Major Barbara | Study Guide

George Bernard Shaw

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Major Barbara | Symbols


Salvation Army Drum

The drum Cusins plays represents his passion for Barbara. He plays the drum at the Army's outdoor meetings with great enthusiasm, not from any religious fervor but because of his love for Barbara and desire to support her. He himself is "a collector of religions," and he joins the Army only as part of his pursuit of Barbara. When she leaves the Army, Cusins gives up the drum. He wishes he had it again when she declares she will still marry him after he takes over her father's business. "Oh for my drum!" he exclaims, overjoyed she still loves him. The drum remains an expression of his zeal for her.

Barbara's Salvation Army Pin

The brooch Barbara wears on her uniform represents not only her rank and commitment to the Salvation Army but also her faith. She removes her pin when the Salvation Army accepts money from Bodger and her father, whose profits come from products Barbara finds immoral. The pin represents her faith, which is lost in the transaction. She feels betrayed and even abandoned by God. She places the pin on her father's shirt, indicating he has bought his position and salvation for the Army.

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