Tennessee Williams

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Tennessee Williams Writing Style

What is Tennessee Williams' literary style?

I need to compare Williams to Eugene O’Neill.

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Domenick Franecki eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Tennessee Williams used a lyrical writing style that incorporated elements of the Southern Gothic style. The Southern Gothic style often involves making archetypes of southern literature such as the chivalrous hero or the beautiful damsel flawed or grotesque in nature.

For example, in The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire, Williams uses the archetype of the southern belle but subverts this archetype by giving the women in his play grotesque or flawed qualities. The mother in The Glass Menagerie,  Amanda Wingfield, presents herself as a southern belle and would like her daughter, Laura, to find the perfect husband. However, Amanda's life in no way resembles a fairytale. Her husband has long ago left her, and she lives in straightened circumstances. Her daughter, Laura, is not a charming belle but a mentally unstable, isolated woman who has a limp. Amanda tells her daughter in the first scene, "No, sister, no, sister--you be the lady this time, and I'll be the darky." Amanda...

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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