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Biplob Prodhan
  • 1 month ago
  • 54
Trace autobiographical elements in Look Back in Anger
Ans. A great many critics are of the opinion that Jimmy Porter in Look Back in Anger is a self-portrait of Osborne, the playwright. Jimmy shares the same kind of anger as Osborne (when he wrote the play), has sprung from a similar socio-economic background, and has seen his father dying in the prime of his life from a similar disease.

He also articulates Osborne’s disillusionment with contemporary British society and empire, and serves as his mouthpiece in denouncing the Church, the Royalty, the upper classes and traditional morality.

Jimmy seems to share Osborne’s own feeling in his denunciation of the middle class, Jimmy also resembles Osborne in his origin. Both of them have to encounter similar socioeconomic background. Jimmy faces opposition from Alison’s mother which are similar to those faced by Osborne himself while courting his wife Pamela. Like Jimmy, Osborne, too married Pamela much against her parents’ wishes. Jimmy holds the upper-class responsible for being unfair to him. Despite being highly qualified he earns his livelihood by running a sweet-stall. He feels that because of his humble background the upper-class has denied him his right. So Jimmy attacks the upper class by making sarcastic remarks on Alison’s family. All these criticisms of the middle-class people reveals Osborne’s own dislike of the middle-class.

In all these criticisms of the middle-classes, the author’s sympathies are no doubt wholly with Jimmy. This does not, however, mean that Osborne has tried to idealise Jimmy. In fact, Osborne points out certain serious faults of character from which Jimmy suffers. He particularly does this in the stage-directions where we find plenty of criticism of Jimmy, the criticism being sometimes direct and sometimes indirect or implied. Yet somehow the impression that is produced by a performance of the play or by our reading of the play as a whole is not unfavourable.

However, it would serve no useful purpose to hunt for biographical details and their parallels in Jimmy Porter’s life and character. But there can be no denying the fact that through Jimmy the dramatist has voiced his own “consciousness of class-conflict”, his own frustrations and his own bitterness. Emotionally Jimmy is certainly a self-portrait, though he may not be so as far as external reality is concerned. Osborne was an angry young man in life, and so is Jimmy Porter in the play.

Prepared by :
Biplob Prodhan
Founder of EDNOUB.

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