Comparing and Contrasting the Characters of Amanda and Laura from the Glass Menagerie

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Discuss the ways in which Tennessee Williams contrasts the characters of Amanda and Laura in the opening scenes of “The Glass Menagerie”

To begin with, much of the characters in ‘The Glass Menagerie’ are, to some extent, based on Tennessee Williams’ family itself. One can argue that the play is in some way a mirror of Williams’ family, what this means is that he was able to create characters which seem realistic, with proper personalities and feelings. Amanda and Laura are the only female characters in the play, mother and daughter, they are complete opposites. Amanda is an egocentric, middle aged woman who treats her grown children as if they were toddlers as well as wanting to live her life through her crippled daughter, Laura. Laura is physically and emotionally crippled, she is a young woman who is shy and extremely insecure. Both are contrasting characters yet one similarity between both, is the fact that both want to live in the past, Amanda always reminiscing about her life in Blue Mountain and her gentlemen callers, and Laura, clinging to her childhood glass collection not wanting to live in the present. To contrast both characters, Williams uses different devices such as their relationship with each other and other people, clothing, actions and language. These devices help distinguish both characters. Already in the opening scene, Williams presents us the character of Amanda. Within only a few moments after seeing her for the first time, the audience is painted a clear picture of her personality. Through her language we see how demanding she is, “don’t push with your fingers”; we see how she treats her adult son, Tom, as if he were a child. She speaks with a very aggressive tone towards Tom, constantly giving orders such as; “We can’t say grace until you come to the table!”, this shows how demanding Amanda is of her children. Amanda is constantly pushing the idea of gentlemen callers onto Laura therefore making Laura feel submissive and...
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