LiteratureIntroductionLiterature is full of characters who go through mental torture at the hands of an individual or at the hands of the society. As a result, they become "neurotic." Some of these characters are those that have stood by the test of time and are remembered even today by readers who are "normal." This essay would explore the reasons - both personal and societal - that lead to the creation of such characters. It would do so by meaning the neurotic protagonists of The Glass Menagerie, The Yellow Wallpaper and A Rose for Emily.
The Glass MenagerieThe story is about Amanda Wingfield who is a middle-aged woman and an incurable romantic. Abandoned by her spouse and obligated to live in lifeless lower-middle-class environment, she runs away from reality into the fantasy world of her youth. Amanda is the neurotic mother incapable of letting go of the genteel courting ways of her Southern upbringing. She loves her children intensely, however, by her continuous nagging, her never-ending retelling of romantic stories of her youth, and her failure to face the realities of life she stifles her daughter, Laura, and drive off her son, Tom. (McGlinn 511)In the very first scene, she annoys Tom by constantly telling him how to eat who says: "I haven't enjoyed one bite of this dinner because of your constant directions on how to eat it." (Williams 4) On the very dinner table she goes on to tell her children the stories of her girlhood which the readers are told have been told by her a number of time already. "My callers were gentlemen - all! Among my callers were some of the most prominent young planters of the Mississippi Delta - planters and sons of planters!" (Williams 5-6)The Glass Menagerie is said to be an autobiographical work by Tennessee Williams. According to the author, it is a "memory play." In the story are delineated many personal and societal problems, for instance, the difficulties faced by single mothers and the intricacies a disability might create for a family.
The play concludes on a gloomy note, for the Gentleman Caller is already affianced, so Amanda's wishes for a husband for Laura are shattered. Tom runs off to join the merchant marine navy but is not able to run away the memory of his sister. The burden of the past stays with Tom no matter where he does. This directly relates to the author's life as Williams' sister Rose and her mental problems were a constant, painful memory for the author.
Williams' play relates to all readers as it is an archetypical example of a markedly American combination of themes: the breakdown of the American family because of the inborn sense of escapade and discovery in the American soul. Rising above its Southern ambience, the play speaks of each family's struggle between generations.
The Yellow Wallpaper"The Yellow Wallpaper" is an autobiographical novel by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in which she depicts the negative effects of the treatment of women during a rest cure recommended for nervous disorders by Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell, who was a well-known physician. The story portrays the passive, childlike submission of women to men authority figures that was believed typical in early twentieth century.
In the story, the imbalanced relationship between the narrator and John is a microcosm of the larger gender inequality in society. Gilman makes it obvious that a great deal of John's patronizing and fatherly attitude toward his wife does not have much to do with her illness. He takes no notice of her well-thought-out opinions, at the same time as he demeans her creative impulse. He speaks to her as he would to a kid, calling her his "little girl" (Gilman 10) and saying of her, "Bless her little heart." (Gilman 10) He dominates her opinions on the best course of treatment for herself as he would on every matter, making her live at a place she does not like, in a room she dislikes intensely, and in an secluded setting which makes her sad and lonesome. John's...
Cited: illiams, Tennessee; Blakesley, Maureen. The Glass Menagerie. Heinemann, 1996.
McGlinn, Jeanne M. Tennessee Williams Women: Illusion and Reality, sexuality and Love." Tennessee Williams: A Tribute. Ed. Jac Tharpe. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 1977. 510-24.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper. Orchises Press, 1990.
Benstock, Shari. Feminist issues in literary scholarship. Indiana University Press, 1987.
Goodman, Lizbeth. Literature and gender. Routledge, 1996.
Faulkner, William; Robinette, Joseph. A Rose for Emily. Dramatic Publishing, 1983.
Dilworth, Thomas. A Romance to Kill for: Homicidal Complicity in Faulkner 's 'A Rose for Emily. ' Studies in Short Fiction, Summer99, Vol. 36 Issue 3
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