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Glass Menagerie1

In an interview , Tennessee Williams once said, “I have always been more interested in creating a character that contains something crippled... They have a certainappearance of fragility, these neurotic people I writeabout, but they are really strong.” In Tennessee Williams’The Glass Menagerie, the strengths and weaknesses of thecharacters in the play is a subject that cannot beoverlooked by the reader. There have been several criticswho have raised interesting points concerning this subject.Critic Judith J. Thompson takes the stance thatAmanda’s “embodiment of ‘The Great Mother’” is blinded byher weakness of an unrealistic world (p. 17). She statesthat Amanda’s character is made up of “the Good Mother, theTerrible Mother, the seductive young witch, and the innocentvirgin” (Thompson 17). She supports her theory with theincident in which Amanda says that she had seventeengentlemen callers in one day. Thompson goes on to say thatthe “exaggeration of the number of Amanda’s beaux recallsfairy tale and legends of romance in which the princess isbeleaguered by suitors until the ideal knight or princereturns” (17). Here, Thompson shows that Amanda’s weaknessis living in a sort of dream world which overwhelms herintentions of being a “Great Mother” (Thompson 17).A second critic, Joseph K. Davis, takes the stance thatLaura’s weakness overpowers her ability to be sensitive. Davis divides the dramatic pattern of The Glass Menagerieinto two parts. Part of the pattern is “the dramatizationof men and women by a display of their fragmented, torturedpsychologies” (Davis 192). He states in his analysis of TheGlass Menagerie: “His [Tom’s] sister Laura tries to live inthe present, but her crippled body and grim prospects in thesecretarial school overcame her fragile sensibilities”(194). Davis implies that,...

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