Tennessee Williams



The playwright, Tennessee Williams, allows the main characters in



the plays A Streetcar Named Desire and The Glass Menagerie to live



miserable lives which they try to deny and later change. The downfall and



denial of the Southern gentlewoman is a common theme in both plays.



The characters, Blanche from A.S.N.D. and Amanda from T.G.M., are prime



examples of this concept. Both Blanche and Amanda have had many



struggles in their lives and go through even more through out the rest of



the plays. The problem is that Williams never lets the two women work



through and move on from these problems. The two ladies are allowed to



destroy themselves and he invites us to watch them in the process(Stine



and Marowski 474). The downfall, denial, and need to change of the two



women is quite evident in these two plays.



First the troubles of Blanche and Amanda need to be recognized.



Blanche hides her drinking problem so well when she arrives and sneaks a



shot of whiskey (William A Streetcar Named Desire, ,Scene1. Page 18.



Lines 12-17) that when she is later offered a drink, she acts as though she



has no idea where they keep them (Williams, A.S.N.D. 1.19.12-15). Amanda



cannot accept that no gentlemen callers are coming for Laura,herdaughter,



thus making it harder for Laura to accept it (Williams,The Glass Menagerie,



1.28.1-5). Blanche and Amanda both do not allow themselves to accept



their problems and work them out. They deny these problems which feeds



them making them larger and even more complicated. When Stella offered



Blanche a second drink she stated, ?One?s my limit.? (Williams, A.S.N.D.,



1.21.14-15) Blanche is very ?self-destructive? (Hassan 326). She is her own



worst enemy because of how she handles her problems. Amanda



comments at the end of the play that Tom shouldn?t think about his poor



mother and sister in a very sarcastic way (Williams, T.G.M., 9.114.1-3). She



tries to push her problems off on him and not deal with them herself. By



pushing the blame off on Tom, she feels as though she did nothing wrong



and it is everyone else?s fault. If the two women had just accepted that



they were at fault too and not just everyone else they could have moved



on with their lives.



Both Blanche and Amanda?s biggest problem is that they deny the



truth. Blanche denies her drinking problem. She also denies the fact that



she was a prostitute. She even made such an unbelievable comment that,



?I take for granted that you still have sufficient memeory of Belle Reve to



find this place and these poker players impossible to live with.? (Williams,



A.S.N.D., 4.70.1-3) She denies that she ever sunk lower than Stella when in



truth, she was much worse. She was the one who lost her job for sleeping



with a seventeen year old and was kicked out of the town for being a slut



by the mayor. She had the gall to lecture Stella on her choice of men.



?You can?t have forgotten that much of our up bringing, Stella, that you



just suppose that any part of a gentlemen in his nature!? (Williams,



A.S.N.D., 4.71.13-18) Blanche speaks to Stella as though it is absolutely



terrible that she married Stanley, of all people, when she slept with more



people than she could even remember. She shows the ?do as I say, not as I



do? philosophy while though at first, Stella is not even aware of her sister?s



past. Amanda on the other hand, just shrinks poor Laura?s self-esteem and



confidence more than it already is by bragging about how she had



seventeen gentlemen callers over one evening when she was Laura?s age.

Amanda also refers to her husband?s leaving her and her childeren as, ?he



fell in love with long distances...? (Williams, T.G.M., 1.23.28). She sannot



admit the truth that he just left them. She cannot even admit to herself



that Laura is crippled, she only refers to her as different. Also, when



Amanda looks back at her past, she tends to only remember the good



things that happened. She has blocked out the things that she did not



enjoy and has exaggerated the past to an extent. At one point in the play,



she brags about her seventeen gentlemen callers Tom, her son, asked her



how she enertained them in which she replies that they