Write a short note on Look Back in Angerby John Osborne
Osborne’s Look Back in Anger follows a conventional format with a realistic story line, but it also breaks new ground in many ways.
The play takes place in a working-class London flat. Jimmy is an educated but coarse young man married to Allison, the upper- middle class daughter of a former colonel. Jimmy detests Allison’s family, which he sees as representative of all that is wrong with English society. The colonel makes a brief appearance, and two other characters join the action: Helena, an actress friend of Allison’s; and Cliff, a friend of Jimmy’s who lives with the couple.
While the plot is simple (Allison has a miscarriage, Jimmy commits adultery with Helena), it is Jimmy’s denunciations of the world around him that form the crux of the play’s message. The language of the characters breaks the unspoken rules of discourse in British theater; it is neither courteous nor civil. Jimmy rails against the English “stiff upper lip” and the “phonies” with whom he feels surrounded. He also criticizes established religion, pretentiousness, the social system, government, and the fact that there are no longer any great causes for which he can fight. Mostly, Jimmy is furious about the lack of deep feeling he sees around him. He feels that to be alive is to suffer, to live with pain, and not to suppress or escape from this pain.
Jimmy feels nostalgic about the Edwardian period in English history (a time he never knew). The pastoral fantasy of carefree long afternoons playing as a boy and the competent protection of adults resonate with Jimmy more than the political realities of his day.It is suggested that above all else, the “angry young man” regrets most of all the loss of youth.