Rachel goals of marrying young, being the

Rachel McGahanMrs. UruburuAP English 1224 January 2018The Role of the Southern Belle in Tennessee Williams’ WorksIt has been speculated that the southern women of Tennessee Williams’ plays are heavily influenced by his female relatives whom all were strong personalities and had large roles in his development. At the start of the New South following the American Civil War, these women are highly impacted by their changing environment, a the shift in society that values certain gentle characteristics and behaviors above all else to one they no longer fit into, as can be seen in Williams’ scripts, especially in The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire. Amanda Wingfield and Blanche DuBois have numerous similarities in this, both being from prominent Southern families, having received a traditional upbringing, and having suffered a reversal of economic and social fortune in their lives, they are unable to fit into the roles that are expected of them.In The Glass Menagerie Amanda is unable to let go of her past way of living and is constantly reminiscing on her youth to her children. Not only that, she is also extremely disappointed in her daughter Laura who, being a shy girl and wearing a leg brace due to one leg being shorter than the other, does not attract any gentlemen callers as Amanda did when she was her age. Amanda perceives this to be the only role of a woman, to attract a wealthy man at a young age and spend the rest of her life caring for children and the household. She knows that she is passed her prime in the eyes of those around her but continues to act as if in denial, part of the reason why she is constantly recounting stories of the past. Amanda was unable to achieve her goals of marrying young, being the perfect Southern Belle, and living a life of prosperity and now she is desperate for both she and her family’s future financial stability and a successful marriage for her daughter Laura. She is desperately afraid of Laura becoming an old spinster, she says; “I’ve seen such pitiful cases in the South – barely tolerated spinsters living upon the grudging patronage of sister’s husband or brother’s wife! – stuck away in some little mouse trap of a room – encouraged by one in-law to visit another – like birdlike women without any nest – eating the crust of humility all their life!” (409). When finally a caller is set to come, Amanda shows a determination that is clearly sewn from her desperate desires and beliefs.Blanche Dubois’ connection to the idea of a Southern Belle also stems from the loss of wealth and status. After losing Belle Reve, her sole possessions are her dresses and fake jewelry, and they are her reminders of the life she used to live. Aging and penniless, she continues to boast about her appearance and searches for the admiration of the new men in New Orleans, which she heavily depends on. Why this is the case is revealed later on when Stanley, Blanche’s brother in law, discovers letters written to her from her dead husband Alan. Alan, as it happens, married Blanche when she was 16 but was actually gay and when Blanche found out, she condemned him, resulting in Alan commiting suicide. In the time following, Blanche took many lovers, coming to be known as a prostitute in Laurel. Ultimately, she seduced a school boy and she was forced out of town and to her sister in New Orleans. Despite her past and her continuing pursuits, Blanche never admits to her promiscuous behavior because it would not adhere to the image of the Southern Belle. In a last effort to escape the poverty and ridicule that has become her life, Blanche hopes to marry a man she meets, Stanley’s friend Mitch. Despite her best efforts, Stanley discovers her past and tells Mitch, Mitch rejects Blanche and only serves to reinforce her beliefs that she is at this point in time basically nothing. The end of ends comes about when Stanley rapes her, her sisters husband violating her in such a way destroys the last of her self worth, physically, sexually, and mentally and Blanche is moved to an asylum.Blanche and Amanda represent all that is fickle and temporary about the Southern Belle. Both have held ,

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