Patel 1 The More Dysfunctions, The More Escapes The Wingfields and Westons are both inimitable families who carry distinctive traits and characteristics. In the play, The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams portrays a southern family in the 1930’s trying to deal with life’s pressures, and their own fears after their husband and father deserts them. In the play, August: Osage County, Tracy Letts depicts a large eccentric family who come together after the death of the patriarch, Beverly, and try to triumph over the obstacles in life.
Unhealthy and detrimental relationships among family members are ample between the two families. The Wingfield and Weston families are both trapped by their own dysfunctions, which force them to be confined in their own homes, ultimately causing the abandoned matriarchs to either face the truth or continue to run from it. First, the Wingfields and Westons are both abnormal families who share a lot of the same dysfunctions as one another. Each member of the Wingfield family has their own issues and problems.
Laura has a slight physical disability, but her mind is significantly more crippled. Laura is very weak and open to attack; she is unable to defend herself from the truths of life. Amanda attempts to portray herself as a loving mother, doing everything she can for her children, and caring nothing for herself, Patel 2 when in fact, she is quite selfish, demanding and disrespectful. Amanda disrespects Tom, as she says,”What is the matter with you, you-big-big-idiot! (Williams 21) Amanda claims that she devotes her life to her children, and that she would do anything for them, but is very suspicious of Tom’s activities, and frequently pressures Tom, trying to force him in finding a gentleman caller for Laura, believing that Laura is lonely and needs a companion. Tom resents his mother greatly, not only because she always gets her way with him, but because she is so suspicious of his activities, causing a limited trust between them. The Weston family has their dysfunctional issues as well.
Everybody in the family is constantly worried over the fact that the patriarch, Beverly, has mysteriously disappeared which is than discovered to be a suicide. The pill popping and unstable mother, Violet, does not make the situation any better. She is a drug addict who frequently disrespects people in spite of their attempts to help. As well, she shows a great lack of respect over the passing of her husband. Many family members, especially Barbara Fordham, the eldest daughter, is stressed over Violet’s condition and often tries to stop her addiction.
Barbara confronts her mother about the situation and asks for the pills by saying, “Gimme those goddamn pills-“ (Letts 96) There is no admiration between any of the family members, therefore resulting in conflict and argument on a frequent basis. Patel 3 Furthermore, both families are confined in their homes and are forced to see and talk to one another. The Wingfields constantly give the impression of being discontented with each other. No adoration is being recognized, nor appreciation of one another. They cannot escape their run-down apartment due to their financial crisis.
Tennesee Williams depicts the prison-like atmosphere of the apartment, as he writes, The Wingfield apartment is in the rear of the building, … one of those vast hive-like conglomerations of cellular living-units that flower as warty growths in overcrowded urban centers of lower middle-class populations and are symptomatic of the impulse of this largest and fundamentally enslaved section of American society to avoid fluidity and differentiation and to exist and function as one interfused mass of automatism. (Williams 3)
Due to the shortage and scarcity of money, the Wingfields cannot have a great life style. The condition of their apartment resembles their torn apart family. The fire escape is the closest way for the Wingfield family to escape. The fire escape gives Tom the opportunity to abandon the apartment and get away from his nagging mother. Amanda sees the fire Patel 4 escape as an opportunity for gentleman callers to enter their lives. Laura’s view is different from her mother and her brother; her escape seems to be hiding inside the apartment.
Also, the Westons are trapped in their homes and can’t seem to escape. They don’t all live together, but are brought together as one due to the death of the patriarch, Beverly. Every member of the Weston family has their differences. They endure many problems as they live with one another. An indication of incarceration is when Violet tapes the shades and lets nobody opens them. Charlie questions Mattie Fae about the situation, “This business with the shades, taping the shades? ” (Letts 20) As soon as the family members see that they can break away from the house, they leave as soon as they can.
Even though the family is brought together, they are all happier with their individual lives away from the family. Lastly, facing the truth can be challenging and exigent for certain people. In this case, Amanda Wingfield is not aware of the truth and repeatedly nags and aggravates her children. Amanda stipulates Tom to comb his hair, as she says, “Comb your hair! You look so pretty when your hair is combed. ” (Williams 38) Amanda mainly bothers Tom about finding a gentleman caller for Laura, she feels that Laura is lonely and needs a companion in order to be happy and pleased in life.
Also, she Patel 5 thinks that Laura will not be secure and protected in the future if she does not find a companion. Amanda often fantasises about her past, and uses it to escape reality. She constantly reminds Tom and Laura of the time she received seventeen gentleman callers. As opposed to Violet, who is aware of the truth, but continues to run from it. There are several things that Violet knows, but doesn’t mention to the other members of the family. Violet is aware of the fact that Barbara and Bill’s marriage is ruined and the chances of getting a divorce are high.
Also, she knows that Beverly had an affair with Mattie Fae and they had a son, Little Charles. Violet tells Ivy the truth about her and Little Charles, as she utters, “Little Charles and you are brother and sister. I know that. ” (Letts 133) Violet escapes from the truth by taking pills and drinking alcohol. She doesn’t want to tell anybody about the past because she doesn’t want to cause more nuisances in the family household. Thus, it is clear that the Wingfield and Weston families have their similarities and differences as well.
Each family has their own issues and challenges; they handle it in various ways. Each family member approaches certain situations differently. Each of the two families has many disagreements and conflicts, and they all find a common route to get out of it. The Wingfield’s and Westons’s have many dysfunctions, which lead them to be incarcerated in their households, eventually, Patel 6 forcing the remaining mothers to make a decision in either facing the truth or running away from it.
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