Essay Example on Family Dissension in Glass Menagerie and Everyday Use

Published: 2022-12-26
Essay Example on Family Dissension in Glass Menagerie and Everyday Use
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Family American literature Books Family drama
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1724 words
15 min read


Family dissension is a state where people or siblings in a family cannot go along with one another in most cases. Dissension can also happen between organizations or government vying for funds, allocation of resources or over a particular agreement. Family dissension can be noticed both in Everyday use and the play Glass menageries where siblings versus parents or siblings among themselves do not agree with one another over a particular opinion or habits. This essay is going to highlight the occasions where Family dissension is manifested in the story of Everyday use and the play of Glass Menageries.

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Everyday use story talked about the return of family reunion after a long period of separation and the dynamics between Siblings and their mama. The family dispute is a portrait between the relationship of Dee, Maggie, and mama. This is shown when mama starts recalling about Dees' childhood, her character and how she behaves. Another scenario that shows the existence of family discord is Wangero's denial at birth and the name given to her signified dissension. Dee is the most problematic child who does not go along with the rest (Sarnowski 269). Despite that disagreement on most occasion, mama still loves her and eagerly awaits her return for a family reunion.

Similarly, family dissension is also portrayed in the play, `Glass menageries.' The play entirely focuses on family relationships. In this play, Tom is seen as a character who does not interact freely with Amanda, his mother. Amanda kept irritating when they are having a meal with her niggling. Amanda kept telling Tom the way he chews food and pointing fingers to Tom every moment she noticed something strange which made Tom feel annoyed (Cardullo 65). It reaches a point where Tom does not withstand the form of harassment and humiliation and tells Amanda that she had not enjoyed the meal because of frequent monitoring and commands on how she should eat.

Concept of the Family which are Represented by Glass Menagerie and Everyday Use

The family in Glass Menagerie portrays the southern family who tries to deal with the issues which are happening in their lives and fear which arose after their father and husband deserted them. Tom's father has been away from his family for sixteen years. Tom tries to follow his father's footsteps as he walks away from his family so that he can find happiness. After moving away from his family, he feels guilty for leaving Laura. Tom does not experience peace since Laura's memory continues to haunt him (Cardullo 65). Therefore, this makes the fathers in this play to become irresponsible since they run away from their duties in the family.

In the Glass Menagerie, family represents an obligation where it portrays the responsibility of family members and the gender roles represented by individuals in the family. In the play, men must bring funds to the family which should be used in catering for the family. In most families, the children take after their parents. For example, in the play, Tom follows the suit of his father by leaving the family thus making Amanda start wishing that her daughter was also popular like her. Mothers in the family are responsible for ensuring their children possesses the appropriate etiquette and making sure they attain their life goals. Tom's mother reprimanded Tom when they were taking dinner so that he can maintain decorum during meals (Cardullo 65). Also, Tom is responsible for ensuring his sister Laura is okay.

In the story, Everyday Use by Alice Walker, the family's concept is determined by the word heritage which represents the African- American culture and the family thoughts, items and traditions. For example, in this story, Maggie and her mother are believing the word heritage represents their family's traditions. The two women only care for the family's traditions since they are the only ones which they have ever known. Dee who is Maggie's sister she believes that the word heritage represents the African-American culture. Maggie and her mother believe these traditions preserve the family values making them not to lose sight of who they are. Dee felt a detachment from when she was young thus making her not to value the families heritage (Mullins 37-53). Since Dee is learned, she tries to understand their family's culture, but she does not want to follow the traditions of her family.

What are the Good and Bad Effects Created by the Family

Families help children learn about the values and customs of the family. These values support the child to follow specific directions thus shaping their lives. The tradition of the society is also at home thus making the children aware of various customs which they should follow since they define them. For example, Maggie and Mama followed the family's traditions and values which made them believe they determined the direction they should take in their lives. Some of the value might be beneficial to the family members while others might impact the lives of people differently. Also, in family traditions, mothers should look after their kids and try to change their ways if they are not following the right direction (Mullins 37-53). For example, Mama tries to change Dee who believes heritage represents the African American culture.

