Quotes and Analysis
1. "People like me don't get fat. I've tried to tell you before. We just burn everything up."
Look Back in Anger, 12.
This quote, spoken by Jimmy, is a glimpse into his character and his anger. Though his quote, literally, is meant to convey the kind of physical energy that Jimmy has in his everyday life, on another level the quote is meant to suggest the kind of destruction that Jimmy brings to the lives of those around him. The word "burn" has a double meaning in this way; on the one hand it is meant to represent a burning of physical, bodily energy. On the other hand, it is meant to convey destruction -- how Jimmy's frenetic quest for real life destroys the lives of those to whom he is closest.
2. "If you could have a child, and it would die...if only I could watch you face that."
Look Back in Anger, 37.
This quote, spoken by Jimmy, demonstrates his vicious anger towards Alison. The quote is an example of dramatic irony as well as foreshadowing. It foreshadows future events in the play in which Alison loses her pregnancy, Jimmy's child, to miscarriage. It is dramatic irony in that the audience already knows that Alison is pregnant when Jimmy speaks this line, but he does not realize this fact. Without the suffering of losing something close and important to her, Jimmy sees Alison as an incomplete or unborn person, incapable of true emotion and life.
"Oh heavens, how I long for a little ordinary human enthusiasm. Just enthusiasm -- that's all. I want to hear a warm, thrilling voice cry out Hallelujah!...Hallelujah! I'm alive!"
Look Back in Anger, 15.
Jimmy is primarily concerned with a way to live a real, enthusiastic, and emotional life. The desire for emotion expresses itself in his anger towards his wife and their domestic existence. This quote is a reference to black gospel religion which Jimmy associates with things such as jazz music (Jimmy also plays the trumpet, a similar reference). This use of a religious phrase should be compared to Jimmy's antagonism towards traditional English Anglicanism, which Jimmy firmly rejects. It should also be noted that most of the play occurs on a Sunday, suggesting that in Jimmy's righteous anger is a modern attempt to find the kind of real life that traditional religion sought to convey for its believers....