Talk:Look Back in Anger
|WikiProject Theatre||(Rated B-class, Low-importance)|
General message as received truth
It appears to be a received and uncontested truth that this play is about realism, class differences, social tensions and breaking new ground. It is hailed as having 'changed theatre for ever' and emphasising the role of 'angry young men', 'class differences', even 'class war' in the bleak 1950s. Whilst it is true it may have been the first of a different type to appear in a major London theatre, the social(ist) interpretation of the plot is vastly overstated by politicians, sociologues and other critics.
Firstly, the 1950s were not a dull and dreary time for many people. Whilst austerity and rationing had continued into the early 1950s, most people were witnessing a continual rise in the standard of living. People in authority were trusted - even if without justificiation - and family relationships were far more secure than now. It is true, that there was a shortage of accommodation, that certain groups were alienated or underground, and that the threat of the bomb loomed large, but the majority of people who lived through the 1950s view it as an era of stability and fun: the Sunday school outing, the holiday camp, full employment, the National Health improving the nation's health rapidly, new housing, new goods, and so on.
Secondly, what of the plot itself? There are various points:
1. It is realism? How common was it then, that a daughter of a colonel retired from imperial service would marry a working-class graduate with few prospects? 2. Jimmy's 'working class values' are considered to conflict with and lay bare hers. However, she demonstrates many more traditional working class values (industry, loyalty) than he does throughout the plot, whereas he sits there in comfort reading the paper. Is this the hypocrisy of socialism? 3. Why did Jimmy marry her in the first place? Nowhere in the plot is this alluded to or revealed. She hardly looks like a class rebel. It would have been far more likely for her to be the militant marxist convert trying to impress upon a sceptical working class husband values of the left.
Thirdly, a completely different interpretation of this plot is possible. Early in the story, Jimmy taunts Alison and asks her whether she had ever witnessed anyone dying. He is clearly very disturbed by the death of his father who had fought in the Spanish Civil War. His pronouncements lack coherence and are indiscriminate. He is often seen as the mouthpiece of a frustrated youth. But how frustrated was youth at the time? Is he anything more than a deranged misfit taking out his temper and irrational verbage on a long-suffering wife? The impression given as to why he doesn't fit into her family is that of self-loathing or an inferiority complex. Cliff tries to mediate and is a restraining influence on Jimmy and seeks to protect Alison. He also emphasises that many at the time took a lodger in order to pay the rent.
The 'love triangle' in the plot is grossly overestimated and is probably nothing more than the prediliction of couple of upper middle class girls for a 'rough diamond', one of whom has found out to her cost what it is really like to live with him over time.
The play is more about the irrationality of a disturbed man and how this can have profound effects on relationships surrounding him. There will have been many such men in the 1950s, returning from war or having witnessed poverty. This is probably its 'realism'. T A Francis (talk) 22:05, 26 December 2010 (UTC)
- I love discussing the interpretation of this play. Have spent many hours doing just that, in fact. However, wikipedia discussion pages are for discussions of the article they're appended to, not its subject. El Ingles (talk) 00:59, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
The opening line of the article summary states that there is a "love triangle"; however, it goes on to describe four people involved. Wouldn't that make it a "love square" or some other four-sided object??
- No, the character of Cliff, the "aimiable welsh lodger" referred to in the text, takes no part in the love.
Why I nixed 13 edits by 188.8.131.52 on 1 mar 09
I'm one of the principal editors of this article but I emphatically disclaim any ownership of it. Anybody with knowledge of the play may contribute, under the conventions of wikipedia -- preferably discussing perceived problems on this talk page first if edits are to be major.
I just think that for an unregistered reader with no previous editing experience to obliterate the page content and substitute his/her own (improperly configured) version is not the way wiki works. The substituted version is not incorrect in any substantive way, but is over-detailed as compared with typical wikipedia articles about 20th Century English drama, and written in a style reminiscent of an analysis done for academic credit. --El Ingles (talk) 15:06, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
I'd love to list the complete original cast as part of this article, but I haven't been able to come up with it. Kenneth Haigh and Mary Ure, obviously, but what of the other three rôles? Anyone out there know? --El Ingles (talk) 15:52, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Would reinstating the parodies section be appropriate? Or, at least, adding a section about the play's impact on popular culture? I thought mention of the Hancock spoof was appropriate (but then I would - I wrote it!) Absurdtrousers (talk) 16:51, 28 July 2009 (UTC)