Woman´s Role in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams Essay

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Judging a woman by her appearance became a social norm in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Since women were not allowed to hold high or reputable positions, they often relied on their husbands to pay and bring in most of the bills and money. Such conditions often left a young woman scrambling to find a husband, or better said it was in her best interest to find a husband. Modern literature originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. At the time, true women were thought to exhibit the following traits: piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity (Welter). Not only did women criticize each other, but the media did as well. Women were also responsible for upholding their physical beauty. A woman could’ve had all the traits…show more content…
Amanda is representative of the shift away from the traditional gender roles during this time period. But, she still treats her children based on their sexual differences. From the beginning of the novel, we are introduced to Laura, Amanda’s youngest child. Having been raised in the South, Amanda still keeps a Southern mentality. She expects her daughter to be just like her. Laura is constantly being reminded about how her mother was once sought after “seven gentlemen callers” (Williams). Amanda is extremely focused and dedicated to finding her daughter appear and be “fresh and pretty” (Williams). She even blocks out the fact that her daughter is crippled. Her constant reminders of how a girl must be “fresh and pretty” (Williams) serve as reminder that at the time, many ladies heard the same exact thing from their mothers. In other words, they were raised to believe that personality wouldn’t attract or get them a husband, but beauty would. Amanda surprises Laura when she says “All pretty girls are a trap and men expect them to be” (Williams). Having a crippled daughter worries Amanda and raises her concerns of Laura not being able to find a husband. She forces her son, Tom, to find Laura a hopeful candidate. Amanda goes as far as ignoring Laura’s crippled state. In the play, whenever Tom made a remark regarding his sister’s condition, his mother would immediately lash out at him. Instead of facing reality, Amanda would avoid it. The Glass Menagerie
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