The drama is opened by the visit of the estranged father, Andrew Undershaft, who is a wealthy and triumphant munitions manufacture. The idealistic young woman, Barbara, made a bargain with his father on visiting the other's working place and taking a chance of being converted to the other's belief. At the West Ham shelter of Salvation army, Undershaft gave the Salvation army a cheque of 5000 pounds earned from wars and weapons, easily buying Mrs Brines. Barbara got so disappointed at the Salvation that she took off her badge and uniform, then left the organization. While at Perivale St. Andrew, the foundry of Undershaft, Barbara finally realized that it was the money from Undershaft or Bodger that consisted the basis of Salvation army. Without power and money, she can't achieve her career of saving commoners' souls. Finally, Barbara decided to marry her fiance who was going to inherit Undershaft's factory.
Two crucial characters, Barbara and Undershaft, are actually a contrast.Barbara, as the major of Salvation army, is a lovely, energetic, and caring woman. In her view, she came from the heart of all people. She definitely held belief of saving the poor's souls and devoted all her efforts to the Salvation army.She provided everyone for bread and love equally, such as Shirley, Rummy and Bill. In the story, she is the incarnation of Christ.
While Undershaft, the owner of munitions empire, is a man of formidable power, both physically and mentally. As Undershaft himself said, he is a manufacture of mutilation and murder. He looks down on conventional morality and Christianity, and is never ashamed of it. He believes in cannons and torpedoes, which is his morality and religion. He devoted his money to hospitals and cathedrals as well as experiments on destroying life and property. To some extent, Undershaft held the same belief with Barbara, "blood and fire". His personality is extremely complicated.
For the sake of Undershaft, Barbara lost her former gospel. She was forsaken by Father, and finally turned to her father. She died and was reborn. Faced with Undershaft, her idealistic dreams of saving people from the hell was beautiful but so delicate. She was too young and too weak to fight with her father and the capitalists. But it was not her fault. We should not blame her for giving in to the capitalism, and I even can't help feeling sympathy for her. It was an unfair game, since Undershaft did have the real power to control the religion and faith, as well as the democracy and the country. That is why the story inevitably turned to a negative ending.
以上是个人原文版读书笔记。原文中亦多有隐喻象征，Barbara是Christ的化身，而Cusins则是Dinoysus or Apollo的化身。耶稣高尚而布施慈爱，救人于水火，正是Barbara和她的salvation army；酒神狄俄尼索斯在西方文化中象征顺应人性、及时行乐。另外Undershaft的台词很有韵律，可手抄朗读。