Tennessee Williams shows the social structure of the women ND the society during that period In his works. ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ and ‘The Glass Menagerie’ were written by Tennessee Williams. ‘The Glass Menagerie’, is Williams’ first successful work, and is set in SST. Louis in 1944, the play is about a mother trying to find a ‘gentleman caller’ for her daughter. The play, A Streetcar Named Desire’, set in New Orleans in 1947 and is about a woman’s slow descent into madness.
In The Glass Menagerie’ Williams shows us the life passing through the barriers had led to the nostalgic past, and In ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ he shows hat the life exhibits the threatening present of class and sexual welfare. Balance Dubos in ‘A streetcar Named Desire’ and Laura Winnfield in the play The Glass Menagerie, have many similarities. Balance and Laura are living in a world of illusion. Where Balance living in a world of fantasies, while Laura is living in the world of ‘glass animals. ‘ Balance desires for fantasies only because she feels guilty for her husband’s suicide.
Laura lives In the world of illusion of glass animals because of her physical defect. Balance and Laura are mentally and physically disturbed and thus they use their world of Illusions to escape from reality. Balance says “l don’t want realism. I want magic! Yes, Yes, magic! I try to give that to people. I misrepresent things to them. I don’t tell truth, I tell what ought to be truth. ‘(Williams 1947:86). Laura does the same, where she cheats her mother by telling her that she attends Business College regularly. Laura is compared to ‘blue roses’ which is in real does not exists by this we come to know that she doesn’t fit In to reality. ‘Blue roses’ signifies her affinity for the nature – flower together with the transcendent – blue flower which do not occur naturally and thus comes to symbolize her yearning for both ideal or hysterical beauty and spiritual or romantic love. ” (Durham, Frank 106). Likewise Balance is compared too moth show us that she is a pleasure seeker. In the play ‘The Glass Menagerie’ the collection of glass animals especially the ‘unicorn’ which is unique and separate from the other animals. Similarly Laura Is deferent from others due to her physical defect.
She does not fit In with others Just as the unicorn stands community either. Williams’ comments in an interview about Blanches situation in the play he says “Balance who was potentially a super person was broken by society and its norms. ” (Trekker, Studs 124). Balance is not able to tolerate the way Stanley treats Stella and is shocked when she sees Stella going back with Stanley after that terrible night. Stella tells Balance Mimi are making much too much fuss about this” (Williams 1947:41). Balance will never understand their relationship because she is in the world of illusion.
The character of Balance and Laura are very similar, wherein Balance was put in Laurel’s place she would stall unique as the unicorn because Balance is in a higher social class from the other people in the play. Balance and Laura resemble each other in most of their ways they lead their lives. Even Hough there are so many similarities between Blanch and Laura, they also have dissimilarities. Blanches past is miserable, after her husband’s death, Balance uses sex to compensate the lose of her loved one. “l don’t think that Balance is sordid. I think she was rather noble” Williams says in one of his interviews. Ross, Don 229). This idea is different from the play ‘The Glass Menagerie’ Laurel’s life is also miserable, but she does not desires male companionship as Balance does. Balance Dubos and Amanda Winnfield also have many similarities. Both of their lives were miserable due to their marriages at a young age. Amanda loved Winnfield and married him but his love for traveling to distant places take him away from his family and does not have any touch with his family. While Balance married a young man who was a homosexual. When she finds out that he is a homosexual, he commits suicide.
Both the women were affected by the men in their lives. Amanda always complains about Tom’s habits, staying late in night, were she says that he behave like his father. “Amanda psychosocial conquest of former by the latter when returns Tom’s will to the library, D. H. Lawrence Lady Chatterers lover. Her dismisses its heady, equal mixture of Freud and Darwin as the filthy output of a diseased mind – , not the only aspect that trouble her, it also the mythic romance of the old south, the civil war,… ” (Durham, Frank 107). Balance always complains to her sister Stella about Stanley who behaves brutishly.
Balance and Amanda are concerned about cultural values. Balance is very soft and sensitive as ‘paper lantern’ she can’t withstand the harsh reality of Stanley brutish way of life. Amanda is like Balance when she yells at Tom every time he makes her realize the reality of the world. Both Balance and Amanda are considered as very sensitive in all matters of life. The difference between Amanda and Balance are, Amanda is lost in her memories of being young. She constantly talks about her past to her children, “One Sunday afternoon in Blue Mountain – your mother received – seventeen gentleman callers!
