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.
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.
...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)
Act 2, Scene 1
Act 3, Scene 1
...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)