Essay on Portrayal of Women in The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire

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Portrayal of Women in The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire

The plays of Tennessee Williams are often controversial because of his preoccupation with sex and violence. Basic female character types often reappear throughout each of his plays. The women featured in the plays, The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire all suffer from physical or emotional mutilation and seek fulfillment from a man.

An influential factor in Tennessee Williams's writing was his own personal experience. The Glass Menagerie is a play that originated in the memory of the author. Williams drew heavily on his own family experiences, describing the lives of his mother, sister, and himself. Many aspects of the play
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Amanda easily mirrors this description of Edwina because of her selfishness concerning Laura and her being unattached. Laura Wingfield is very shy and does not want to be involved with the world outside their apartment. She collects tiny glass animals, and she treasures them more than actually participating in daily contact with the public. Amanda enrolls her in business school so that Laura will have some sort of trade with which she will be able to support herself in the future, but Laura is so shy that she does not attend classes and is eventually dropped from the enrollment. This identical situation happened to Williams' sister Rose. Edwina enrolled her at the Rubicam Business College, hoping she could learn to be a stenographer, but she could not handle the group contact or the pressure (Spoto 20). When Williams created the character of Laura, he remembered his sister's gradual entrance into an inner world of darkness and unreality. Rose and Laura are so much alike that their gentleman callers had the same name, Jim O'Connor. The situation that occurred with the visiting gentleman callers seems to be almost identical. Rose and Laura were not informed about the gentlemen until there was not enough time to argue about the visit. Edwina and Amanda were responsible for O'Connor's visits to their apartments; and they were also responsible
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