The Glass Menagerie Feminist Analysis

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As one of the most famous postwar playwrights in America, Tennessee Williams has certainly left a profound influence to the audiences. The Glass Menagerie is also one of them. Interestingly, while reading this play, I sense a lingering shadow pf the patriarchal society in which women have to struggle to speak out for themselves.
There 're two female characters in the play: Amanda, the strong-willed, often dominant mother, and Laura, the submissive daughter. Because of the absence of the father, Amanda becomes the head of the family and gains the authority of controlling her children. However unfortunately, it doesn 't signifies that women gains power because she educates her children according to the patriarchal values, including that a woman
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She assigns different households for Tom and Laura and examines their behaviors based on the patriarchal values of what 's appropriate for them. She also shows great dependency towards male figure as reflected from the play in two aspects. Firstly, she emphasizes the traditional role of women being housewife only to Laura, because at that time, an urgency exists for women to "trap" a gentleman caller before certain ages but none for male. Secondly, she goes to Tom but Laura for decision-making, though Laura is older. Her quarrels with Tom about his future and her request for him to seek a settlement for Laura differs from her one-way conversation with Laura- she makes decision while Laura can only comply. Laura 's inferior nature might be part of the reason, but the fact that Tom being a male figure certainly contributes to the situation as he enjoys a higher position in the family.
Some might argue that Amanda has an occupation and she also tries to prepare a not-dependent future for Laura by sending her to business school, which she drops out very soon. However, taking into account that the father of this family is gone, it is reasonable for Amanda to take the role as a bread winner and support the family. As for her action of preparing Laura for a job, it is more like a "plan B" and stereotypes still exist as she pints out to Laura that it adds points for a young lady to occupy a position as a secretary in the society. The ultimate goal is still the same- to attract gentleman
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