The Characters of For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls Essay

The Characters of For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls Essay

Length: 1235 words (3.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Characters of For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls  


   For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls is Christopher Durang's hilarious 1994 parody of The Glass Menagerie, a 1945 play by Tennessee Williams. In both plays, the main characters must deal with several serious problems, including isolation, fear of the outside world, and the need for understanding. Whereas the characters in The Glass Menagerie handle their problems in a relatively serious manner, those in For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls take a more farcical approach. For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls offers an alternate view of the situations in The Glass Menagerie, and it comments on how the American society has changed since the 1940s. Durang's parody accomplishes its humor by developing extreme versions of the characters in The Glass Menagerie through magnification of their faults and idiosyncrasies: Laura's shyness toward the world, Amanda's lack of understanding for her children, Tom's anger with his family, and Jim's partial deafness (however minor in Williams' play).

It is more difficult to sympathize with Lawrence in For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls than with Laura in The Glass Menagerie because he is so much more irritating and pathetic than his female counterpart. Laura is a young woman who suffers from extreme shyness and self-consciousness because she has a slightly malformed leg and needs to wear a leg brace; consequently, she is afraid to talk to new people and enter new situations. Laura's psychological problems are amplified in Lawrence, who fakes several ailments, including asthma, eczema, and a crippled leg. He never leaves the safety of his house, and his only friends are his glass swizzle sticks, which he gives such names as "Q-tip" (1942), "Ther...


... middle of paper ...


...children's; in addition, Durang adds two homosexual characters: Tom and Ginny. This is evidence that For Whom the Belle Tolls does more than just provide a humorous approach to the situations in The Glass Menagerie: it shows how the American society and family have changed since Williams wrote his play. According to Durang, people have become more open with their personal feelings and sexuality, but they have also become more self-centered. Works Cited Durang, Christopher. For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls. Literature and Its Writers: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Eds. Ann Charters and Samuel Charters. Boston: Bedford Books, 1997. 1937-1948. Williams, Tennessee. "The Glass Menagerie." Literature and Its Writers: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Eds. Ann Charters and Samuel Charters. Boston: Bedford Books, 1997. 1704-1750.

 

 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Characters of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire Essay

- The Characters of A Streetcar Named Desire             Tennessee Williams was one of the greatest American dramatists of the 20th century. Most of his plays take us to the southern states and show a confused society. In his works he exposes the degeneration of human feelings and relationships. His heroes suffer from broken families and they do not find their place in the society. They tend to be lonely and afraid of much that surrounds them. Among the major themes of his plays are racism, sexism, homophobia and realistic settings filled with loneliness and pain.1 Tennessee Williams characters showed us extremes of human brutality and sexual behavior.2  One of his most popular dramas was...   [tags: A Streetcar Named Desire Essays]

Free Essays
1233 words (3.5 pages)

The Glass Menagerie By Tennessee Williams And For Whom The Southern Belle Tools

- he play’s “The Glass Menagerie” written by Tennessee Williams and “For Whom the Southern Belle Tools” by Christopher Durang are both similar, but also have their difference. In fact in my opinion they are laughable towards each other and make a great parody. They are complete opposites but really they are completely the same. Durang 's play is more modern in today 's society, however; neither one of them is like society in reality. Williams play is about the daughter Laura who talks about how cripple she is and why no man would ever want her....   [tags: The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams]

Strong Essays
1001 words (2.9 pages)

Tenessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie Essay

- TThis essay will discuss the metaphors associated with the characters in The Glass Menagerie and how each of these metaphors represents a fragment of the American Dream. She is like a piece of her glass collection, too fragile to be brought into the real world without being devastated. Because of her sensibility, she has avoided dealing with people for so long that when she finally tries to socialise with Jim, she fails to see that she is being manipulated. Amanda is a faded Southern belle who is trying to relive her past by using her daughter to mirror her former self....   [tags: metaphors associated with the characters]

Strong Essays
1967 words (5.6 pages)

The Portrayal Of The Southern Belle Essay

- Julie the “Jezebel” – The Portrayal of the Southern Belle in Jezebel (1938) The 1938 film Jezebel features a strong female lead, Julie Marsden, played by an already established and equally looked up to star, Bette Davis. The film is based in the Southern Antebellum era, specifically New Orleans in 1852, and was also produced in the late 1930s during the end of the Great Depression. Both of these periods influence various parts of the film, from its historical context to how characters are depicted....   [tags: Great Depression, 1930s, Sociology, Woman]

Strong Essays
1313 words (3.8 pages)

'A Study on the Social Causes of Insanity' How Appropriate Do You Find this Statement as a Comment on Streetcar Named Desire and Regeneration?

