Look Back in Anger

jimmy and cliff as a foil to each other in osborne's play look back in anger

look back in anger

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Cliff is interesting as a foil to Jimmy because he brings out his imperialistic nature. As soon as the play begins, Jimmy tells Cliff, "Well, you are ignorant. You're just a peasant," and this turns out to be a favorite refrain of his: "Why do you bother. You can't understand a word of it." (p.7) "You've no intellect, no curiosity. It all just washes over you." (p.38) "You're a savage, a hooligan! You really are! Do you know that! You don't deserve to live in the same house with decent, sensitive poeople!" (p.67) These are stock attitudes toward the Welsh, and although Jimmy displays less malice towards Cliff, he also takes him less seriously to begin with. Near the beginning of the play, Jimmy chides Cliff, "You spend good money on a new pair of trousers, and then sprawl about in them like a savage! What do you think you're going to do when I'm not around to look after you? Well, what are you going to do? Tell me." (p.11) That attitude is the epitome of the British colonization ethic of bringing civilization to the barbarians and having to stand by and watch that they learn it as properly as their little barbarian capabililites will allow.