The play, A Look Back in Anger, by John Osborne brings the notion of the "angry man gone mad" to the surface. But what does this play teach us? Or, does this play teach us anything? At the end of this paper it will be evident that this play does teach us something, and that is how some people, as individuals, have their own ways of thinking, and reacting, which are considerably different from the social norms. Of course the character we will be analyzing is Jimmy.
There are 3 stimuli that correspond to radical reactions by Jimmy. The first stimulus is love; Jimmy has ways of expressing his love to the women of his life that are different than the rest of society's. The second stimulus is the natural aggression towards threats, and most of these threats are small, that Jimmy expresses with Cliff, and also in Allison's mother, in particular. The final trigger to Jimmy's radical way of reacting is that of death. It seems to be an image that haunts him throughout the play and he only brings it to the surface after the halfway point. This, last, stimuli can be regarded as an explanation to his radical ways, that give him the image of the "angry man". However, there is one over-ruling thesis that covers all three stimuli that is the
First, we will look at the situation with Helena; as first it is evident that they hate each other, but then they kiss and become lovers. This is proven because of the two World Wars, which where over by 1945, and women began to gain social status. He declares that he's the only one who loves Hugh's mother, and he'll be the only one walking behind the coffin on the day of the funeral. (this issue will be addressed in the last portion of this essay). The second stimuli we will analyze are that of the aggression towards any competition. By the end of the play we don't see any difference because when he returns with Allison, they still resolve to bears and squirrels to show their affection. A few times they even resulted in wrestling, in once case injuring Allison. This just goes to prove that Jimmy is insecure with women in general, otherwise he would hate his father-in-law too. Primarily because this is the only other male character that Jimmy comes in contact with in the play, and they have never stopped arguing throughout the play. This aggression is closely related to the women of his life, mainly Allison. The second person we can look at is Cliff; this is a different type of aggression that arises. Jimmy: I hope you won't make the mistake of thinking for one moment that I am a gentleman. This is special, not only because it involves death, that really triggers Jimmy's emotions, but because this lady is the only one who he shows any direct affection for. The shocking portion of this relationship between them both is that Jimmy actually trusts Cliff. This goes to show that people like Jimmy do not change their ways of thinking overnight, this will take a long time before Jimmy accepts the social rules.