Look Back in Anger

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Mrs. Tanner Character Analysis

The mother of Hugh Tanner, called “Hugh’s mum” by Jimmy, she helped set Jimmy up with his sweet stall. Jimmy loves her, and Alison thinks this is just because she is lower class and “ignorant.” In the middle of the play, Jimmy learns that Hugh’s mum has had a stroke, and Jimmy goes to visit her in the hospital. In one of his few expressions of true vulnerability, he asks Alison to come with him. She refuses, and leaves him shortly thereafter. Jimmy is offended that Alison seems to see Hugh’s mum only in terms of her class, and not as a person. He thinks that society in general ignores the humanity of working class people, and that Alison’s and other’s treatment of Hugh’s mum is a prime example.
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Mrs. Tanner Character Timeline in Look Back in Anger

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Tanner appears in Look Back in Anger. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Class and Education Theme Icon
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Love and Innocence Theme Icon
...is his only friend—people seem to always be disappearing from his life. Then he remembers Hugh’s mum , who he says has also been a good friend to the couple. She is... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Class and Education Theme Icon
Love and Innocence Theme Icon
...because of Cliff’s kind temperament. It was different with Hugh Tanner, Jimmy’s childhood friend ( Hugh’s mum helped Jimmy start his sweet stall). The couple moved in with Hugh soon after Jimmy... (full context)
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
Disillusionment and Nostalgia Theme Icon
...him. Jimmy fought with him about this, and “accused Hugh of giving up” and abandoning his mother . In the end, Hugh left for China “to find the New Millennium on his... (full context)
Class and Education Theme Icon
Alison suspects that Hugh’s mum and Jimmy both blame her for the quarrel, and for Hugh’s leaving the country. She... (full context)
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
Love and Innocence Theme Icon
...Cliff asks if he’s all right. To Alison, Jimmy says that the call was about Hugh’s mum , who has had a stroke. After a “slight pause,” Alison says that she’s sorry.... (full context)
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
Love and Innocence Theme Icon
To Alison, Jimmy says that he remembers Hugh’s mum ’s reaction to their wedding photo. She rhapsodized over how beautiful Alison was. Alison is... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
Love and Innocence Theme Icon
Alison says that Jimmy is seeing Hugh’s mum , because she’s had a stroke and her son is away. She says that Jimmy... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 2
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
Disillusionment and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Alison says that she’s sorry, and Jimmy says that she never sent any flowers to Hugh’s mum . She starts to move, but stops when he speaks. He says that the world... (full context)