11 April 2013
Amanda Wingfield: A Woman of the Past
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams is a play about a family filled with characters who view time and their lives very differently. Tom lives his life very much in the present while his sister Laura lives her life barely at all. Then, there is their mother Amanda. Amanda almost lives her life I denial, not as much as Laura though of course. She perceives time in a unique way by never actually living in the moment that she is currently in. Amanda is an interesting character in the way that she has a skewed memory of her past and compares too much of her past to the present, attempts to live in the present through her children, and constantly thinks about her children’s future instead of her own. The leading factor of Amanda’s personality is her inability to begin living in the present as opposed to her supposedly glamorous past. As literary critic Sam Bluefarb very accurately described it, “Although she quite literally inhibits the present, she is incapable of inhibiting that present other than in terms of the past” (Bluefarb). Bluefarb furthers the argument that she has a very difficult time with bringing herself to the idea that she cannot bring herself to believe that the past is actually gone. The most obvious example of this is one of the very first impressions the audience gets of Amanda Wingfield. Amanda brags to her children about her many “gentlemen callers,” when her children have clearly heard the story numerous times. Individuals are left to decide if he or she actually believes that Amanda truly had seventeen gentlemen callers. This leads to the next idea that Amanda’s memory of the past may as well be very skewed and twisted as the present came to be. Critics point out the father and husband in the Wingfield family as another skewed perception of Amanda’s past. When describing her gentlemen callers, Amanda claims that all of them were very successful...
Cited: Barnet, Sylvan, William Burto, and William E. Cain. "The Glass Menagerie." An Introduction to Literature: Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Boston: Longman, 2011. 855-901. Print.
Bluefarb, Sam. “The Glass Menagerie: Three Visions of Time.” College English , Vol. 24, No. 7 (Apr., 1963), pp. 513-518. JSTOR. Web. 2 April 2013
Zeineddine, Nada. "Problems of Identity, as Experienced by the Producer, in Four Plays by Tennessee Williams." Because It Is My Name. N.p.: Merlin, 1991. 90-154. Literary Criticism Online. Web. 2 April 2013.
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