Look Back in Anger

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  • Look Back in Anger
    • Marriage presented as being complex
      • Marriage being an entrapment
        • Set in a 'one-room flat' despite Alison's background
          • Cramped, singular setting heightens the sense of entrapment/intensifies emotions
          • 'four years of being in the same room with you'
          • Suggests that nothing changes in their relationship and that it will continue this way (also suggested by the same Sunday routine of reading the papers)
        • WR - Portia being 'trapped' into a marriage 'I may neither choose who/I would, nor refuse who I dislike, so is the will of a/living daughter curbed by the will of a dead/father'. Alison does love Jimmy, however it does sometimes appear that she wants out
      • Longevity of romance/lust and the escapism love brings
        • 'Nearly four years of being in the same room with you, night and day, and I still can't stop my sweat breaking out when I see you doing - something as ordinary as leaning over an ironing board.'
        • 'Even their trivialities become indispensable to you.'
        • Props of the 'tattered toy teddy bear' and 'soft, woolly squirrel'. Child-like, acts as a way to escape and make believe
          • Play ends in Alison and Jimmy's reconcilement using these, suggests that their marriage will just repeat this pattern of conflict/reconcilement
    • Perceived lack of love
      • ‘I have been married to this woman, this monument to non-attachment,’ 
        • Jimmy frustrated that Alison doesn't truly love him
        • Part of Jimmy's monologue, Alison doesn't interrupt
          • Characteristic of the 'angry young man' trope Jimmy is often classified as
        • Jimmy is afraid of Alison's indifference
          • Alison shows a lack of enthusiasm and vivacity towards anything, even her husband
    • Betrayal
      • 'what I have been doing is wrong and evil.' - Helena uses her moral compass and stricter (than Jimmy's) religious beliefs to admit that she has been fooling herself the whole time of her affair with Jimmy
      • Alison is not upset by Helena's betrayal - 'I gave up believing in the divine rights of marriage long ago.'
        • Wasn't acting like a wife/ran away so doesn't feel hurt by Jimmy and Helena's affair
          • Modern/post-WW2 society - affairs/adultery more common, less 'taboo'
      • 'You talk as though he were something you'd swindled me out of--' 'And you talk as if he were a book or something you pass around to anyone who happens to want it for five minutes.' Alison and Helena clash in their views of the affair. Helena is critical of the lack of loyalty Alison has towards her husband, whereas Alison can't understand this reasoning
    • Love isn't romanticised/a 'happy ending'
      • ‘The Lady Pusillanimous has been promised a brighter easier world than old Sextus can ever offer her.’ 
        • Alison - LP, Jimmy - S. Jimmy perhaps revealing insecurities, thinks that Alison thinks she got a bad deal
      • Adds to the gritty realism of the play, older/married audience would understand whereas younger/unmarried/audience would think Jimmy/Alison hate each other
      • ‘It’s no good trying to fool yourself about love. You can’t fall into it like a soft job, without dirtying up your hands. It takes muscle and guts’
      • WR - Pride and Prejudice. Charlotte - ‘it is better to know as little as possible of defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life’. Both texts contrast against the romantic ideals of love, however in LBiA this appears to stem from J wanting to confront/challenge problems in the relationship, whereas C intends to ignore them
      • Links to the social realism aspect of the play - be reflective/representative of the working class in 1960s Britain
      • In the '58 film adaptation, the baby's death encourages J's reflection on how they first met, and their desire to be lost causes together
        • Love as redemption/salvation
          • ‘I may be a lost cause, but I thought if you loved me, it needn’t matter.’ 
            • Set in a time after two World Wars - huge upheaval in traditional Edwardian beliefs, perception of faith/religion challenged, perception of human tenderness/cruelty challenged. In a constantly changing world, something needs to be the same/relied upon
          • WR - Dover Beach, Matthew Arnold. 'the world.../Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light'
            • Cynical/questioning tone. Faith and religion being radically challenged in the Victorian era by Darwin/evolution. Church one of the most powerful institutes so having this being questioned threw society into turmoil
    • Love as redemption/salvation
      • ‘I may be a lost cause, but I thought if you loved me, it needn’t matter.’ 
        • Set in a time after two World Wars - huge upheaval in traditional Edwardian beliefs, perception of faith/religion challenged, perception of human tenderness/cruelty challenged. In a constantly changing world, something needs to be the same/relied upon
      • WR - Dover Beach, Matthew Arnold. 'the world.../Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light'
        • Cynical/questioning tone. Faith and religion being radically challenged in the Victorian era by Darwin/evolution. Church one of the most powerful institutes so having this being questioned threw society into turmoil

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