The Glass Menagerie and For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls

169 views 4 pages ~ 962 words
Get a Custom Essay Writer Just For You!

Experts in this subject field are ready to write an original essay following your instructions to the dot!

Hire a Writer

Durang's Play: For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls

Durang's play, For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls, is a hysterical retelling of The Glass Menagerie. Durang's play takes place in 1994, while Williams' play takes place in the winter and spring of 1937. Many of the characters in the two plays struggle with important issues such as anxiety, loneliness, and the need to be understood. It is clear that, unlike the character in Durang's play, the characters in The Glass Menagerie "handle their problems in a reasonably serious manner" (Gussow). Durang's play offers a different perspective on the circumstances introduced by Williams' play. The tone of The Glass Menagerie is tragic. The setting of the place is in an apartment in St. Louis and Tom Wingfield is the protagonist. As such, even though the two plays depict to have key similarities and differences, Durang's play, For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls is a hilarious account The Glass Menagerie.

Characterization in the Two Plays

Characterization of the two plays denotes to be a clear contrast. Laura is used for Lawrence while Jim is represented by Ginny. These characters have dissimilarities which the audience is able to note. Ginny is loud, and he seems to be not an understanding person compared to Jim who is calm, understanding, and very quiet. Again, from the characterization, it is evident that in The Glass Menagerie, characters prefer to escape the realities of the world and are not willing to face the situations at hand. For example, Lawrence says that "I don't like the world, mama. I like it here in this room" (William 5). However, Durang portrays through Tom's emotions for his family that unlike Lawrence who does not want to face the world, he cares for Laura and never treated him in a wrong way. In the original play, The Glass Menagerie, Jim listened to Laura very well and even compliment her. However, Ginny could not listen well because he was deaf, and she rather insulted Lawrence. These contrasts thus denote the differences in the characterization between the two plays.

Themes in The Glass Menagerie and Durang's Play

The Glass Menagerie is a play that is coined on the theme of difficulty in accepting realities. It is evident from the play that the characters are not willing to accept and relate to the realities that surround them. Every member of the Wingfield finds it hard to overcome this problem and thus, these results into withdrawal into a private world that is full of illusions. Laura lives a private life which is surrounded by delicate glasses. Again the relationship of Amanda depicts to be complicated, and she seems to be partial to real-world values, and she is a wistful distortion of reality. William also showcases a theme which centers on the impossibility of escape. Indeed, the promise of escape that is represented by Tom's missing father haunt him from the start of the story to the end. The reader is able to see that Tom does not manage to free himself from the confinement of his life. The unrelenting power of memory also showcases itself in the play, and through this, the content and the style are inspired and shaped by memory. These themes are also evident in Durang's play even though the author does this using a hilarious tone.

Durang's Hilarious Perspective

Notably, Durang aimed at taking a lethal view on individuals as well as institutions highlighting the weaknesses through using a hilarious standpoint tone. An analysis of the parody reveals that Durang writes "treading a tightrope between the real and the surreal" the play is logical and the event in his story become increasingly outrageous (Gussow). Notably, Durang aimed at commenting on how the US changed in the 1940s, and he accomplishes this by using humor that attracts the reader. For example, he develops Laura's shyness toward the world as well as the lack of understanding in Amanda on her children. Durang says that "where that Though I as a child always felt sympathy for Laura, as an adult I started to find Laura's sensitivity frustrating. I mean, how hard typing class was" (Durang 1). This quote elucidates that Durang wanted to explore the realities in William's book and bring out the sensitivity in a hilarious mood. Also, he delves into Tom's anger towards his family and Jim's partial deafness. Indeed, one could say that the idea is "to catch theatergoers off guard so that they are swept along on the playwright's audacious arc" (Gussow). In this play, he offers his audience some of the images in the contemporary theater. Durang's play reflects the social norms, values, and roles of its time and one of the issues that the audience is able to note is the gender influence on behaviors and personalities. It is vivid that women in this play depict to be helpless such as shy and physically disabled. He also wanted to show that refusal to accepting reality is detrimental, and every person has to deal with this problem.


Evidently, the two plays denote to have similarities and differences. A key feature is that the characters deal with problems and situations that affect them. The characters face challenges such as isolation, fear, and a failure to accept reality. However, a key difference is evident in the characterization, the setting of the time and the place, as well as the tone of the play. Durang's play is hilarious while that of William is tragic.

Works Cited

Durang Chris. For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls. Accessed 21 December, 2017.

Gussow Mel. Christopher Durang, a Parodist, Finds Very Little That Is Sacred. New York Times. Accessed 21 December, 2017.

Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie. New York, New Directions, 2011.

December 21, 2022



Plays Literary Genres

Number of pages


Number of words




Writer #



Expertise Literature Review
Verified writer

Tony is a caring and amazing writer who will help you with anything related to English literature. As a foreign exchange student, I received the best kind of help. Thank you so much for being there for me!

Hire Writer

This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Eliminate the stress of Research and Writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro