The church bells symbolize a respectable middle class morality that Jimmy
finds oppressive. Helena
subscribes to this version of morality, which posits that some things are clearly right, while others are wrong and “sinful.” Jimmy, on the other hand, believes that the rules of respectable society are something to struggle against. In his mind, it is moral to act in allegiance with his oppressed class, and to feel emotions as keenly and intensely as possible. The church bells chime from outside the window at various points in the play, reflecting the fact that these middle class rules are a fact of life in most of the world, and that they often intrude into the apartment, and into Jimmy’s life. He curses and yells when he hears them, reflecting his anger at this system of morality. Alison
leaves for church with Helena in the middle of act 2, following Helena back into a middle class world.