The Glass Menagerie

Odets and Williams's Women of the Depression

The 1930's worlds of Clifford Odets and Tennessee Williams portray assertive and domineering women as the center of families in the age of the depression. Women in the plays are always fighting poverty in any way they can. The mothers often dominate the lives of their children and attempt to dictate rich futures for both their sons and daughters. Clifford Odets displays the nearly impoverished wife Edna and the bright, young woman Florence in the play Waiting for Lefty that was written in 1934 but not produced until 1935. In Awake and Sing!, written in 1933 and produced in 1935, Odets shows Bessie as the head of the household. Tennessee Williams places the intricate character of Amanda as the head of a broken household in his 1944 production of The Glass Menagerie.

Odets and Williams both have strong women struggling against the onset of poverty. Edna, in Waiting for Lefty, threatens to leave her husband if he does not do something. After explaining to Joe why there is no furniture in the house she asks, "Who's the man in the family, you or me?" (Odets 9). Edna tells her husband to do something or she will run back into the arms of her old boyfriend Bud Haas because "He earns a living" (11). Edna is a...

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