Look Back in Anger

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Newspapers Symbol Analysis

Newspapers Symbol Icon
Jimmy and Cliff read newspapers throughout Act 1 and Act 3, and they are a major visual feature in the apartment. Jimmy uses the newspaper as a symbol of his education. They are a way for him to mimic the habits of the upper class, university-educated elite. He repeatedly comments on what he is reading, sometimes using erudite vocabulary. He also uses newspaper articles as a way to belittle the intelligence of Cliff and Alison, which is one of the tactics he employs to make himself feel smarter and more worthwhile. Yet, Jimmy’s relationship with newspapers also shows his ambivalent relationship to his educated status. He says that the newspapers make him “feel ignorant,” and he often mocks “posh” papers, which, in his mind, are out of touch with the real concerns of working class men like him. The newspapers in the apartment also form a “jungle,” showing that, in a working class environment, this status symbol becomes something that upper class characters like Alison would consider chaotic and dangerous. This reflects the way that greater social mobility has caused social upheaval in Britain.
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Newspapers Symbol Timeline in Look Back in Anger

The timeline below shows where the symbol Newspapers 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
Disillusionment and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Love and Innocence Theme Icon
...see Jimmy Porter and Cliff Lewis, seated on opposite sides of he stage and reading newspapers. There are others beside them and between them, forming “a jungle of newspapers and weeklies.”... (full context)
Class and Education Theme Icon
Disillusionment and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Jimmy complains that the Sunday papers are boring, and also that they make him “feel ignorant.” He taunts Cliff for not... (full context)
Class and Education Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Love and Innocence Theme Icon
...and don’t be so sickening.” Then he asks more about what Cliff’s reading in the paper. (full context)
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
Disillusionment and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Jimmy says that he hates Sundays. “Always the same ritual. Reading the papers, drinking tea, ironing…Our youth is slipping away.” When he realizes Alison isn’t listening, he says,... (full context)
Class and Education Theme Icon
Disillusionment and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Cliff brings the conversation back to newspapers. Jimmy summarizes another article that he says was written by a man like Colonel Redfern... (full context)
Class and Education Theme Icon
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Love and Innocence Theme Icon
Cliff returns to the newspapers, and Alison to her ironing. After a while, Jimmy snaps at both of them for... (full context)
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
Love and Innocence Theme Icon
...Jimmy sits down in the armchair next to them. He begins to look at the paper. Without looking at Alison, he asks how her arm is. She says that it’s fine.... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
...room is set for four, and Alison crosses to put the teapot there. The “Sunday paper jungle” is still strewn about the room. Alison crosses to her dressing table and sits... (full context)
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
Disillusionment and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Gender Theme Icon
...on her shoes. Cliff moves from the table to an armchair and looks at a paper. Jimmy has regained his composure slightly, and says that people find his yelling objectionable, “but... (full context)
Act 3, Scene 1
Disillusionment and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Love and Innocence Theme Icon
...belongings have replaced Alison’s in the apartment. Cliff and Jimmy sit in armchairs reading the paper, as they did in Act 1. Helena is ironing. She looks “attractive” and “smart,” but... (full context)