Alison and Jimmy’s bear and squirrel game gives them a way to access a simple affection for each other that they cannot achieve in normal life. The bear is associated with Jimmy, and the squirrel with Alison. The animals symbolize the fact that social norms and conventions interfere with the love that these two characters have for each other. Their relationship is a site of class and societal conflict, and this means that their love becomes fraught with anger and fighting. When they act like animals, whose only concerns are food, shelter, cleanliness, and sex, they can forget that conflict and feel a simpler version of love for each other. The fact that they keep stuffed animal versions of the bear and squirrel in the apartment reflects a childlike innocence that these characters find it difficult to maintain in their troubled world, but that they still hope for.
Bear and Squirrel Quotes in Look Back in Anger
The Look Back in Anger quotes below all refer to the symbol of Bear and Squirrel. 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: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of Look Back in Anger published in 1982.).
Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes
We could become little furry creatures with little furry brains. Full of dumb, uncomplicated affection for each other…And now, even they are dead, poor little silly animals. They were all love, and no brains.
Bear and Squirrel Symbol Timeline in Look Back in Anger
The timeline below shows where the symbol Bear and Squirrel appears in Look Back in Anger. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...a randy little mouse.” He starts to tease Jimmy back, calling him a “horrible old bear.” Cliff grabs Jimmy’s foot, and they begin to fight. Alison watches, “relieved and suddenly full... (full context)
...threat of a different mood,” but Jimmy goes on to call her “a beautiful, great-eyed squirrel.” Alison “nods brightly, relieved.” Jimmy begins to compare her further to a squirrel, with shiny... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
...Helena exit. Jimmy “looks about him unbelievingly,” rising to lean against the dresser. The teddy bear is nearby. Jimmy lifts it “gently,” then throws it to the floor, where it makes... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Act 3, Scene 2