Act II

Scene one

This scene takes place a week later. The neighbours are looking after Granny while she waits on Lizzie to pick her up. We sympathise with Granny here, who clearly wants to stay with Maggie.

When Lizzie arrives, we realise she is a hard-hearted woman, who can only see Granny’s pension. Jenny, Alec and Isa enter, followed soon after the removal men who have come to take Granny’s bed.

The first man chastises Isa for the way she speaks to Granny, forcing her to apologise, which is more than Alec can do. Maggie arrives upset with the news that Bertie has TB and must stay at the hospital.

Several of the characters, led by Lily, sympathise, but the scene ends with Jenny’s departure and an emotional speech from John in which he deliberates over his unjust predicament.

Scene two

It is now a month later and Isa and Alec are arguing because Isa says she will leave him for Peter Robb. We see the first display of Alec’s violence when he gets hold of her by the throat out of anger and desperation.

When Maggie enters, he playacts for sympathy and attention, and finally takes her money. John is critical of his son and comforts Isa. Maggie is upset that he does not stand up for his wife and walks out.

Isa then flirts with John, which makes the audience question his strength of character. The scene ends with Maggie’s breakdown into hysteria, which contributes to her decision at the end of the play.