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Essay Comparing Glass Menagerie and Streetcar Named Desire

Comparing Glass Menagerie and Streetcar Named Desire

Tennessee Williams is one of the greatest American playwrights. He was constantly shocking audiences with themes such as homosexuality, drug addictions, and rape. He broke free from taboos on such subjects, paving the way for future playwrights.

Williams wrote about his life. The Glass Menagerie is a very autobiographical play. A Streetcar Named Desire, although meant to a play that anyone can relate to, also contained characters and situations from his life. In both plays, the characters are drawn from his life. This essay will discuss is the similarities between The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire, which have similar characters and themes throughout them.

A Streetcar Named Desire takes place in New Orleans. The characters are Blanche Dubois, Stanley Kowalski, Stella Kowalski (Blanche’s sister, Stanley’s wife), and Mitch, a friend of Stanley’s. The play focuses on Blanche and how she falls deeper and deeper into her delusional state, until, finally at the end, a doctor and a nurse take her away.

The Glass Menagerie takes place in St. Louis. The play features the Wingfields. Amanda is the mother and her two children are Tom and Laura. A gentleman caller named Jim O’Connor comes in at the end of the play. This play is basically about Tom’s memories of the last bit of time he was with his family, before leaving them as his father did. Since the play takes place in the memory, it is dark and some things are very exaggerated. Laura is a cripple who is lost in her own world, with no hope of ever finding someone to love her. Amanda is also living in her own world, one where she is still a southern beauty. She feels that if Laura doesn’t marry so…

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… one in The Glass Menagerie.

Throughout both of these plays run many common themes, often themes from Williams own life. He was a writer who broke taboos and wrote about depraved people, people going crazy and many other themes that weren’t considered appropriate at the time. His own life was very chaotic.

Works Cited A Streetcar Named Desire. By Tennessee Williams. Dir. Scot Whitney. Harlequin Productions, Olympia. September 1998.

2.“Remember Tennessee Williams.” Tom Sullivan. 21 June 2000. Roudane, Mathew C. Ed. The Cambridge Companion to Tennessee Williams. New York: Cambridge Press, 1997 Williams, Tennessee. “The Glass Menagerie”. Anthology of American Literature: From Realism to the Present. By Tennessee Williams. Ed. McMichael, George et. al. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2000. 1445-

Essay on Toni Morrison’s Beloved – Symbol and Symbolism in Beloved

Symbolism in Beloved

In the novel Beloved, the author, Toni Morrison, attempts to promote a variety of different themes and ideas by symbolizing them in minor events and situations. This symbolism is evident throughout the entire novel and is very crucial to the understanding and analyzing of the text. A good example of this is the ice skating scene. Morrison uses this scene to represent the slow, but consistent, deterioration of the family living in 124 and to foreshadow the ultimate demise of the family unit. Morrison writes repeatedly, “Nobody saw them falling,” yet in all reality they were falling, and falling fast (Morrison 174). There are a number of details, including the setting, Sethe’s emotions, the choice of shoes/ice skates worn by each of the three female characters, and the ultimate goal of reaching heaven, which demonstrate this idea.

The ice skating scene takes place on a frozen stream, not too far from 124. The ice is apparently solid, therefore providing a somewhat firm surface on which to skate. Unfortunately, the ice is slippery. This is symbolic of the three females in the story. They all have a strong base, a sincere love for each other, yet no matter how hard they attempt to stay upright and proud, they always end up slipping and falling on the ice. The frozen stream represents the future of the family. The ice will slowly, but consistently, melt as the weather gets warmer, as time passes by. As the ice melts, so does the firm base that supports the skaters and the family members will have no where to stand.

As the story unfolds, it becomes increasingly evident that Sethe is emotionally unstable. Beginning with her life at Sweet Home, dealing with the everyday trials of sla…

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… of loneliness and solitude. By isolating Beloved and herself from the rest of the world, Sethe attempted to hide from the ugliness that existed outside of 124. “They were lulled into a false confidence because they had each other,” neglecting even the bare necessities of life (Finkbeiner 1999). Sethe and Beloved each had a pair of footwear, with Beloved having two skates and Sethe having two shoes. Denver’s condition was a more difficult one. She was forced to skate on a single skate, which was very unstable. In order to stay upright she was forced to seek help from the community, reach out to the people outside of 124. Through this act she was able to bring healing to the family. By reaching out to the community, she was able to combat the horrors of loneliness and racism.

Works Cited:

Morrison, Toni. Beloved. New York, Penguin Books USA Inc, 1988.

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