Why, sometimes there weren’t chairs enough to accommodate them all. “(Williams 1944:26). Balance always hopes for a better future. Balance is also shown as being dishonest, hypocritical, alcoholic, seductress, disrupting stability of Stall’s life. She lies to Stella about an admirer of her named DRP. Sheep, because she does not want her sister to know about her real situation. She keeps on criticizing Stanley on his brutal attitude. She becomes a drunkard only because she wants to get rid of the reality of life but she tells Stella that she drinks only to soothe her nerves.
Amanda is a middle aged ‘southern belle’ who can’t face failure. Yet Amanda realizes her fall in but they are different in many ways. Amanda returns to her imaginary world because she can’t face the reality. Amanda refuses to face Laurel’s shyness and crippled leg, and also forces her to mingle with the others in the society. Her failure to get a gentleman caller for her daughter Laura leads her to face reality. Amanda realizes lately that Tom has left the house due to her frustration. Amanda refuses to face the two realities of her life. Firstly, Laura always escapes into the glass menagerie but Amanda does not believe it.
Secondly, Amanda constantly yells at Tom because of the financial situation of the family. In an interview to Williams he shares his view on “She’s confused, pathetic, even stupid, but everything has got to be all right. She fights to make it that way in the only way she knows how. (Evans, Jean 86). Like Amanda, Balance creates an illusive world to escape into it, rather than facing it. Balance realizes that she is not welcome anywhere and thus she creates a fake admirer in ‘DRP. Sheep’. We come to know about it when she does not have any phone number or address to contact him.
Blanches dislike of bright light is because she wants to hide her signs of aging. And she is constantly reminded of the death of her husband. She says “Just as the naked light bulb must be cloaked in illusion. ” (Williams 1947:53) . Balance feel secured from Stanley harsh realities of fife when she is in her imaginary world and her real world was very cruel and surrounded with immoral people. She had no one to support expect Stella. Balance says that she soothes herself by drinking for her nerves problem but she drinks really because she remains in the imaginary world.
Her inability to accept the reality was the negative side of her to live. Thus Stella and Stanley send her to mental asylum. The relationship between Tom and Amanda are very similar to the relationship of Balance and Stanley. In both relationship, the male characters are realistic and the women are considered to be in a dream state (state of illusion). Tom feels smothered by Amanda as she constantly advises him on how he should live. He gets irritated by Manta’s constant yelling, he tells angrily to his mother “I’m going to opium dens! Yes, opium dens, dens of vice and criminals’ hangouts, Mother.
Eve joined the Hogan Gang, I’m a hired assassin, I carry a Tommy gun in a violin cast! I run a string of cat house in the valley! They call me killer, killer Winnfield. ” (Williams 1944:42). Stanley is also very frank and lucid in his relationship with Balance. Both men are similar and are been constantly criticizes by the women who they support. Tom brings in a majority of the income to the family, but Amanda tells him to do more. Stanley supports Balance, but she shows no gratitude for his action, she criticized his character. There are different between these two relationships.
In the play ‘The Glass Menagerie’ Tom runs away by deserting his sister and mother. Stanley tries to get rid of Balance by sending her back but later he is sends her to a mental asylum. Tom leaves the house but he regrets leaving Amanda and Laura. But Stanley has no such guilty feeling for Balance, which we can see in many accepts of his attempts to dismiss her, ruin her life and finally rapes her. The two men’s relationship also differs as Stanley uses Balance for his sexual pleasure, were Tom and Amanda are concerned about their relationship as mother and son.
The struggle of Stanley and Balance is shown in the rape scene. The struggle of Tom and Amanda is shown when Amanda asks Tom to be more responsible towards their family. Stella characterization of Amanda, Laura or Balance, because they are very pragmatic and they both are ready to face the reality of the life. Stella goes back with Stanley after the polka night. Eunice also experiences the same kind of treatment from her husband. Finally, with Niece’s advice, she takes a practical decision. She allows her sister to be taken to a mental asylum and clings back to her brutal husband.
Throughout ‘The Glass Menagerie’ and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ of Williams have more similarities and differences in his characters of the plays. The style of Williams is shown in these plays. In both the plays we can see that Williams’ has great affinity with female psyche, their emotions and sufferings. In both the plays we see the southern theme of conflict between romanticism and hostility. The characters in both play were created by Williams, are driven by some emotions, but their manners and expressions vary. Tennessee Williams shows the social situation of the society and the struggle of women in that society.
Due to the decline of the economic conditions of the country, Williams shows us how the woman of the period was different from the woman basically expected to be in the society before the Second World War. He also shows us that women were used for sexual pleasures and have not given any importance. Williams gives importance to women character because he feels that hey are strongly passionate and does not give up in any hard situation of the life but in the both plays he breaks the women character to fail in their life wherein he says that is due to the society.