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The Portrayal of Women in the Work of Tennessee Williams

Portrayal of Women in The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Orpheus Descending, Suddenly Last Summer, and Period of Adjustment

Tennessee Williams has become one of the most well known literary figures in modern America. His plays are often controversial because of his preoccupation with sex and violence and his fearlessness to probe the dark areas of human life. Williams’s earlier work often inspired his later plays and basic character types often reappear throughout each of his plays. A reoccurring theme in each of his plays is the role of the female. The women featured in the plays of Tennessee Williams all suffer from physical or emotional mutilation and seek fulfillment from a mate.

An influential factor in Tennessee Williams’s writing was his own personal experience. The Glass Menagerie is a play that originated in the memory of the author. Williams drew heavily on his own family experiences, describing the lives of his mother, sister, and himself. Many aspects of the play resemble some of Williams’s past experiences during childhood. The apartment that Amanda, Laura, and Tom Wingfield share is in the middle of the city, and it is among many dark alleys with fire escapes. Tom and Laura do not like the dark atmosphere of their living conditions, and their mother tries to make it as pleasant as possible. This apartment is almost a mirror image of one of the apartments that the Williams family lived in St. Louis, Missouri (American Writers IV). Amanda Wingfield is a typical Southern belle who fantasizes about her seventeen gentlemen callers back in Blue Mountain. She regularly attends meetings of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), which are important outlets for her social…

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…w not having a mate as being a disgrace and a failure. The life experiences of each of Williams’s female characters is unique. However, what the characters have in common is an emotional or physical mutilation that they seek to fulfill by finding a suitable mate.

Works Cited

Falk, Signi. “Tennessee Williams”. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1961.

Griffin, Alice. “Understanding Tennessee Williams”. University of South Carolina Press; Reprint edition. February 28, 2011.

Pagan, N. “Rethinking Literary Biography: A Postmodern Approach to Tennessee Williams” Rutherford [N.J.]: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. 1993

Tharpe, Jac, ed. “Tennessee Williams: A Tribute”. Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 1980.

“Williams, Tennessee.” American Writers. Volume IV 1985. Web. 27 May 2015.

A Comparison of Freedom in Beloved and Secrets and Lies

Finding Freedom in Beloved and Secrets and Lies

What is freedom? Freedom is the ability for every individual to have complete control of his life, the ability to make his own decisions. From the moment an individual wakes up in the morning to the moment he lays back down to sleep in the evening, thousands, if not millions, of choices have been made. Some of these choices have had negative consequences, and some of these choices have had positive consequences, but regardless of the outcome, there remained the freedom of choice.

Too often, ones’ freedoms are encroached upon by someone or something else This encroachment can be both physical and emotional. Such circumstances can be very difficult to deal with and often times lead to hardship and emotional trauma. Sometimes it takes an external force or personality to come forward to help survive such instances. Such a scenario exists in both Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved and in the movie Secrets and Lies. In both stories, there is a family disturbed by circumstances from the past and in response a character “from the past” comes back and helps to mend the somber situation, helps to free them from the past.

In Beloved, a slave by the name of Sethe escapes with her children from the dark and dismal environment of plantation life to the bright and carefree environment of freedom. From being shackled and torn from her family, to having her breasts sucked dry of milk by white plantation owners, Sethe has survived too many horrific situations and witnessed too many inhumane acts on her fellow man. In order to deal with such pain and the resulting bitterness, she tries to forget, tries to hide the memories deep down in her self. Sethe refers to these as “rememories.”

Living on a plantation and being a slave, Sethe had experienced first hand what it was like to be deprived of nearly all freedoms. Deprived of the opportunity to make her own choices and decisions, as well as the deprivation of love, it appears the only thing Sethe was not deprived of was bitterness and hatred. Thus, after escaping the captivity, the only life she had ever known, freedom was pure heaven. For twenty eight days, she and her four children lived in a state of bliss. Unfortunately for them, this freedom was short lived. On that twenty eighth day, as Sethe and her children worked in the yard, the white plantation owner, known as School Teacher, approached Sethe’s house in search of his lost slaves.

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