The Glass Menagerie - Amanda Wingfield Essay

767 Words 4 Pages
The Glass Menagerie - Amanda Wingfield

If there is a signature character type that marks Tennessee
-Williams’s dramatic work, it is undeniably that of the faded Southern
belle. Amanda is a clear representative of this type. In general, a
Tennessee Williams faded belle is from a prominent Southern family,
has received a traditional upbringing, and has suffered a reversal of
economic and social fortune at some point in her life. Like Amanda,
these women all have a hard time coming to terms with their new status
in society—and indeed, with modern society in general, which
disregards the social distinctions that they were taught to value.
Their relationships with men and their families are turbulent, and
they staunchly defend the
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Unlike them, she is
convinced that she is not doing so and, consequently, is constantly
making efforts to engage with people and the world outside her family.
Amanda’s monologues to her children, on the phone, and to Jim all
reflect quite clearly her moral and psychological failings, but they
are also some of the most colorful and unforgettable words in the

The essence of Amanda’s character is caught in her first speech. She
seems to need to nag at her children, especially Tom, and she is not
even aware that she is nagging. Essentially, she must have something
to talk about, and she nags at Tom about little things because she
fears that she has lost or is losing him as far as the big things, the
significant things, in life are concerned.

Amanda’s sense of unreality is caught in these first episodes as she
lives in a world of servants and gentlemen callers. Always her
language suggests another time and place.

Note that all of Amanda’s so-called gentlemen callers either came from
the wealthy or became wealthy. The question will arise as to whether
she actually had these callers or not. Amanda might have been somewhat
popular, but it is almost inconceivable to believe that she actually
did have as many as seventeen gentlemen callers. But what is important
is that Amanda now believes this story so strongly that the gentlemen
callers have become a reality for her.

The scene ends again on…