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Essay on Stagnant Lives in Streetcar Named Desire and Glass Menagerie

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Stagnant Lives in Streetcar Named Desire and Glass Menagerie


    The Stagnant Lives of Blanche DuBois and Amanda Wingfield    "All of Williams' significant characters are pathetic victims--of time, of their own passions, of immutable circumstance" (Gantz 110). This assessment of Tennessee Williams' plays proves true when one looks closely at the characters of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire and Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie. Their lives run closely parallel to one another in their respective dramas. They reject their present lives, yet their methods of escape are dissimilar. Both women have lost someone they cared for, and so seek to hold, and unintentionally suffocate, those they have left.

A major problem that both Blanche and Amanda face is their misconception of reality and the "New South." "The predominant theme of these plays is Southern womanhood helpless in the grip of the new world, while its old world of social position and financial security is a paradise lost (Gassner 78). They are victims of a society that taught them that virtue, attractiveness, and gentility all led to happiness. When tragedy strikes, Blanche and Amanda are unable to adjust to modem society and eventually withdraw into the securities of the past. "For Blanche and Amanda, the South forms an image of youth, love, purity and all of the ideals that have crumbled along with mansions and family fortunes" (Tischier 319).

Tragedy after tragedy has struck the character of Blanche DuBois of Streetcar until nothing is left except her tenuous grasp on sanity. Her young homosexual husband, Allan, kills himself, leaving her racked with guilt with which she cannot deal. It s as if the "Grim Reaper set up his tent," taking the...


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... New York: Chelsea Publishers, 1987. 99-112.

 

Gassner, John. “Theatre at the Crossroads.New York,” Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960. pp. 77-91, 218-231.

 

Howell, Elmo. "The Function of Gentlemen Callers: A Note on Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie." Tennessee

Williams's The Glass Menagerie: Modern Critical Interpretations. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea, 1988.

Contemporary Literary Criticism 11 (1979): 575-576.

 

Nelson, Benjamin. Tennessee Williams: The Man and His Work. New York: Ivan Obolensky, 1961.

 

Tischler, Nancy M. "The Glass Menagerie: From Story to Play." Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie:

Modern Critical Interpretations. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea Publishers, 1988.

           

            Williams, Tennessee. A Streetcar Named Desire. New York: Viking Penguin, 1976.

 


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