Plot Summary - Povzetek zgodbe

Tukaj je en kratek povzetek dogajanja v drami Look Back in Anger. Povzetek je narejen po dejanjih in prizorih v dejanjih ter zajema vse pomembne dogodke iz knjige.

Act I

Opis scene: gonilna sila zgodbe je Jimmy Porter, kraj dogajanja je podstrešno stanovanje v Midlandu, kjer živijo Jimmy njegova žena Alison in njun prijatelj Cliff Lewis.

The plot of Look Back in Anger is driven almost entirely by the tirades of Jimmy Porter rather than outside forces. The play is set in a one-room attic apartment in the Midlands of England. This large room is the home of Jimmy Porter, his wife Alison, and his partner and friend Cliff Lewis, who has a separate bedroom across the hall.


The play opens with Alison at the ironing board and Jimmy and Cliff in easy chairs reading the Sunday papers. Jimmy complains that half the book review he is reading in his “posh” paper is in French. He asks Alison if that makes her feel ignorant and she replies that she wasn’t listening to the question. Immediately one of the main themes is introduced, Jimmy’s railing against the inertia of Alison and the inertia of the whole middle-class of England. Jimmy teases Cliff about being uneducated and ignorant and Cliff good naturedly agrees with him. Jimmy says that Alison hasn’t had a thought for years and she agrees. Jimmy is depressed by their Sunday routine and says their youth is slipping away. He says, “Let’s pretend that we’re human beings and that we’re actually alive.” Cliff complains about the smoke from Jimmy’s pipe. When Alison says she has gotten used to it, Jimmy says she would get used to anything in a few minutes. He then rails about the fact that “Nobody thinks, nobody cares. No beliefs no convictions and no enthusiasms.” He says that England has lost her soul, that it is dreary living in “the American Age.” There is talk of the candy stall that Jimmy and Cliff own and operate in an outdoor market. Jimmy talks about Alison’s brother Nigel, whom he has dubbed “the chinless wonder from Sandhurst,” and who is a Member of Parliament. Jimmy resents Nigel and all that he stands for, including the fact that he will succeed in the world because of his social class and the schools he has attended in spite of his stupidity and insensitivity. He then turns on Alison, calling her “the Lady Pusillanimous.” Jimmy tries to listen to a concert on the radio and complains at the noise made by Alison’s ironing and Cliff’s rustling of the newspaper. He then harangues against women in general, Alison, and even Mrs. Drury, their landlady. Cliff and Jimmy then playfully wrestle and accidentally push over Alison and the ironing board. Alison has burnt her arm and finally tells Jimmy to get out. Cliff ministers to Alison’s burn and calms her. She tells him that she is pregnant. She is afraid to tell Jimmy lest he think she planned it. Cliff holds Alison and Jimmy enters. There is teasing and play as Jimmy reestablishes himself. Cliff goes out for cigarettes. Jimmy tells Alison that he wants her; they play a private and affectionate game of “squirrels and bears” and Alison is about to tell him of her pregnancy when Cliff returns to say Helena Charles, an actress friend of Alison, is on the phone downstairs. When Alison returns she says she has invited Helena to stay with them during her engagement at the local theatre and Jimmy launches his most shocking diatribe yet. He tells Alison that if she were to have a child and if that child would die, then she might suffer enough to become a human being. The act ends with Jimmy saying of Alison, “She’ll go on sleeping and devouring until there is nothing left of me.”

Act II, Scene 1

It is evening two weeks later. Helena and Alison are getting ready to go to church. Jimmy is in Cliff’s room practicing jazz on his trumpet. Jimmy’s friend Hugh and Hugh’s working-class mother, who provided the money needed to start the candy business, are discussed. Alison talks of being cut off from the kind of people she had always known. She still hasn’t told Jimmy she is pregnant. After Cliff and Jimmy enter, Jimmy launches into another attack on the Establishment in general and Alison’s mother in particular. He then tells of keeping his father company as he lay dying for months and says he “learnt at an early age what it was to be angry — angry and helpless.” Jimmy is called to the phone. Helena tells Alison that she has telegraphed Alison’s father to come and take her home. Jimmy returns and says Hugh’s mother has had a stroke and he will go to London to be with her. He tells Alison he needs her to go with him. She leaves with Helena.

Act II, Scene 2

It is the following evening and Colonel Redfern, Alison’s father, is visiting. Redfern is bemused by the modern England; he spent his whole career, from 1913 to 1947, in the colonial service in India. He sees some right on Jimmy’s side and was horrified by his wife’s brutal attempts to prevent Alison from marrying Jimmy. He says he and Alison are much alike in that they both “like to sit on a fence. It is rather comfortable.” Alison tries to explain why she married Jimmy: “I’d lived a happy, uncomplicated life and suddenly this — this spiritual barbarian — throws down a gauntlet at me.” Helena comes in followed shortly by Cliff. Helena will stay one more night so she can attend an audition nearby. Alison asks Cliff to give a letter to Jimmy and he refuses. Alison and her father leave, followed shortly by Cliff. Helena lies down on the bed and looks at the toy bear. Jimmy crashes in. He reads Alison’s letter and berates her for being polite and “wet” instead of emotionally honest. Helena tells him Alison is pregnant and Jimmy says he doesn’t care. He has watched Hugh’s mother die and has no pity for Alison. He turns on Helena calling her an “evil-minded little virgin.” She slaps his face; then, as he cries in despair, she kisses him passionately.

Act III, Scene 1

It is early Sunday evening several months later. Jimmy and Cliff are sprawled in their armchairs reading the Sunday newspapers and Helena is at the ironing board. All seems very relaxed. They talk about a newspaper article and Jimmy starts in on religion and politics. They then go into a vaudeville routine and Helena joins in. Jimmy and Cliff do a song and dance and end with playful wrestling. Cliff’s shirt gets dirty and Helena leaves to wash it. Cliff says he is going to move out and give up the candy stall. He says he might find a woman of his own. When Helena returns with his shirt, Cliff hangs it over the gas fire in his room. Helena tells Jimmy that she loves him and has always wanted him. The door opens and Alison enters, looking ill and obviously thin. Jimmy exits and leaves the two women looking at each other.

Act III, Scene 2

It is moments later. There is the sound of Jimmy’s trumpet from across the hall. Alison has suffered a miscarriage. She says she doesn’t know why she came, that she doesn’t want to cause a breach between Helena and Jimmy. Helena says that it is all over between her and Jimmy, that she realizes that what she has been doing is wrong, and she can’t live with that. She calls Jimmy in and tells him she is going to leave, and she does. Alison says she will go. Jimmy berates her for not sending flowers to the funeral. Then he softens and talks of the old bear going through the forest of life alone. He remembers their first meeting and says, “I may be a lost cause, but I thought if you loved me, it needn’t matter.” Alison cries and says she has found strength in the humility of not having been able to protect her unborn child. She is in the mud now, groveling. Jimmy gently comforts her. They enter into their game of bear and squirrel in what is apparently a loving reconciliation.

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