- ... Tennessee Williams’ ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ is set in the ‘Roaring Twenties’ when America was going through a great deal of change in the order of society. The three main characters; Blanche DuBois, Stella Kowalski and Stanley Kowalski jostle claustrophobically in a small apartment, set in Elysian Fields in New Orleans, Elysian Fields is an ironic name as it evokes the sense that the apartment is heaven, when in reality it is very much the opposite. Stella and Blanche are sisters, but during the course of the play, we notice very clearly that Blanche is stuck in the in the Old World of plantations and inequality, with very large social divides....   [tags: film analysis, social pressures on characters]

Strong Essays
1628 words (4.7 pages)

Themes and Characters in For Whom the Bell Tolls Essay

- Themes and Characters in For Whom the Bell Tolls For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway, is a contemporary novel about the realities of war. The novel is wrought with themes of life and stark direct writing. The characterization in the story is what comprises the intricacy of the underlying themes within the tale. The story itself is not complex, but the relationships of the characters with the environment and with each other coupled with Hemingway's command of description and understanding make the novel as a whole, increasingly developed....   [tags: For Whom the Bell Tolls Essays]

Strong Essays
884 words (2.5 pages)

Changes in For Whom The Bell Tolls Essay

- Changes in For Whom The Bell Tolls The novel For Whom The Bell Tolls was primarily about Hemingway's changes through wartime. Hemingway reveals these ideas about war through the narrator's thoughts and through the interaction between the major characters. Hemingway shows that war brings about a personal change, that reveals much about man's individuality and that time is limited. Hemingway reveals much about the individuality of men and the singularity of the code through the relationship of Robert Jordan and Maria....   [tags: For Whom the Bell Tolls Essays]

Strong Essays
1115 words (3.2 pages)

Anton Chekhov’s Misery: To Whom Shall I Tell My Grief? Essay

- In Anton Chekhov’s, “’Misery: “To Whom Shall I Tell My Grief?”’, he tells the story of Iona Potapov, a sledge-driver in nineteenth century Russia. The character has lost his son; to an untimely death and he is having a difficult time coping with his lost. He is an elderly, nineteenth century cab driver and his wish is to find someone he can share his terrible grief with, by only sharing his sons’ life. Chekhov portrays the main character as lonely, dazed, confused, and as a man who needs someone to confide in; which all humans want and need during such hardships....   [tags: Misery: To Whom Shall I Tell My Grief?]

Strong Essays
886 words (2.5 pages)

Essay on Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls

- In Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, the recurring images of the horse and the airplane illustrate one of the major themes of the novel. The novel's predominant theme is the disintegration of the chivalric order of the Old Spanish World, as it is being replaced by the newer technology and ideology of the modern world. As a consummate artist, Hemingway, in a manner illustrating the gothic quality of his work, allows the bigger themes of For Whom the Bell Tolls to be echoed in the smaller units....   [tags: For Whom the Bell Tolls]

Strong Essays
1676 words (4.8 pages)

Biography of Myra Belle Starr Essay

- Biography of Myra Belle Starr Myra Belle Starr was born in 1848 in the little town of Carthage, Missouri. Myra Belle Shirley later became Belle Starr. She was also one of the three children. When Belle Starr’s older brother died her family moved right outside of Dallas to a little town known as Scyene, Texas. Years later on the 1860’s Belle became involved with a bank robber Cole Younger; he robbed several banks and was hiding from the law. Cole stayed with Belle for a few months until the coast was clear....   [tags: Myra Belle Starr Biographies Essays]

Free Essays
409 words (1.2 pages)