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'Amanda is selfish and heartless' How far do you agree with this statement in the light of your reading so far.

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Introduction

'Amanda is selfish and heartless' How far do you agree with this statement in the light of your reading so far. Once a Southern belle who claims she was the darling of her small town's social scene, Amanda Wingfield is now an abandoned wife and single mother living in a small apartment in St. Louis. She dreams of her past and of her daughter's future, but seems unwilling to recognize certain harsh realities of the present. She is a loving mother, but her demands can make life difficult for Laura and unbearable for Tom. The first scene opens with the obviously strained relationship between Amanda and her son Tom. She is overbearing and tedious, 'Honey, don't push with your fingers.' There is nothing selfish or heartless in her first speech where she demands Tom chew his food properly, though this attachment inevitably leads to many bitter arguments. Though in this scene how Tom chews his food seems no big deal it represents how Amanda selfishly controls her children's lives, her major weakness is she can't let them live their own lives because of her fear of Tom becoming a drunk, leaving home and not being around to support his family. ...read more.

Middle

So instead of being a proper parent and giving encouragement to her children to accomplish great things she keeps referring to her past to make herself feel better and needing her children's compliments to satisfy her ego. Amanda's heartlessness is demonstrated vividly in scene two, 'she draws a long breath and takes out the handkerchief again.' Her melodramatic and over-dramatisation of everything that she does leaves Laura shaking and afraid of her own mother. This demonstrates how Amanda has selfishly made herself unapproachable to her own children, the wide gulf between mother and daughter makes the audience realise that Laura's lack of confidence and total lack of social skills are because Amanda is too wrapped up in her own world to be a proper mother. Amanda has not given her crippled daughter the extra love and support that she would need to go out and face the world; a girl in Laura's position would need to be nurtured carefully and prepared for all the hardships life would inevitably throw at her; Amanda has done none of these things for Laura; 'we won't have a business career- we've given that up because it gave us nervous indigestion! ...read more.

Conclusion

Amanda is constantly reminiscing about the past and especially about her long-gone husband. This constant reminder about the father that left them and never looked back is both selfish and heartless. 'Amanda's hair is in metal curlers and she wears a very old bathrobe, much too large for her slight figure, a relic of the faithless Mr Wingfield.' Memories of their father only set the children back further; though Amanda herself can't move on she is selfishly not letting them move on either; keeping them with her in her illusion of the past makes Laura retreat further into her own world and makes Tom long for freedom even more. Amanda does not mean to be heartless but her selfishness is what brings about the heartlessness. This selfish controlling is shown in her deal with Tom; 'I mean that as soon as Laura has got somebody to take care of her, married, a home of her own, independent - why, then you'll be free to go wherever you please, but until that time you've got to look out for your sister.' This impossible ultimatum proves that the selfish and heartless Amanda does not want her own daughter to be her problem; she is effectively as bad or even worse than their father. ...read more.

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