A Comparative Analysis of the Poetics of Anger in John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger and Femi Osofisan’s The Chattering and the Song
Keywords:Anger, British drama, African drama, John Osborne, Femi Osofisan, Literary history
Anger is a basic human emotion which has a force for constructive or destructive
ends. Its expression in any circumstance can be a trigger for a desire to change a
prevailing situation. In all cases, anger is a fundamental component of art. This
study examines the use of anger in Osborne’s Look Back in Anger and Osofisan’s
The Chattering and the Song. Osborne and Osofisan are two writers who are very
anxious to change their societies through their art. In spite of differences in their
origin (Osborne was a Briton while Osofisan is a Nigerian), they wrote at a time of
certain social and political upheavals in their countries. They also share similar
concerns and attitude towards art. My focus in this paper is on the early plays of
Osborne and Osofisan where anger is strongest and where their artistic triumph is
most poignant. Working within the formalist approach, the paper reveals that in
Osborne and Osofisan, extreme anger is both material and style and is what marks
their art out. The reification by the intellect provides a potent instrument for
investigating society. Anger becomes the point of departure for their art, it is not
mere hysterics but a cerebral one and it is the motivating force for their writings.
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