How is the theme of Look Back in Anger relevant to the present times?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One way in which the theme of Osborne's drama has relevance to the modern setting is how Jimmy still exists today.  Jimmy feels fundamentally slighted by the world around him.  He feels that he has been closed out of opportunities and that what was promised was denied to him.  The bitterness of disenfranchisement is evident today. All nations struggle with the domestic politics of bitterness and anger as the base call to those who feel that they have been maligned and forgotten.  Jimmy is the patron saint of such a cause.

Another aspect in which the themes of Osborne's work hold meaning in the modern setting lies in the treatment of cruelty.  Jimmy is shown to be intensely cruel to Alison.  The manner in which Jimmy treats her is one in which there is cruelty and brutality on an emotional level.  While we have become more aware of the issues within domestic violence and while Jimmy would not be considered as one who beats on his wife, the reality is that we and Jimmy struggle with the cruelty that exists within marriage.  An institution that is predicated upon so much that is good can showcase the very worst in individuals.  The cruelty that is seen in Jimmy's treatment of Alison is still present in many couple today, helping to enhance the relevance of the theme of cruelty in Osborne's work.

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