From Foucault's viewpoint, how can you elaborate on the discourse of social class in Glass Menagerie?  Please provide me with examples.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that Foucault would have some interesting insights on the characters in Williams' work.  In my mind, I think that he would seize on Laura and how she is treated by Amanda in the play.  Amanda seems to be the one who is able to "judge" her because of her own belief that she knows what will constitute success in the modern setting.  This conception of success takes on professional and sexual forms, evidenced in enrolling Laura in typing school and constantly reminding her of the "gentlemen callers" Amanda had when she was her age.  The fact that Amanda is able to assess and judge Laura is a reflection of power constructions.  Consider what Mall reflected on some of the most essential elements of Foucault's thoughts, in "... the ways in which the social order classifies, manipulates, and isolates certain elements of itself: madness, illness, criminality, sexuality, etc."  The fact that Amanda either believes or puts off the image of being the font of classification would be extremely interesting to Foucault and his conception of power.  Along these lines, Foucault might also argue that Laura's method of dealing with reality is a way to exercise her own conception of power in a situation where Amanda has done much to wrestle away the power dynamic.   Consider Laing's thoughts on Foucault's views on the dynamic of sanity and insanity here:  "The madness of Europe is revealed not in the persons of the madmen of Europe, but in the actions of the self-validated sane ones, who wrote the books, sanctified, and authorised by State, Church, and the representatives of bourgeois morality."  This is a very good way to explain how the dynamic that exists between Laura and Amanda.  The latter continues to see the latter in this light, and Williams explores both characters to fully evoke this Foucault- like reality.

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The Glass Menagerie

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