Jimmy’s education has forced him out of one world, and yet simultaneously barred him from accepting the alternative world of Alison’s mother and her brother Nigel, and conservative Member of Parliament. Jimmy Porter has the quintessential modern mind, sharp and sentimental, witty and maudlin by turns, flinging it purposelessly in the face of anyone who comes near and then crying out in terror at the thought of being left alone in the dark. Characteristically Jimmy hates both the society people and the “intellectuals”, whom he identifies with the “Posh” Sunday papers.
The former betrays his educated Loyalty to the truth and to ideas, but the latter betrays his sentimental longing for a lost world of ideals and emotional unity in a cause that he identifies as “working-class” unity. Helena performs an important function here in that she combines both stances in one figure. She is a modern intellectual to some degree, but not dispossessed of her identity.
She stands in a secure place, symbolized by her unquestioning acceptance of the moral categories of religion, even when she does not act on them. Yet her strength lies in her essential hypocrisy. Jimmy’s attack on her sentimental Christianity is also very self-revealing since the things of which he accuses Helena are very close to his own habit of idealizing the past.