Oedipus and the glass menagerie essays

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Homework for me One-stop solution for students in need of homework help. Order now Get a Quote. Why choose our homework help? Because we know exactly what matters most to you. The stage is dim, but shafts of light illuminate selected areas or characters. Lighting often serves to keep Laura as the center of attention even when this is not apparent from the action in the scene. For example, as Williams himself points out in the production notes, in the quarrel between Tom and Amanda scene 3 , a scene that does not directly involve Laura, the light shines on her nonetheless.

So too in the supper scene, when Laura lies on the sofa, taking no part in the conversation, the light is still focused on her. What does The Glass Menagerie reveal about the lives of women during this time period? The world depicted in the play is one in which men can shape their lives as they choose, even if it means behaving irresponsibly, while women must accept a circumscribed and dependent position.

Extract of sample "The Glass Menagerie or Oedipus Rex"

For a woman such as Amanda, deserted by her husband sixteen years ago, the economic situation is precarious. Amanda depends on her son to pay the rent and the other bills for their apartment. When she wants to bring in some income, she is reduced to selling magazine subscriptions from her own home. Laura's position shows even more clearly the limited opportunities open to women during this time period. Although she does have the chance to attend a business college, what she learns there is shorthand and typing, which would be sufficient to get her a job as a secretary to a male executive but no more.

When she drops out of college, her prospects are even worse. All she can hope for is to snare a man who will support her, and for that she must develop her feminine wiles. According to Amanda, all women should be a trap for men "and men expect them to be," she says. But the reality is that men are not trapped by women, since they are able to escape any situation that is not of their liking, with little consequence.

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The prime example of this is the father, Amanda's husband, who left his job with the telephone company and deserted his family. Interestingly, Amanda, far from despising him, seems to retain much affection for him, since she displays his over-sized portrait prominently on the mantel and points it out to Jim with some pride. If she feels any anger toward her husband, she does not show it. She lives in a world where it seems accepted that men will behave in this way, and there is little women can do about it.

Tom follows in his father's footsteps. He is prepared to be ruthless in planning his escape, paying his union dues with the money that should have paid the electricity bill. He has a freedom that Amanda and Laura can never have, simply because he is a man. The world depicted in the play, of strictly segregated roles for men and women, typifies pre-World War II America.

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams summary and explanation

After the war, as more women remained in the workforce, roles and expectations based on gender gradually began to change. By the s, the world depicted in The Glass Menagerie was rapidly becoming out of date. What role does religious symbolism play in The Glass Menagerie? Religious symbols and allusions hover in the background of the play and contribute to its meaning.

Glass Menagerie, Death Of A Salesman, Oedipus Rex Theme :: Compare Contrast Literature Theme

Amanda regards herself as a Christian. When she sympathizes with the women she talks to about her subscription drive, she calls them "Christian martyrs," which may give a clue to how Amanda sees herself. Laura tells her that when she is disappointed she gets that "awful suffering look on [her] face, like the picture of Jesus' mother in the museum.

Scene 5, in which Tom breaks the news that Jim is coming for dinner, begins with the legend "Annunciation," a term which refers to the message brought by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary. The person to be redeemed is of course Laura. She is also described in religious terms. According to Williams's production notes, the light that shines on her during the play should have "a peculiar pristine clarity, such as light used in the early religious portraits of female saints and madonnas. When he and Laura are alone together he offers her not the wine and bread of the holy sacraments, but wine and chewing gum.

And he preaches only a secular gospel of self-help rather than salvation through divine grace. Whereas Christ the savior is presented in Christian scriptures as the light of the world, in The Glass Menagerie, the lights are always going out.

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When it transpires that Jim is unavailable for Laura, the "holy candles in the altar of Laura's face have been snuffed out. Tom's final speech ends with candles being blown out. The only light now in the world is that of lightning, not the divine light.

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