Glass Menagerie Although Its Narrator and Author Term Paper

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Glass Menagerie

Although its narrator and author are men, The Glass Menagerie is arguably a play about women in the 1930s. As such, author Tennessee Williams gives women a voice they might not otherwise have had, and at first glance the play could be considered a positive feminist statement just by nature of having major women characters. However, while giving the women voice, Williams denigrates them at the same by presenting Amanda and Laura as representative women characters. As the failed Southern belle, Amanda is manipulative, self-centered, delusional and cruel. Laura, an emotional and literal "cripple," cannot face the real world and is as weak and delicate as her glass collection. Not only do these characters present a problematic view of women, but the choice of a man, Tom, as the narrator is an additional weakness in the play. The reader sees the women only through Tom's eyes, and as narrator he proves himself to be selfish, mocking and cruel. These factors combine to create a play that portrays women as weak, delusional and cruel.

The reader's first impression of Amanda is that she is possessed of an unnatural cheer, which is soon proven to be false. She deludes herself into believing that Tom is the devoted son she has always wanted and that Laura will soon be visited by scores of "gentleman callers." Amanda's insistence on seeing the supposed bright side of her family's situation at first seems admirable, but in fact she is doing more damage than good by refusing to see and deal with the truth. Amanda portrays herself as a selfless matriarch who has only her children's best interests at heart, but it soon becomes apparent that she has her own selfish motives for her behavior. She insists on seeing Tom's behavior as a deliberate affront to her instead of his attempts to deal with his own demons, and during Jim's visit Amanda's self-centeredness is fully revealed. Amanda dresses up and flirts with Jim, making it obvious that she had been yearning for gentlemen callers for herself, not just for Laura. Amanda is also cruel and manipulative, as evidenced by the photo of her errant husband hanging over the fireplace. This photo is meant to remind…

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