended for Jo. The scene ends with Jo and Geof dancing happily as peace is once again restored.

Act Two Scene Two

Months have now passed. Geof is still living with Jo and helping her to prepare for motherhood. As Geof cleans the flat, Jo confides in him that she is worried the baby will be born with something wrong with it and be the village idiot like her own father.

Geof tells her not to worry and gives her a doll on which she can practise her skills as a mother. However, Jo reacts angrily as the doll has white skin and she throws it to the floor, telling Geof that the colour is wrong. The colour’s wrong. [Suddenly and violently flinging the doll to the ground.] I’ll bash its brains out. I’ll kill it. I don’t want this baby Geof. I don’t want to be a mother.

Jo is suddenly overwhelmed by what the future holds. Her relationship with her boyfriend became serious very quickly simply because she did not want to be on her own in the flat whilst her mother was away with Peter.

Now Jo is facing the prospect of being a single mother, just like Helen and she is aware that her own mother has not set her a very good example. Geof manages to calm Jo but Helen suddenly arrives carrying luggage.

She claims that she now intends to care for Jo and is very rude to Geof. Geof leaves the flat for a time and Helen admits that Peter has left her for another woman. Jo decides to have a rest and whilst she is sleeping Geof returns. Helen, who dislikes homosexuals, cruelly taunts him, mocking his attempts to help Jo and his intention to be with her at the birth of her baby.

Eventually he agrees to leave the flat. When Jo wakes she tells Helen that the father of her baby is black. Helen does not react well, Can you see me wheeling a pram with a . . . Oh my God. I’ll have to have a drink. Helen leaves Jo in the flat alone. Jo does not realise that Geof has left and the play ends with Jo reciting one of the nursery rhymes Geof taught her.

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