Summary of Look Back in Anger by John Osborne - OKVIX

Summary of Look Back in Anger by John Osborne

Summary of look back in Anger by John Osborne

Look back in Anger is a play written by John Osborne. It begins in the apartment of Jimmy Porter, and Alison Porter, who were both husband and wife. They also, share their apartment with Cliff Lewis, who is a friend to Jimmy. Keep reading as you discover the summary of look back in anger by John Osborne.

Summary of look back in Anger by John Osborne

Both Jimmy and Cliff come from a working class background, but Jimmy is more educated. They are in a business together, running a sweet-stall. Alison comes from a more prominent family. Jimmy is a hot-tempered man bad, he begins to try, and provoke both Cliff and Alison.

He is antagonistic towards Cliff’s working class background, and makes fun of him for his low intelligence. Cliff is good in nature and takes his antagonism. Jimmy attempts to provoke his wife, Alison, by making fun of her family and well-heeled life before she married him. Jimmy also seems to display a nostalgia for England’s powerful past.

After a few weeks, Alison disclosed to Cliff that she is pregnant for Jimmy and haven’t told him yet. Cliff advised her to inform Jimmy about that. When Cliff left the scene and Jimmy came in, both fall into an intimate game.

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Helena likes Jimmy. She advised Jimmy’s wife (Alison) to go to church, which is against Jimmy’s like. This makes Jimmy full of anger for his wife. A time came when Jimmy goes to see his friend’s mother. When Allison went to see her father, Helena came and started showing Jimmy affection. She stared seducing him also.

Jimmy is a bad husband to Alison. He always abuses her. Alison later lose her pregnancy, die to lack of care. At the end of the play, Alison and Jimmy later reconcile and both played their bear and squirrel game. Where Alison pretend to be a squirrel while Jimmy pretend to be a bear.

Themes of look back in Anger by John Osborne

  • Betrayal of trust.
  • Class consciousness
  • The crisis of identity
  • Psychological distress in marriage

Betrayal of trust

Helena Charles, betrayed her friend, Alison Porter. She convinced her to leave her husband and went behind to have intimacy with Alison’s husband (Jimmy).

Class consciousness

Alison comes from the upper class background, while Jimmy’s social places him at the working class level. Jimmy attended a low profile university, unlike Alison and his brother Nigel, who attended the prestigious Sanhurst university. Jimmy believes that Nigel is stupid because of his insensitive nature to the need of others.

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The crisis of identity

Jimmy don’t respect others characters because of their identity. They come from lower class hence, he does not tolerate them at all.

Psychological distress in marriage

Jimmy hates upper class and pours abuses on Alison’s family. Their marriage is destroyed from the beginning because of Alison’s parent’s disapproval of the marriage. Alison narrates her condition as a wife to Jimmy, which is an ugly one. Jimmy went ahead to sleep with Helena. He couldn’t control himself.


Helena do attend church regularly but still commit immorality which the church condemns. She openly flirts with Jimmy, kisses him and slept with him.

After going through the summary of look back in Anger by John Osborne, let’s take a look at the characters.

Characters of look back in Anger by John Osborne

  • Jimmy Porter
  • Alison Porter
  • Cliff Lewis
  • Helena Charles
  • Colonel Redfern
  • Nigel
  • Lewis

Jimmy Porter

Jimmy Porter is the husband of Alison Porter. He is the protagonist of the play. Jimmy is a working class man and comes from a working class background. He is a friend to Cliff and both are in a business together.

Alison Porter

Alison Porter is the wife of Jimmy Porter. She comes from a prominent family.

Cliff Lewis

Cliff Lewis is a friend of Jimmy Porter. He is also, a working class man. His friend, Jimmy, share the same apartment with him.

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Helena Charles

Helena Charles is an old friend of Alison Porter. She is an actress.

Colonel Redfern

Colonel Redfern is the father of Alison. He was an officer in the British military and served in India, and his is nostalgic for his time there.


Nigel is the brother of Alison.


Lewis is a friend of Jimmy Porter. He comes from a lower class.

Settings of look back in Anger by John Osborne

The settings of look back in Anger is that the book was writing by John Osborne. The settings are mid-1950’s. Location is a small town in England.

What you need to learn from the play look back in Anger by John Osborne

This okay teaches about respect. You need to respect and love one another despite the class or level the person is. Forgiveness is very important as it solves a lot of problems. Alison and Jimmy both forgave each other at the end and becomes happy.

Being a hypocrite is bad. Don’t do bad things behind and then, come out to abuse others. It is a sign of a bad character which you must avoid.

After going through this topic, I hope you enjoyed the Summary of look back in Anger by John Osborne. You can also, read other summaries on this blog, including summary of second class citizen by Buchi Emecheta. Kindly share with your friends.

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