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"Why Can´t You and Your Brother Be More Like Other People?": Amanda´s Way of Dealing with Her Loneliness and Its Effects on Laura

Hausarbeit 2003 9 Seiten

Amerikanistik - Literatur


0. Introduction

1. Amanda‘s Loneliness
1.1. Its Roots
1.2. Her Way of Dealing With It
1.3. Cycle of Capatism

2. Its Effects on Laura
2.1. Victimization of Laura
2.2. Laura‘s Low Self-Consciousness

3. Conclusion

4. Bibliography
4.1. Primary Literature
4.2. Secondary Literature

1. Amanda‘s Loneliness

1.1. Its Roots

When Amanda was young, her life was full of possibilities and also full of excitement. Not only was she part of a seemingly quite rich family, she was also pursued by many young men, her “gentlemen callers“. Amanda seems to have been very popular and well-liked everywhere (Williams 240). Most of her gentlemen callers being “planters and sons of planters“ (Williams 238) she probably regarded herself as destined to keep on living quite an exciting life brightened up even more by a considerable amount of money.

Things turned out differently, however. Instead of going steady with one of the planters she fell in love with a telephone man and married him. Apparently not satisfied with his life as a family father, Mr. Wingfield left Amanda with their two children, little money and the shattered remnants of her dreams.

Even though Amanda‘s dream “has been smashed by reality“, it “has not been forgotten“ (Tischler 98), however. Amanda still remembers how hopeful her future looked when she was a young girl, in a time when “die Erfüllung all ihrer Träume offenstand“ (Link, 25). She is, as C.W.E. Bigsby puts it, “left with no more than the ashes of a once burning fire“ (Williams, 32).

Her advice to Tom in scene five therefore seems to sum up the story of her life: “The future becomes the present, the present the past, and the past turns into everlasting regret if you don‘t plan for it“ (Williams 269). Amanda says about herself that she “wasn‘t prepared for what the future brought“ her (Williams 285). She was caught off guard by the changes to her once pursued dream in much the same way as she was by the change of seasons she is talking about: “It‘s come so quick this year. I wasn‘t prepared. All of a sudden- heavens! Already summer!“ (Williams 284).

To Amanda, the past is the time when everything in her world seemed to be going fine. Now she is on herself, she is not part of the upper class that she used to belong to any more, denied of “the social acceptance that is her deep need“ (McBride 145). She is lonely because she knows how different her life could have been if her choices had been different.

1.2. Her Way of Dealing With It

“You live in a dream; you manufacture illusions!“ is one of the last things Amanda says to her son Tom before the end of the play (Williams 311). She does not realize, however, that this living in a dream is also her way of trying to cope with reality and consequently with her loneliness. “Clinging frantically to another time and place“, the time when she was still a young girl, she has “failed to establish contact with reality“ and lives “vitally in her illusions“ (Williams 228). Amanda lives “in der Erinnerung, statt sich mit der Gegenwart auseinanderzusetzen und sich mit ihr abzufinden“ (Jauslin 49), she “flüchtet sich in die Träume ihrer eigenen Jugendzeit im Süden“ (Jauslin 53).

Amanda is not able to bear the reality of her life, not able to bear the fact that she, the once so admired young lady, has been left by her husband and now has to live from the poor earnings of her son and from selling cheap magazines over the phone. Her memory is the place she can escape to, the place where nothing bad can happen to her. In doing so, she has made her memory “a myth, a story to be endlessly repeated as a protection against present decline“ (Bigsby Williams, 38).

Amanda does not fully accept reality. Even her frightening visions of what will become of Laura if she does not get married are still embedded in her concept of a well functioning Southern family system (Williams 245). She does not realise that Laura’s future could look even grimmer.

Amanda seems to still be attached to her husband in a strange sort of way. Even though she does not want Tom to be like him (Williams 259) and therefore does accept and acknowledge his presumably bad manners, she still hasn’t really separated from him: His “larger-than-life-size photograph” (Williams 235) is still hanging up in the living room, his records are still being listened to and Amanda is even still wearing his dressing robe (Williams 265). This behaviour is part of her not living in the present but clinging to the past, of which her husband was a part. She does not want to acknowledge the fact that she has been rejected and tries to hold on to the past “to compensate for the damage her ego sustained by this rejection” (Single 76).



ISBN (eBook)
522 KB
Institution / Hochschule
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz – English Institute
1,7 (A-)
Can´t Your Brother More Like Other People Amanda´s Dealing Loneliness Effects Laura Tennessee Williams



Titel: "Why Can´t  You and Your Brother Be More Like Other People?": Amanda´s Way of Dealing with Her Loneliness and Its Effects on Laura