The Glass Menagerie

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The Glass Menagerie

How is one to distinguish between a good and a bad mother? What characteristics set apart a good mother from a bad one? Amanda's actions in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams were made clear from the beginning. First, she was an extremely domineering person. Especially when it came to her children, constantly putting them down and making them feel as if they were inferior and couldn't do anything right. Secondly, she would make her children’s' decisions for them, allowing them to decide little regarding their own future. Finally, by placing a large part of her responsibilities on Tom demonstrates to the reader that Amanda is irresponsible. Despite any views people may have on it being difficult to differentiate the actions of a bad mother from those of a good mother, it was made obvious that Amanda was a selfish mother, putting her needs ahead of her children's. Amanda ultimately cared for herself more than her children Domineering is one of Amanda's strongest characteristics. She notices her children's weaknesses rather than their strong points, demonstrating this quality. She would constantly downplay her children about what they had become. "Sounds to me like a fairly responsible job you would be in if you just had more get-up." (Act 1, Scene V, pg. 54.) Amanda could never show any recognition for what her children had achieved. After Laura had dropped out of business school, Amanda was very pessimistic about her future, and was sure she would become an "old maid."  Amanda did not even think of the possibility that Laura could be successful on her own, she failed to recognize that maybe both Laura and Tom would be happy and successful if they were only given the change to chose what they wanted to do for themselves, rather than their mother always making their decisions for them. It would definitely be difficult, and likely hopeless if someone was not doing something by choice, but was always coerced into doing it....
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