As the second oldest child Barnes spent much of her childhood helping care for siblings and half-siblings. She referred to the rape obliquely in her first novel Ryder and more directly in her furious final play The Antiphon. Her paternal grandmother Zadel Turner Barnes was a writer journalist and Women's Suffrage activist who had once hosted an influential literary salon.
As a roman à clef the novel features a thinly veiled portrait of Barnes in the character of Nora Flood whereas Nora’s lover Robin Vote is a composite of Thelma Wood and the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. Eliot. Since Barnes' death interest in her work has grown and many of her books are back in print.