Pretentious Mothers in Williams’ The Glass Menagerie and Amy Tans’ Two Kinds

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In the play The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams and the short story “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan, a theme of embattled control is established through the association with their children. William’s long-winded Amanda is an overpowering, delusional Southern belle mother. Dead set on finding her slightly handicapped daughter Laura a suitable husband, and dictating how her creative, yet bored, son Tom should conduct himself in life. Amanda, through her nagging and domineering instructions over everything each of her children do, from how they eat, to how they should live out their lives, pushes them into mental seclusion. The subsequent overbearing behavior by Amanda in due course drives Tom away leaving Laura in complete solitude with her mother. In a likewise manner, Tan depicts her character Suyuan as a very ambitious overconfident Chinese mother with visions of grandeur for her daughter Jing-Mei. Suyuan after being influenced by a television show decides that Jing-Mei is to become a child prodigy. Through strict educational instructions, she drives Jing-Mei to a point of contentious revolt. The consequences of Suyuan’s authoritarian treatment to make Jing-Mei a star result in an outburst, after a talent show, causing a deep rift of silence between the two that lasts for twenty years. The parental domineering nature of Amanda in The Glass Menagerie and Suyuan in “Two Kinds” ultimately fail to force any lasting influential direction on their children, compelling them to follow entirely contradictory paths than the ones preferred by their mothers, forcing their children into rebellion. Nonetheless both mothers wield strong authority over their children, and the motives behind their dictatorial control are directly rela... ... middle of paper ... ...ious physical and mental control over her daughter to become a child prodigy results in a belligerent resistance by Jing-mei. The confrontation between Suyuan and her daughter ultimately drives a rift between the two that lasts for many years. In summary Amanda and Laura would appear to have yielded similar disappointing results by their endeavors to control the destinies of the children. Works Cited Tan, Amy. "Two Kinds." Kirszner, Laurie G. and Stephen R. Mandell. Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing, Compact Seventh Edition. Ed. Karen Mauk. 7th. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Michael Rosenberg, 2009. 694-702. Williams, Tennessee. "The Glass Menagerie." Kirszner, Laurie G. and Stephen R. Mandell. Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing, Compact Seventh Edition. Ed. Karen Mauk. 7th. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Michael Rosenberg, 2009. 1628-1677.

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