Jimmy becomes angry at Alison for allowing Helena to stay with them during her

Jimmy becomes angry at alison for allowing helena to

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Jimmy becomes angry at Alison for allowing Helena to stay with them during her visit and his rant towards her at the end of the first act is one of his most vicious. This rant makes clear what Jimmy considers necessary in order to be truly alive. One must suffer as he did when he watched his father die in order to understand what it truly means to live. When Jimmy tells Alison that he wishes that she could see her child die, it is a moment of both dramatic irony and foreshadowing. It is ironic because the audience already knows that Alison is pregnant. Jimmy’s attack on her foreshadows the death of her child and her future hardships. Jimmy’s anger is representative of Osborne’s critique of the feminization of society in the 1950’s. Osborne later wrote that Jimmy’s anger is a manifestation of the subliminal anger felt by a generation of men domesticated by a feminine culture. Jimmy’s anger is Osborne’s attempt to return genuine masculine emotion to cultural life. This is one of the reasons that Osborne’s play received such attention and critical reception, both good and bad. Some critics argued that his attempt was ultimately misogynistic.
SCHOOL OF DISTANCE EDUCATION MODERN ENGLISH LITERATURE Page 11 ACT II, SCENE 1 Act II opens two weeks later. Alison is boiling water for tea on a Sunday afternoon. The newspapers are again spread out across the floor of the attic apartment. Alison is only wearing a slip and as she begins to dress, Helena enters. Helena is described as the same age and build as Alison, but with a “sense of matriarchal authority” Helena places a bowl of salad on the table. Alison expresses her gratitude for her helps. Jimmy is in Cliff’s room playing his trumpet very loudly. Alison worries that Mrs. Drury is going to kick them out of the apartment. Helena notes that even his trumpet playing sounds angry. Helena asks Alison if she is in love with Cliff, and Alison denies it. She tells Helena the story of their first few months of marriage. Without any money or jobs, they went to live with Hugh Tanner, a friend of Jimmy’s. Alison and Hugh could tell immediately that they didn’t like each other. Hugh was even more angry and insulting than Jimmy and Alison realized that for the first time in her life she was cut off from all the people in her life. Her mother and father had made her sign over all her money and assets when she married Jimmy because they believed him to be “utterly ruthless.” Her brother, Nigel, had been running for Parliament at the time and so didn’t have the time for anyone but his constituents. Helena changes the conversation and tells Alison that she must either tell Jimmy that he is going to be a father or else leave him. Alison points towards the stuffed squirrel and teddy bear in the corner of the room and tells Helena that those animals represent the two of them. She tells her about the game they play in which she pretends to be a squirrel and he pretends to be a bear. It was the one way of escaping from everything. Helena warns that

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