In reading literary pieces, we tend to compare one character to another that is similar on physical and mental characterization. Alice Walker’s story “Everyday Use” and Tennessee Williams’s play “The Glass Menagerie” have different attack, contextualization, plot, conflict, and resolution but they have the same idea of character – Laura in “The Glass Menagerie” and Maggie in “Everyday Use. ” Laura and Maggie are both physically handicapped. Laura ‘wears a brace on her leg’ while Maggie has scars all through her legs and arms.
Both of these characters accept their situations as handicapped. That is why they are being oppressed by the society whether directly or indirectly. Therefore, being physically handicapped of the protagonists in the two stories defines their identity and uniqueness despite of their physical imperfection. Walker’s “Everyday Use” is a story about a mother having two daughters. Her daughters are opposite to one another. Maggie is a shy woman while Dee is very expressive with her emotions. Dee’s goals are too high to obtain.
She leaves her family to acquire her personal goals in life. Ms. Johnson, which is Dee’s mother and Maggie are waiting for her return that is why they clean their house and beautify it so that Dee will become happy once she saw their home. When Dee arrives, Maggie and Ms. Johnson are speechless with her transformation. After lunch, Dee went to her mother’s room and asks for a hand-stitched quilt as a souvenir. Ms. Johnson is holding a ‘precious’ hand-stitched quilt that she will give to Maggie. Dee wants it so she grabs it to her mother’s hands.
Maggie understands her sister’s action and even though she really likes the quilt, she let her sister obtain it. However, Ms. Johnson grabs the quilt to Dee’s hands and pulls Maggie into her room and put it to her lap and shows a happy face. Due to disappointment, Dee runs away from their house along with her friend using his friend’s car. William’s “The Glass of Menagerie” on the other hand is about a woman named Laura. Tom is the narrator of the story. Laura is a shy woman because of her appearance – having her leg being braced. She does not want to enter school because of this.
Another reason for this is that she does not want people to look at her and being humiliated by her surroundings. Because of this issue, Amanda whom to be Laura’s mother asks Tom to find a man that will suit Laura despite of her physical situation. Tom found Jim, his co-worker. He asks him to have dinner in their house. When Jim went to the dinner, Laura is afraid to see him because she is attracted to Jim even before. After the dinner, Jim starts talking to Laura. In the beginning, Laura is aloof but as the conversation went on, she becomes comfortable with Jim.
“LAURA: I was out of school a little while with pleurosis. When I came back you asked me what was the matter. I said I had pleurosis – you thought I said Blue Roses That’s what you always called me after that I / JIM: I hope you didn’t mind. / LAURA: Oh, no – I liked it. You see, I wasn’t acquainted with many – people…. (Williams, Chapter 7)” Jim becomes attracted to Laura’s uniqueness that led him in kissing her. After the kiss, Jim says sorry to Laura and tells her that he has a fiance and soon will get married. Even if Laura is upset, she accepts it.
Amanda blames Tom for being insensitive by not choosing the right man for Laura. Tom leaves for this reason but even if he tries to begin his life again, Laura’s image emerges within his mind, thinking his offense against her. Laura and Maggie view themselves as weak and incapacitated. They accept their situation in a worst-case-scenario. They do not fight against the common norm of the society towards them. As long as their family accepts them, everything would be fine. However, problems occurred because they admit that they are handicapped and could not obtain things that a usual woman should have.
That is why people around them took advantage against them in different cases and issues. In the case of Laura, her mother wants to make her happy and would like her to find a man that will fit her capability as a woman but Amanda did not think of Laura’s feelings towards her action. As she (Amanda) pushes Laura towards Jim, it is clear she has never paused to find out who her daughter really is, nor what her aspirations might be, nor has she ever considered modes of living other than her own (Debusscher, 60).
Maggie’s situation is also the same through her relationship with Dee. Because she accepts that Dee should have better life than her, she lets her sister obtain everything that should be rewarded to her. Because of this, she needs to cope up with the demand of others to satisfy them. “Maggie will be nervous until after her sister goes: she will stand hopelessly in corners homely and ashamed of the burn scars down her arms and legs, eyeing her sister with a mixture of envy and awe.
She thinks her sister has held life always in the palm of one hand, that “no” is a word the world never learned to say to her (Walker 47). ” However, at the end of the plot of these two stories, the supporting characters realized the manifestations and effects of their actions in the lives of the protagonists. That is why they resolve their conflicts by way of recognizing the identity of Laura and Maggie as individuals with own uniqueness and sense of womanhood. “When Maggie spoke and suggested that the quilt be given to her older sister Dee, she (Ms.
Johnson) began to see Maggie in a different light. She also learned to appreciate Maggie’s simplicity and goodness as compared to Dee’s sophistication and ambitions (Cuizon). ” Like what happened to Maggie’s mother, Tom also accepts the realization that Laura needs sensibility from the people around her and she should experience it through her family. In the end, both the protagonists and the supporting characters reconcile and acquire the realization of reality and live a better life.
Cuizon, Gwen. “A Review on Alice Walker’s Everyday Use. ” HubPages. (2008). 23 November 2008. http://hubpages. com/hub/Alice-Walkers-Everyday-Use Debusscher, Gilbert. “Tennessee Williams’s Dramatic Charade: Secrets and Lies in The Glass Menagerie. ” (2000; pp. 57-68). 23 November 2008. http://www. tennesseewilliamsstudies. org/archives/2000/4debusscher. pdf Walker, Alice. “Everyday Use. ” In Love and Trouble. New York: Harcourt, 1973. 47-59. Williams, Tennessee. “The Glass Menagerie. ” (1944). 23 November 2008. http://pagesperso-orange. fr/absolutenglish-972/notes/uscivi/glassmenagerie/scene_by_scene. htm
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