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The Glass Menagerie - Term Paper Example

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It defines the concept of duty, especially the duty of men and women because they are men and women. One of the themes of Tennessee Williamss The Glass Menagerie is the notion of duty. He explores who determines…
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The Glass Menagerie
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Download file to see previous pages In the play, responsibility becomes a choice between duty to one’s dreams and duty to one’s family, which is juxtaposed with gender and social class issues. The Glass Menagerie depicts that society insists that people forget their duty to their own dreams because they have to follow gender and social class norms and expectations.
The concept of responsibility is a product of social conditioning, which is based on gender and social class customs. Society teaches gender norms that defines the roles and responsibilities of men and women to each other. In Scene 2, Amanda expresses her disappointment to Laura after learning that the latter has dropped her classes at the business college. Amanda underscores the sacrifices made in sending Laura to school: “Fifty dollars’ tuition, all of our plans—my hopes and ambitions for you—just gone up the spout, just gone up the spout like that” (Williams ii. 369). During this time, working-class women had limited educational and economic opportunities. For Amanda, Laura is throwing away the only opportunity she has to earn money, and to help her brother support their family. Tom has the gravest responsibility of all, because as a man, he is expected to provide for his mother and sister. Amanda constantly nags Tom of his duties to his family: “What right have you got to jeopardize your job? Jeopardize the security of us all? How do you think we’d manage if you were---” (Williams iii). Amanda cannot even say the unthinkable. She finds it unthinkable for a man to desert his family because a man’s most important duty is to his family. As a southern belle, she is a traditional woman and her conventions molded her thinking about the duties of men and women. Aside from gender division, society separates people into social classes, where the rich has more freedoms than the poor. Tom envies the life of the rich: “Across the alley from us ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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