Discuss the impact of World War II on the minds of people with reference to the play Look Back in Anger.

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Payal Khullar eNotes educator| Certified Educator

John Osborne's famous play Look Back in Anger sets in a time period in the history of England during the post-World War II when the social, political, economic and cultural glory of England was rocked.

Jimmy Porter, the protagonist of the play, embodies the voice and reaction of the young, middleclass/working class people of Britain at that time, who were angry, disappointed, puzzled and frustrated by this change that also brought with it a decline in opportunities, and an atmosphere of boredom and disgust.

Through Jimmy’s character, Osborne expresses the decline in enthusiasm, motivation, action, idealism and heroism in the people of lower and middle class, post-World War Britain. For such a generation, grandeur of the past had gone, the present was in a state of dark and the future was uncertain. They felt alienated, helpless and purposeless, which also rendered identity crises.

Also, we see Alison's father, Colonel Redfern, who represents the rich class, older generation in the play, too, overwhelmed by this loss of power, seemingly unable to get over the past and accept the reality.