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The Glass Menagerie. How does Amanda's Southern Background affect her present life and her relationship with her children?

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Introduction

The Glass Menagerie. How does Amanda's Southern Background affect her present life and her relationship with her children? In the play 'The Glass Menagerie' written by Tenessee Williams there are four characters that appear onstage. Amanda a single mother of two children Tom and Laura and A gentleman caller called Jim O'Conner. I will firstly look at how Amanda's traditional Southern background affects her present life. You first get the impression that Amanda is a traditionalist of the Deep South of America when she refers to Laura as sister 'No sister, no sister - you be the lady this time and I'll be the darkey'. This was a common word traditionally for females to call each other and was popular in the very South of America. Another cultural difference shown in the quotation is the term 'darkey'. This was one of the common slang words used by Southerners refering to their black servants. 'Gentleman Caller' is another Southern term used by Amanda throughout the play. It was a phrased used for a courting man visiting an unmarried woman. In the play Amanda often boasts about how many gentleman callers she recieved. Amanda also refers to herself as a Southern Belle. This was the old fashioned term for the higher class woman in the South of America. She is also a member of D.A.R. ...read more.

Middle

At the beginning of the play Tom says, This play is memory. Being a memory play it is dimly lighted, it is sentimental, it is not realistic' The legend on screen does a great deal to enhance the fact that the play is not realistic. It creates a sense of memory, because a lot of the images on screen are linked with the past. The legend on screen is used more often than images because it can tell the audience more than an image can. Amanda uses her past as an escape from reality. This is an appeal to the audience as it shows that she has a way of coping with difficult situations, and that is her way of escaping from her present life. Amanda's language is that of an educated Southener. She often shouts and asks questions that she doesn't expect to be answered. A clear example of this would be in scene six where all the characters are at the dining table. 'What is that? Rain? A nice cool rain has come up!' This frequent and slightly annoying use of raising her voice has developed from her Southern upbringing. Amanda's relationship with her children has suffered because of her Southern upbringing. Her relationship with them is not normal. She thinks of her daughter Laura as she was when she was that age, ignoring Laura's real needs. ...read more.

Conclusion

Amanda acts upon her moral judgement once again when she takes one of Tom's books back to the library in scene 4. 'I took that horrible novel back to the library - yes! That hideous book by the insane Mr Lawrence. I cannot control the output of diseased minds or people who cater for them. But I won't allow such filth brought into my house! No, no, no, no, no!' By selfishly trying to force her own traditional morals upon her children she has actually made Tom detest them and turned the already shy Laura into somebody with no self confidence. So Tom does not take anything his mother says seriously and adds to the reasons he wants to leave. Tennesse Williams appeals to the audience in a variety of ways, the most promenant being the sense of escapism. Amanda, Tom and Laura all have their own seperate ways of escaping. Amanda escapes to her past - her Southern background to escape from her current poverty and re-lives better times. Tom escapes from the reality of life in the appartment in a very different way. He regulary goes and watches movies. Laura on the otherhand rarely leaves the appartment and her only means of escaping from reality is listening to her victrola and polishing her glass menagerie. Amanda's relationship with her children is troubled and lacks understanding due to her livivng in the past. This results in a disjointed and unharmonious lifestyle in the apartment. This results in the inevitable departure of Tom. ...read more.

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