Comparing Glass Menagerie and Streetcar Named Desire
Tennessee Williams is one of the greatest American playwrights. He was constantly shocking audiences with themes such as homosexuality, drug addictions, and rape. He broke free from taboos on such subjects, paving the way for future playwrights.
Williams wrote about his life. The Glass Menagerie is a very autobiographical play. A Streetcar Named Desire, although meant to a play that anyone can relate to, also contained characters and situations from his life. In both plays, the characters are drawn from his life. This essay will discuss is the similarities between The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire, which have similar characters and themes throughout them.
A Streetcar Named Desire takes place in New Orleans. The characters are Blanche Dubois, Stanley Kowalski, Stella Kowalski (Blanche’s sister, Stanley’s wife), and Mitch, a friend of Stanley’s. The play focuses on Blanche and how she falls deeper and deeper into her delusional state, until, finally at the end, a doctor and a nurse take her away.
The Glass Menagerie takes place in St. Louis. The play features the Wingfields. Amanda is the mother and her two children are Tom and Laura. A gentleman caller named Jim O’Connor comes in at the end of the play. This play is basically about Tom’s memories of the last bit of time he was with his family, before leaving them as his father did. Since the play takes place in the memory, it is dark and some things are very exaggerated. Laura is a cripple who is lost in her own world, with no hope of ever finding someone to love her. Amanda is also living in her own world, one where she is still a southern beauty. She feels that if Laura doesn’t marry soon, then they will be left to rot for the rest of their lives. Tom works at a factory and can’t stand his mother. In the end, he leaves them to join the Merchant Marines. However he is always haunted by feelings of guilt from leaving his sister.
A theme that is consistent throughout both of these plays is the fact that there are two women, both southern, who are pretending to be in a world where they are still graceful, still beautiful. Both of these women are very strong characters. A Streetcar Named Desire is entirely focused on Blanche and her delusions. Towards the end of The Glass Menagerie, Amanda reverts back to being the most popular girl in Blue Mountain. She is also assuming that the gentleman caller will take on look at Laura and want to marry her, thus securing Amanda and Laura’s future. Both of these women characters are very strong. Since Williams’ sister Rose and mother were the only women with whom he had a deep relationship with, his female characters tend to take on their qualities. Williams was homosexual, so he didn’t spend much time with women. In The Glass Menagerie, the two female characters where obviously his mother and his sister. At the end of the play, Tom feels guilty about...