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Pitiable Character: Amanda Wingfield vs. Edna Pontellier

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Kate Chopin and Tennessee Williams are both well known writers and were able to create memorable characters within their works. One of Chopin's renowned characters is the heroine Edna Pontellier, a woman who tries to break away from the social norms of the nineteenth century. One of Williams' well known characters is Amanda Wingfield a caring mother that is trapped in her past. I will be analyzing Tennessee William's Amanda of The Glass Menagerie and Kate Chopin's Edna of The Awakening and will be comparing and contrasting various elements in their character to prove that even though both women could be seen as pitiable characters, Amanda is more deserving of the title. On first glance, Edna could be seen as a character that deserves sympathy because of her conflicts while Amanda could easily be the most hated character in The Glass Menagerie. Unlike Edna, Amanda gives more qualities of a character deserving of pity.
Before judging Amanda and Edna's character, one must understand where they originated from. Both Chopin and Williams places personal experiences of their childhood into their writings. Their lives influences the story and the character of both Amanda Wingfield and Edna Pontellier. Chopin, like Edna, was affected by the death of a parent at a young age. Chopin was five when her father, Thomas O'Flaherty, died when a train he was riding in collapsed while crossing a bridge (Wyatt 1). Edna's mother died when she was young, "their mother having died when they were quite young" (Chopin 17) it is not said how her mother died but it is mentioned that her father's dominating ways might have had something to do with it, "the Colonel was perhaps unaware that he had coerced his own wife into her grave" (Chopin 68). This could ...

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