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The Difference of Mothers in The Glass Menagerie a

nd A Raisin in the SunThe Difference of Mothers in The Glass Menagerie and A Raisin in the Sun
The plays, The Glass Menagerie and A Raisin in the Sun, deal with the love, honor, and respect of family. In The Glass Menagerie, Amanda, the caring but overbearing and over protective mother, wants to be taken care of, but in A Raisin in the Sun, Mama, as she is known, is more or less, the overseer of the family. The prospective of the plays identify that we have family members, like Amanda, as overprotective, or like Mama, as overseers. I am going to give a contrast of the mothers in the plays.


In The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams, we embark on the task of seeing a family living in the post WWII era. The mother is Amanda, living in her own world and wanting only the best for her son, Tom. Tom, a dreamer, tired of Amanda’s overbearing and constant pursuit of him taking care of the family, wants to pursue his own goals of becoming a poet. He is constantly criticized and bombarded by his mother for being unsuccessful. This drives him to drinking and lying about his whereabouts, and eventually at the end of the play, he ends up leaving. An example of Amanda and Tom’s quarrel I when he quotes, “I haven’t enjoyed one bit of this dinner because of your constant directions on how to eat it. It’s you that makes me rush through meals with your hawklike attention to every bit I take.”(302) Laura, on the other hand, is shy and out of touch with reality because of a slight disability, in which she is comforted by her glass menageries. Amanda, sees Laura as fragile, like glass, and hopes she can find her a gentleman caller to take care of her and the family. In this play, Amanda, wants the best for her children, but should realize that they have their own lives.

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A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry, tries to give readers an overall look of what it feels like to be given a chance to make a difference. The play includes Mama, the stronghold of the family, her son, Walter Lee, a dreamer, Beneatha, Walter’s sister, who wants to be a doctor, his wife, Ruth, a realist, and their son, Travis. The play setting is like that of The Glass Menagerie, and is set in post WWII and tells how Mama wants to make a difference for her family. A Raisin in the Sun, unlike The Glass Menagerie, tells how Mama wants something for her entire family to enjoy, unlike Amanda, who wants her family to provide for her own enjoyment. In A Raisin in the Sun, Mama inherits ten-thousand dollars, due to her husband death, and buys a nice house in a white neighborhood. She entrusts Walter Lee, with sixty-five hundred dollars of the ten-thousand dollars, to put into the bank. Mama tells Walter Lee to divide it between him and Beneatha. Instead of putting the money where Mama told him, Walter decides to invest it with friends, in which, he ends up getting scammed. In turn, this made it difficult for the family to decide whether to move into the house or not. Mama lets Walter Lee make the decision to move into the house or to give up. He realizes at the end of the play that this was for his family more than it was for him. Walter Lee quotes, ” we have decided to move into our house because my father-my father-he earned it.” (422) This play is reminded of a quote by Julius Lester from his essay, “The Heroic Dimension in A Raisin in the Sun,” and he quotes, “A Raisin in the Sun is most definitely about human dignity’ because Lorraine Hansberry is concerned with the attitude we must have toward material things if we are to be their master and not their slaves.” (433) The quote tells exactly what Mama is trying to give to her family, and that is that, materialism should not make us greedy, but teach us how to manage it with dignity and self-respect.


The mothers in both plays are loving to their families and wanted the best for them, but as for Amanda, she lives in her own world and Mama tried to create a better world. We notice the true differences in these mothers. The plays reminds us, even in everyday life how our mothers are or use to be. It should be recognized in both plays that change is sometimes good, as long as, someone is to learn from it. We should realize that, like these mothers, we must have dignity and respect for each other, and especially for our family.

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