How Does the Bear and Squirrel Game Contribute to the Dramatic Interest in Look Back in Anger? (বাংলায়)

Question: How does the bear and squirrel game contribute to the dramatic interest in Look Back in Anger?

“Look Back in Anger” is a famous play by John Osborne written in 1956. The play revolves around the relationship between a young married couple, Jimmy Porter and Alison.  It explores themes of class struggle, disillusionment, and societal constraints. In the play, Bear and Squirrel Game is a significant element that contributes to the dramatic interest by symbolizing the complex relationship between the characters, Jimmy and Alison.

The Symbolism of the Bear and Squirrel Game: In the play, Jimmy Porter, a disappointed young man, introduces the Bear and Squirrel game. He uses this game to describe the inequality and power dynamics in his marriage with Alison. The Bear represents the strong, aggressive, and dominant partner, while the Squirrel symbolizes the weaker, submissive, and controlled one. This game reflects Jimmy’s perception of their relationship and his need to assert dominance.

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Struggles for Control and Dominance: The Bear and Squirrel game highlights the constant struggle for control and dominance in Jimmy and Alison’s marriage. Jimmy wants to be the Bear. He wants Alison to be the submissive Squirrel. He desires the upper hand, but he also resents his power over her. He exclaims, “It’s no fun if you don’t try to get away,” indicating his yearning for a more challenging relationship where he doesn’t hold all the control. This power struggle adds tension and intensity to their interactions.

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Emotional Isolation and Lack of Communication: Through the Bear and Squirrel game, the audience sees Jimmy and Alison’s emotional isolation and lack of communication. Instead of addressing their issues openly and honestly, they resort to this game to express their feelings indirectly. This lack of genuine communication deepens their emotional disconnect, leading to more significant conflicts and misunderstandings.

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Impact on the Audience: The Bear and Squirrel game captures the audience’s attention because it represents a universal struggle in relationships: the desire for power and the complexities of communication. 

Insight into Jimmy’s Character: The game provides valuable insights into Jimmy’s character and his pent-up frustration with society. As he explains the game, he remarks, “It’s the old human problem, isn’t it? People don’t like you to be above them.” This statement reveals his deep-seated resentment towards societal norms and his struggle to find a place where he feels accepted and understood. The Bear and Squirrel game becomes an outlet for Jimmy’s anger and disillusionment.

Themes of Class Struggle and Discontent: Beyond the interpersonal dynamics, the Bear and Squirrel game also symbolizes the broader themes of class struggle and discontent prevalent in the play. Jimmy, as a working-class individual, feels the burden of societal expectations and longs for a fairer and more equitable world. The game represents his frustration with the social order and his desire for change.

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Resolution and Catharsis: Towards the end of the play, when Alison decides to leave Jimmy, she challenges the power dynamic by refusing to play the game anymore. Her decision marks a turning point in their relationship and leads to a cathartic moment where their true feelings are laid bare. The game, which once masked their emotions, becomes a tool for self-discovery and eventual resolution.In conclusion, the Bear and Squirrel game in “Look Back in Anger” serves as a compelling and relatable metaphor that enhances the dramatic interest of the play. Through this simple and well-known game, the audience gains insights into the complex relationships, emotional struggles, and societal discontent of the characters. Like a bear and a squirrel, they are different in nature, yet their contrasting personalities create tension and conflict. This game highlights their emotional struggles and enhances the play’s intensity. Finally, it represents the intricacies of human relationships and emotions.

Riya Akter
Riya Akter
Hey, This is Riya Akter Setu, B.A (Hons) & M.A in English from National University.


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