The Portrayal of Women in the Work of Tennessee Williams

analytical Essay
2373 words
2373 words

Portrayal of Women in The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Orpheus Descending, Suddenly Last Summer, and Period of Adjustment

Tennessee Williams has become one of the most well known literary figures in modern America. His plays are often controversial because of his preoccupation with sex and violence and his fearlessness to probe the dark areas of human life. Williams's earlier work often inspired his later plays and basic character types often reappear throughout each of his plays. A reoccurring theme in each of his plays is the role of the female. The women featured in the plays of Tennessee Williams all suffer from physical or emotional mutilation and seek fulfillment from a mate.

An influential factor in Tennessee Williams's writing was his own personal experience. The Glass Menagerie is a play that originated in the memory of the author. Williams drew heavily on his own family experiences, describing the lives of his mother, sister, and himself. Many aspects of the play resemble some of Williams's past experiences during childhood. The apartment that Amanda, Laura, and Tom Wingfield share is in the middle of the city, and it is among many dark alleys with fire escapes. Tom and Laura do not like the dark atmosphere of their living conditions, and their mother tries to make it as pleasant as possible. This apartment is almost a mirror image of one of the apartments that the Williams family lived in St. Louis, Missouri (American Writers IV). Amanda Wingfield is a typical Southern belle who fantasizes about her seventeen gentlemen callers back in Blue Mountain. She regularly attends meetings of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), which are important outlets for her social...

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...w not having a mate as being a disgrace and a failure. The life experiences of each of Williams's female characters is unique. However, what the characters have in common is an emotional or physical mutilation that they seek to fulfill by finding a suitable mate.

Works Cited

Falk, Signi. "Tennessee Williams". New York: Twayne Publishers, 1961.

Griffin, Alice. "Understanding Tennessee Williams". University of South Carolina Press; Reprint edition. February 28, 2011.

Pagan, N. "Rethinking Literary Biography: A Postmodern Approach to Tennessee Williams" Rutherford [N.J.]: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. 1993

Tharpe, Jac, ed. "Tennessee Williams: A Tribute". Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 1980.

"Williams, Tennessee." American Writers. Volume IV 1985. Web. 27 May 2015.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how tennessee williams drew heavily on his own family experiences, describing the lives of his mother, sister, and himself. amanda wingfield's apartment is in the middle of the city and is among many dark alleys with fire escapes.
  • Analyzes how laura wingfield collects tiny glass animals, and is dropped from business school, like williams' sister rose. edwina and amanda were responsible for jim o'connor's visits to their apartments.
  • Analyzes how tennessee williams first achieved widespread recognition for the glass menagerie and its portraits of the southern gentlewomen: amanda wingfield and her daughter laura.
  • Analyzes how blanche du bois enters the vieux carre section of new orleans to visit her sister stella, the wife of a polish-american mechanic, stanley kowalski.
  • Analyzes how blanche, who flirts indecently with stanley, acts proper and innocent with mitch, and confesses everything about her past to him as a refuge from the outside world.
  • Analyzes how serafina della rose in the rose tattoo, margaret pollitt in cat on a hot tin roof, and maxine faulk in the night of the iguana belong to this group of women.
  • Analyzes how maggie the cat, a mid-twentieth-century modern woman without inhibitions, is discarded by her husband for speaking out against the falsehood that seems to have made his life tolerable.
  • Analyzes how williams stereotyped his female characters into four major groups: maladjusted, subordinate, fatalistic, and resolute.
  • Analyzes how frustration is the uniting characteristic of all of tennessee williams's female characters, and the dependency of them on men.
  • Analyzes how tennessee williams' plays are controversial because of his preoccupation with sex and violence and his fearlessness to probe the dark areas of human life.
  • Explains that griffin, alice, and pagan, n., "understanding tennessee williams". university of south carolina press.
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