Families also help the children and other members to know their duties and the roles they are supposed to play in their lives. Males in the families are termed to be the provider and protectors of their family members. Men are to ensure that the family member is comfortable and do not lack any essential thing in their lives. For example, in Glass Menagerie play every individual in the family has their duties and responsibilities. Whenever Tom run away from his family, Laura keeps on asking after his dad since they had developed a close connection with them (Cardullo 65). The family has the duty of educating their children which is evidenced in the book Everyday Use where after Dee acquired education she had a diverging conclusion about heritage.

Some of the actions which are experienced in different families tend to affect the kids negatively making them regret in the future. Parents ate the role models to their children, and they follow what they see their parents doing to other family members. For example, in the play Glass Menagerie, Toms' father ran away from his family leaving his wife and children to suffer. Later Tom decided to escape and g away from his family the just like the way his father had done. After running away from home, Tom starts to regret due to the actions he had taken earlier. The families remain in regrets as they search for the family members who run away forms their home to find happiness (Cardullo 65). Actions taken by the male individuals affects their family making to run away from the responsibilities.

How realistic is Family Dissension

The inherited characteristic of people contributes to family discord throughout a person's life since they tend to have different temperaments. Some individuals tend to be emotional and reactive than others making them not to get along with others quickly. Family unity and oneness tends to become crippled whenever the emotional impulsivity overrules the thoughts and actions of others. For example, in the play, Glass Menagerie does not listen to his mother when talked to about maintaining table manners (Cardullo 65). The emotions of Tom overruled his actions when he decided to walk away and follow his father's steps.

The culture of the family might lead to family disputes where they judge some customs and traditions in their perceptions. Due to triangulation, the families do not come into terms with one another which leads to disruptions and discord. For example, the opinion of Dee to the traditions which Maggie and her mother believed in bringing about the disagreement among them, Due to various meaning on heritage among these individuals made them not to settle under the main decision due to the difference they had perceiving heritage. Also, in families where they did not listen to one another ked to the development of the family discord. For example, families which tend to be at the risk of tension do not listen to other members of the family. In the play, Glass Menagerie, Toms mother does not want to listen to his son and daughter since she has tensions of his husband move. Tom also develop anxiety which makes him not to listen to his mother when she tries to talk to him concerning the decision he is making of moving out (Cardullo 65). Therefore, feeling least listened to makes the family members feel not appreciated leading to a family dispute.

Comparison between Dee/Tom, Mama/Amanda, and Maggie/ Laura

Dee tends to believe in the cultural aspect of the African-American culture. Since Dee is learned she tends to think differently from her mother and sister which makes her follow her direction (Mullins 37-53). Tom has tension due to the action which was taken by his father hence making him feel unhappy. The unhappiness among Tom contributes to family dissension which makes him not to listen to his mother, but he decides to walk away like his father.

Maggie and Laura are different individuals who possess various perceptions about life. In Everyday Use by Alice Walker, Maggie believes in the traditions and values of her cultures which makes her experiences with her sister Dee. Laura also supports the benefits which are brought about by the traditions since they determine the values of people in their lives. Mama and Amanda also tend to have similar thoughts despite coming from two different platforms. Amanda tries to talk to Tom concerning his decision, but it is all in vain (Sarnowski 269). Mama also tries to change the perception of Dee so that she can believe in heritage as their traditions, but she is reluctant hence causing discord in their ideologies.

Works Cited

Cardullo, Bert. "The Blue Rose of St. Louis: Laura, Romanticism, and The Glass Menagerie." Tennessee Williams(2009): 65. Retrieved from

Mullins, Matthew. "Antagonized by the Text, Or, It Takes Two to Read Alice Walker's "Everyday Use"." The Comparatist 37 (2013): 37-53. Retrieved from

Sarnowski, Joe. "Destroying to Save: Idealism and Pragmatism in Alice Walker's" Everyday Use"." Papers on Language and Literature 48.3 (2012): 269. Retrieved from

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