The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

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In What Ways is Amanda an Unlikely Heroine?

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Of the various characters in the play, Amanda Wingfield seems to inspire the least respect or sympathy. A silly woman who lives in the past and glories in her romantic memories of Blue Mountain and her days as a Southern belle, Amanda torments her grown children with her impossible expectations and nagging. She seems oblivious to Tom’s and Laura’s feelings, and she refuses to listen when they attempt to express them. For Tom and Laura, life in the Wingfields’ shabby St. Louis apartment is often made unbearable by the force of Amanda’s personality and her unrelenting demands.

Despite Amanda’s silliness and overbearing behavior, however, she should not be dismissed as the villainess of the play. There are traits in Amanda’s character that make her more than a caricature of obstinacy and ignorance. Understanding the emotions that motivate Amanda make it possible to see that she, too,...

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