Look Back in Anger

Colonel Redfern Character Analysis

Alison’s father, a former colonel in the British army stationed in the English colony of India (back before 1947, when India still was a colony of England). He is “gentle” and “kindly,” but also “brought up to command respect.” After leaving his post in India, “he is often slightly withdrawn and uneasy” because he lives “in a world where his authority has lately become less and less unquestionable.” Jimmy says that the Colonel is stuck in a past version of England, and the Colonel himself agrees with this. When the Colonel comes to help Alison pack to leave Jimmy, he shows himself to be self-aware and incisive, commenting that both he and Alison like to stay neutral and avoid showing emotion, to their detriment.

Colonel Redfern Quotes in Look Back in Anger

The Look Back in Anger quotes below are all either spoken by Colonel Redfern or refer to Colonel Redfern. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Class and Education Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of Look Back in Anger published in 1982.
Act 1 Quotes

I hate to admit it, but I think I can understand how her Daddy must have felt when he came back from India, after all those years away. The old Edwardian brigade do make their brief little world look pretty tempting. All homemade cakes and croquet, bright ideas, bright uniforms…What a romantic picture. Phoney too, of course. It must have rained sometimes. Still, even I regret it somehow, phoney or not. If you’ve no world of your own, it’s rather pleasant to regret the passing of someone else’s.

Related Characters: Jimmy Porter (speaker), Alison Porter, Colonel Redfern
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 2, Scene 2 Quotes

I think you may take after me a little, my dear. You like to sit on the fence because it’s comfortable and more peaceful.

Related Characters: Colonel Redfern (speaker), Alison Porter
Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:

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I always believed that people married each other because they were in love. That always seemed a good enough reason to me. But apparently, that’s too simple for young people nowadays. They have to talk about challenges and revenge. I just can’t believe that love between men and women is really like that.

Related Characters: Colonel Redfern (speaker), Jimmy Porter, Alison Porter
Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:

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You’re hurt because everything is changed. Jimmy is hurt because everything is the same. And neither of you can face it. Something’s gone wrong somewhere, hasn’t it?

Related Characters: Alison Porter (speaker), Jimmy Porter, Colonel Redfern
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Colonel Redfern Character Timeline in Look Back in Anger

The timeline below shows where the character Colonel Redfern 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
...to newspapers. Jimmy summarizes another article that he says was written by a man like Colonel Redfern “casting well-fed glances back to the Edwardian twilight from his comfortable, disenfranchised wilderness.” Then... (full context)
Disillusionment and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Love and Innocence Theme Icon
...says, “I hate to admit it, but I think I can understand how her Daddy [Colonel Redfern] must have felt when he came back from India…the old Edwardian brigade do make... (full context)
Class and Education Theme Icon
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
Love and Innocence Theme Icon
...returns to his attack on her friends, saying that they’re “militant,” like Alison’s mother and Colonel Redfern, and also “arrogant and full of malice. Or vague.” Alison, he says, is “somewhere... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Class and Education Theme Icon
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
Disillusionment and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Love and Innocence Theme Icon
...“there must be about six different answers.” For one thing, her family, and her father Colonel Redfern in particular, were “unsettled” after returning from India. When Alison met Jimmy at a... (full context)
Class and Education Theme Icon
Disillusionment and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Love and Innocence Theme Icon
...hard to believe now. They avoided the city registrar because he was a friend of Colonel Redfern’s, and chose a vicar who was less likely to know Alison’s parents. But Colonel... (full context)
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
Love and Innocence Theme Icon
Helena tells Alison that she has sent Colonel Redfern a wire, telling him to come pick up his daughter the next day. Alison... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Disillusionment and Nostalgia Theme Icon
The scene opens the next evening, with Alison packing her suitcase and Colonel Redfern sitting by. “Brought up to command respect, he is often slightly withdrawn and uneasy... (full context)
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
Love and Innocence Theme Icon
...her son is away. She says that Jimmy had hoped she would go with him. Colonel Redfern remembers that it was Hugh’s mum who gave Jimmy the sweet-stall, and asks whether... (full context)
Class and Education Theme Icon
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
The Colonel asks who is looking after the sweet stall, and Alison says that Cliff is. Her... (full context)
Class and Education Theme Icon
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
Alison says that there wasn’t much to say, and the Colonel interprets this to mean that she was “afraid of being disloyal” to Jimmy. Alison laughs... (full context)
Class and Education Theme Icon
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
Alison says that he shouldn’t blame himself, and the Colonel agrees that everyone involved deserves some blame. Yet he says that Jimmy is “honest enough”... (full context)
Class and Education Theme Icon
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
Alison tells the Colonel what Jimmy said about her mother and the worms. The Colonel responds with a mild... (full context)
Class and Education Theme Icon
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
Disillusionment and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Love and Innocence Theme Icon
Alison says that she believes it was for “revenge.” Colonel Redfern looks baffled. Alison confirms that “some people do actually marry for revenge.” Jimmy, she... (full context)
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
Disillusionment and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Colonel Redfern says that Jimmy might be right—he might be a relic of the Edwardian past.... (full context)
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
...moments, she seems to be standing on the edge of choice.” Then she turns to Colonel Redfern and begins crying. He tells her that she’s taking a big step, and asks... (full context)
Class and Education Theme Icon
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
The Colonel says that they should get going—Alison’s mother will be worried, and she’s ill. Helena says... (full context)
Suffering and Anger vs. Complacency Theme Icon
Love and Innocence Theme Icon
...crash, and throws his raincoat down. “He is almost giddy with anger.” Jimmy says that Colonel Redfern almost hit him with the car on his way out. It was “fitting,” he... (full context)