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On the surface, both Laura and Amanda are almost constructed as opposites to one another. Yet, I think that Williams ends up creating them with significant similarities that help to bring out the sense of hopelessness and despair within which they live. One of their shared traits is that they are both trapped in settings that exist outside of their own control. Amanda is trapped by her past, one that saw her as more popular, more in control, and more of an active agent in her own sense of being in the world. She is now wrestling with fading looks, a lack of control, and a husband and soon son that has left or will leave her. Laura is trapped by her present, a condition that compels her to have to marry a gentlemen caller and one in which she must conform to something that is outside of her. Another similarity is that they are both misunderstood. There is a very good chance that Amanda really wishes to be a good mother, but has trouble conveying these emotions. Regardless, she will always be seen as dominating or oppressive. Laura is misunderstood in being anti social or being uniquely different from a world that does not fully understand nor care to understand her. In this, there is another similarity.
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