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Look Back in Anger by John Osborne - The Incumbent Historical Debate about Affluence and Social Mobility in Britain - Essay Example

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Name of the Student History and Political Science Name of the Concerned Professor 2 July 2012 Look Back in Anger by John Osborne- The Incumbent Historical Debate about Affluence and Social Mobility in Britain in the Late 1950s and Early 1960s The play Look Back in Anger by John Osborne closely tends to delve on the socioeconomic realities in the Great Britain of the 1950s…
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Look Back in Anger by John Osborne - The Incumbent Historical Debate about Affluence and Social Mobility in Britain
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"Look Back in Anger by John Osborne - The Incumbent Historical Debate about Affluence and Social Mobility in Britain"

Download file to see previous pages 11). This period foresaw a gargantuan change in the bargaining power hitherto accorded to the British working class. The high demands engendered by the war efforts allowed the working class to strive for a considerable change in their earning potential. Though the much vaunted mixing of the social classes was more a cherished ideal than an idea actually put into practice, it certainly gave way to much deeper concerns in the British class structure (Rebellato 1999, p. 11). On the one side where the working class resisted a possible reversion to the sidelined status of the interwar years, the upper middle class feared the newfound social mobility of the working class. It was a known fact that the British society of the late 50s was still deeply class conscious. Hence, no wonder the marital discord between Jimmy and Alison to a great extent originate from their diverse social-class origins. Jimmy is a young adherent of a newly upwardly mobile and educated working class. Though Jimmy has the benefit of a university education and he attained adulthood in the post war years, still he finds himself to be a missing link between the two social classes. In that context he really finds it really excruciating and enervating to trace the age old enemy that is decaying and dying Imperialism in the guise of his wife Alison and her upper middle-class, military background. Yet, there is no denying the fact that the thing that bothers Jimmy even more is his loss of connection with the working class to which he mentally affiliates with. Hence, no wonder, Jimmy ends up becoming the victim of a partly self imposed and partly unavoidable social alienation, which was common to many young people from the working class in the late 1950s and early 1960s (Kellaway 1999, p. 39). Consequently, Jimmy finds himself in the times and the space where the past and the present tend to cusp into an intricate amalgam of confused class affiliations and aspirations as is amply conveyed when he affirms, “I suppose people of our generation aren’t able to die for good causes any longer. We had all that done for us, in the thirties and the forties, when we were still kids. ...There aren’t any good brave causes left (Osborne 1982, p. 84).” However, it goes without saying that this chaos caused by the mixing of classes and the commensurate social mobility was not merely a localized event, but rather a phenomenon that unfolded in the background of much large changes (Kellaway 1999, p. 39). Amidst this unavoidable social mobility, many of the characters in the play are ironically caught up in the past (Kellaway 1999, p. 39). Jimmy vividly remembers his working class childhood and the suffering associated with the slow death of his father. On the other side Colonel Redfern obsessively remembers his days as an agent of colonialism in India, the days that had fast drifted apart. All the segments of the society in a way mourned or resented the passing of an era that was never to come again. This predicament is aptly grasped by Alison as she says, “You’re hurt because everything is changed. Jimmy is hurt because ever ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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