Proceedings of The 2nd Global Conference on Women’s Studies
Emotional And Existential Dependence on Men in Tennessee Williams’s Plays The Glass Menagerie and a Streetcar Named Desire
The Glass Menagerie, premiered in 1944, and A Streetcar Named Desire, premiered in 1947, depict intense family dramas. Both plays draw attention to many issues surrounding the lives of women in 1930s and 1940s. The society in which these women live encourages them to follow traditional patriarchal rules, suggesting that they should find happiness in becoming emotionally and existentially dependent on men. These plays follow the vigorous pursuit of female characters who learn the hard way that finding a man they can depend on is far from easy and that dependence on men does not guarantee happiness.
In this paper I will attempt to analyse the reasons behind women’s insistence to become dependent on men. I will look into the positive and negative aspects of emotional and existential dependence and shed light on Williams’s inspiration and motivation for writing these plays. Eventually I will try to answer the following question: are the men, women or the society to blame for the downfall of female characters in the plays?
Keywords: domestic violence, feminism, stereotypes, tradition.