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Glass Menagerie: Self Loathing In Gender Roles

2608 words - 11 pages

Glass Menagerie: Self-Loathing in Gender Roles
In the 1930s males were raised to be the provider for their families, and the head of the households. Females where raised to be housewife and caretaker for the house. In Tennessee Williams “The Glass Menagerie” gender plays a major role on how societies view females and males. Women in this time period obtained little power while men were the dominant ones. That made Amanda depend on her son Tom the sole provider for his family for their finically stability. Amanda’s high expectations of her son for the family security made it harder for Tom to live up to his dreams. In “The Glass Menagerie,” Tennessee Williams blatantly makes assumptions ...view middle of the document...

Many jobs were limited for most women, and women did not get the same pay as men did. “Other federal agencies paid women much less than men or gave preferences to male job seekers over female ones” (Boehm). Men are generally known for being in charge of a woman, and it became a direct threat to their manhood when he has to depend on his wife. Possibly most men feel inferior and less of a man when they cannot stand up to their responsibilities, and that result in family conflict and shame.
Since Laura had no job and dropped out of business college, her mother thought that marriage would be the best solution to her problem. Being that Laura is disabled marriage will help her with her disability and will also fulfill her mother’s emptiness of not having a husband around. Some women were more focused on getting married because they needed the stability of a man, just like Amanda which is the reasoning behind her living her life through her children. Tom is looked upon as being the man of the house. In addition it would portray Tom’s character as being too weak as a man if he decides not to take care of his family, because he is the only man in the family. Perhaps, if Laura had a husband or a job it would have been less responsibility for Tom, and he would have had more time to write his poetry. Amanda and Laura’s needs were all depending on Tom. He had to work at the warehouse despite putting his dreams on hold to provide for his family. In scene three Williams shows the differences in gender role by Tom and Amanda arguing.
TOM: House, house who pays rent on it, who makes a slave of himself to—
AMANDA: Don’t you DARE to—
TOM: What do you think I’m at? Aren’t I supposed to have any patience to reach the end of, Mother? I know, I know. It seems unimportant to you, what I’m doing-what I want to do-having a little difference between them! You think that—
AMANDA: What right have you got to jeopardize your job? Jeopardize the security of us all? How do you think we’d manage if you were—
TOM: Listen! You think I’m crazy about the warehouse! (He bends fiercely towards her slight figure.) You think I’m in love with the Continental Shoemakers? You think I want to spend fifty-five years down there in that— celotext interior! (373).
Through this argument that Tom and his mother had, the audience can see how selfish Amanda is toward her son; she does not care about Tom’s dreams. Him going to work to provide for the family is the most important. If Tom jeopardizes his job that means jeopardizing the family security, and that is the one thing that Amanda does not want. Tom’s dreams and his thirst for successes are all insignificant to Amanda. Things would not have been as bad for Tom if his father were present in their lives. He would not have to work at the warehouse to provide for his family, he would have focused more on his poetry, and if Laura was to help him with the family responsibility. Tom would still have the opportunity to...

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