Act 1-Scene 1
This act is about Mama's aspirations for Len. She encourages her only son to study hard and leave the company of girls like Pearl, but instead, to set his sights on Margaret, the pastor's near white daughter (her race is implied in the play). We learn that, as he grows up, he goes against his mother's desires and secretly dates a dark skinned girl (Lois), with Pa Ben as his co-conspirator. He soon leaves Jamaica to attend University in England. He communicates very little with Mama, initially, until Pa Ben wrote him a letter explaining how this absence of communication affects Mama, and could possibly affect him. Over time they learn that Len has visited many countries around the world, obtained a PhD, and has married Lois. Mama is pleased and proud about all his achievements, with the exception being his marriage to Lois. He returns home, without Mama's knowledge, and pays her an unexpected visit. Mama is pleased and proud, but takes him into her house to talk to him about her disappointment in his marriage to Lois. He also finds out that Mama has been scammed by George McFarlane and invites him to his home, in Kingston, for a meeting. They discuss a business deal, but George makes a speedy retreat when he discovers Len's identity, and his possible knowledge of the scam. We also discover that Lois is frustrated in her marriage because she wants attention from her husband, and that Mama treats Lois with open disdain.