Exploring “GULP AND GASP” by John Townsend as a Drama for Upper Secondary Literature Component


Lord Septic is determined to find the long lost gold owned by Lady Gatsby. Lady Gatsby was murdered. Lord Septic buys the railway line in the hope of finding the gold. Meanwhile, Rose who is blind comes to sell flowers to help her sick mother. Lord Septic instructs Crouch to get her out of the station. He takes her flowers and throws them onto the tracks. Percy. Who is a young orphan comes to her rescue but he is knocked down by Lord Septic. Lord Septic and Crouch then tie Rose to a railway track. She finds about Percy’s true identity and the gold. Percy is the heir to the Gatsby gold and is known as Sir Percy. Lord Septic loses everything.


1. Treatment of human beings:

We shall explore how human beings are actually treated. We will discover the treatment of human beings as an abstract economic quantity. They are valued not for their own individual characteristics but for their economic function. The individual is not known and valued for his or her own identity but for their importance in the economy. We can see this element clearly in Rose situation in Gulp and Gasp. Lord Septic and Crouch treats her as rubbish without any consciences because they think that Rose is nothing but useless. We can see it clearly in these dialogues;

“A flower seller. I will not have beggars on my platform. Tell her to go or I’ll throw her and her flowers under the midnight express – if it ever comes.”

“Get off this platform. We don’t have beggars here.”

Another example can be seen between Lord Septic and his wife, Clora Septic.

“I only married her for her arms”.
Clora is a wealthy lady as she owns a gun factory. This line shows that Lord Septic married her because of her importance in the economy. He does not value her individual characteristics, instead he feels that she is an annoying person. He even thinks that it would be a good idea to kill her. In other words, he is filled with greed that he only married her to gain financial advancement for himself.

2. Exploitation:
The slaves and the labourers are seen only as mere manufacturing machinery. Lord Septic doesn’t view his slave and servant as an individual and human. He is too obsessed with his power of wealth and feels that no one can stop him and that makes him exploit and discriminate others. He exploits his servant, Crouch for his own needs. He called Crouch fool as in this dialogue;

 “Crouch, I don’t know why I keep you as my porter. You are dim, daft, dopey, dozey and dippy. What’s more you annoy me. I’m not nice when I’m cross.”

Another example can be seen through Lord Septic’s workers.
“Lord Septic didn’t pay us”.
Rose used to work in a match factory which is owned by Lord Septic. Lord Septic treated the workers unfairly by making them work and not paying their salary. He also did not ensure a safe working environment because it would cost him money. Due to this, there was a fire that killed many lives and left Rose blind. This shows that Lord Septic uses the workers for his on advantage in order to make money from their work.

3.Suppression and Resistance

The higher class always seems to get the upper-hand. This phenomenon still exists today whereby the higher class suppresses the lower class in the society. This basically leads to the rich to dominate and manipulate the world’s economy. There is also resistance by the lower class against the upper class. Rose shows resistance in more implicit manner. She refuses to leave the station after being ordered to by Crouch. She believes it is her right to be able to sell her flowers. Later, she threatens to reveal Lord Septic cruel ways to the newspapers. Percy, the hero shows resistance against oppression in a more explicit manner. He grabs and scolds Crouch for threatening Rose. He later captures Septic and Crouch using a chain and reveals their crimes to the police. The workers of two factories belonging to Lord Septic go on strike, demanding fairer treatment at the factories.