Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls"

Is Christopher Durang's one-act play an effective parody of Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie?  Why or why not?  Use specific examples from both plays to support your opinion.

76 comments:

  1. The first thing I noticed (thanks to Adrianne) was the names of the characters.

    Instead of Laura its Lawrence
    and instead of Jim its Ginny

    I'll post more when I read it! okay bye

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  2. I think this Parody is offensive to The Glass Menagerie. First of all The Glass Menagerie was a beautiful play full of subtle beauty and bitter pain. Whether it was Laura's broken unicorn or Amanda's devotion to her children, their was depth and complexity far beyond just a poor family of the roaring 20's. But Christopher Durang's take on this just left me with of sense of anger on how insensitive Amanda and Tom were. The middle was funny, I will admit, especially when Tom broke down the door like it was nothing or when Amanda commented on his final say, but the story left me dissapointed. Amanda and Lawrence were just left there, with wishes of distractions and drinks as reffered to by more swizzle sticks. Yes, there is an arguement that Amanda and Lawrence dug their own graves, but there is not much hope that they will survive, which made me feel so bitterly towards the story. For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls in my opinion lessens the great play that is The Glass Menagerie.

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  3. Bonnie Period 4

    I think it was effective as a parody because of the great use of exaggeration. By making Lawrence complain about all of his many problems every second it makes the reader realize more of Laura's problems in a lesser light and in a way that Amanda saw Laura's problems which I had when I read the Glass Menagerie because I felt sympathetic towards Laura but when Lawrence went on and on complaining and making road blocks for every little thing it made annoyed.

    Also by the use of swizzle sticks as the item of collection it made the usage of the glass animals a little ridiculous because they are both very childish things to collect... it would be like if I collected the splash sticks from coffee shops but because it is a glass menagerie one goes ooo and ahhhh likes its all important but when it's squizzle sticks one is just like "Why?" so it down plays the importance of such objects especially when they are played with and one is even broken and Lawrence freaks out because of it.

    Another importnat thing I noticed was the characterization of all the chracters in For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls is almost the exact opposite of how it is in the Glass Menagerie is their corresponding characters... For Example Ginny is loud and not very understanding and completely random and very loud but Jim is very understanding, calm, quiet and very concise.

    The Satire of the Glass Menagerie is very effective at pointing out it's weaker points of the play but at the same time it does make a mockery of the Glass Mengagerie which can be easily be likened to one watching Saturday Night live and usually the Host of the week, the show or movie he or she is in is usually parodied and made a mockery of and if one understands the original work, it is very effective just like this play was.

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  4. i agree with Ricky when he says that the parody is offensive to the glass menagerie. The glass menagerie seemed to show an actual situation that was difficult to deal with; Lauras crippled leg. Amanda, the mother in the glass menagerie was trying to do the right thing and find a man for laura although she didnt want one because she felt it would bring her self esteem up, while amanda wanted lawrence to find a wife just to get him off of her hands. In the parody, it seems as if lawrence has no disabilities or sicknesses but as if he is just making up his eczema, crippled leg, and asthma making it really annoying like a child constantly having to be looked after when he is just perfectly fine. The true parody comes from Ginny the visitor who is brought to meet lawrence but is deaf and can hardly hear. unlike Jim in the glass menagerie she is loud and very outspoken while jim seems compassionate towards laura and is understanding of her glass unicorn and feels sorry when he breaks it. Unlike jim, Ginny is not aware of the importance of the swizzle sticks that lawrence holds dear to him and when she uses them she does not know why lawrence freaks out. The southern belle tolls exaggeration of the situation gives the glass menagerie more sympathy for the situation they are in, they place more of an emphasis of the father leaving and giving tom the role of the father while in the parody the father is not mentioned making it seem as if toms choice to leave is an act of selfishness.

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  5. As to what Ricky said, I do believe that For Whom The Southern Bells Tolls does mock the play quite a bit, but I do not believe that it lessens the greatness of the play. It adds on a comical sense to the play which makes the play more exciting. I agree with Bonnie on the corresponding characters beings foils of each other and how this parody would be something seen on SNL.
    The parody of The Glass Menagerie does keep to the main story line but does alter things a bit. Some characteristics of the characters that we learned throughout the play are stated directly in the paraody, such as when Lawrence, the male counterpart of Laura, directly states the "I don't like the world, mama. I like it here in this room." From the play we know that all the characters of the play prefer to escape the realities of the world rather than face them, but it is not directly stated in the play. In this example the play was just as effective as the play because it directly stated a characteristic of the character.
    Tom's emotions for his family are dramatized in the parody. He refers to Lawrence as "four eyes", which is, like how Bonnie said, the opposite of how the character really is. Tom truly did care for Laura, but he never treated her improperly. Laura's condition is also dramatized in the parody. In the play Laura has merely a limp that most people cannot even notice, it most likely is within her mind. In the parody, Lawrence has several conditions, which Amanda describes quite nicely: "Your asthma, your leg, your eczema. You're just a mess, Lawrence!" Even Amanda's disapoinment is dramatized to downright sarcastic annoyance.
    I believe this parody, if combined with prior knowledge of the play, is very effective. Major key points of the play are kept, such as Laura's seclusion from the world, yet they are presented in different manners to make things more interesting.The parody adds comedy to the play which captures the audience much easier. Even though many things are not the same the basic plot remains of an unstable family trying to survive in the world. This parody is hilarious and I enjoyed it more than the actual play

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  6. As to what nick said...
    I think they also changed it to Ginny because it means unmarried woman
    I also agree that the characteristics are opposite from the original Glass Menagerie. For example, Ginny was made into a woman that didn’t listen very well (mostly because she was deaf from the warehouse) But in the original play, Jim listened to Laura and complimented her while Ginny just insulted him and made Lawrence feel uncomfortable by telling him his leg brace caused a lot of noise in high school.
    Her son Tom in the original play is only hated for his selfishness but in the parody it said the mom called him “big-hearted” or did I read it wrong(I think I did since most of the time Amanda was joking)
    I think the parody made Laura into a guy(Lawrence) to show how ridiculous it is for him to complain about all the sicknesses he had every minute. By making him into a boy, you take his situation more seriously because being a man…you should be strong and independent. From the first play, people might have sympathized with her because she was a woman and people think woman are dependent and are easily hurt and need protection with the help of guys. But because he’s a man you can now clearly see it’s ridiculous.

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  7. And a question...
    Why do you think they made Ginny lesbian? Just to make it more funny or is there a reason...to show how ridiculous this plan was maybe?

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  8. Ariana Quisenberry per5:
    I agree with Aabra in regards to that For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls is an effective parody because it takes only implied characteristics of Laura, Tom, and Amanda and overexaggerate them to get the point across of how ridiculous the whole situation is.
    Durang uses the character Lawrence as an exaggeration of Laura to express how oversensitive Laura is. When Amanda tells Lawrence how lovely he looks , Lawrence replies with "No, I don't, mama. I have a pimple on the back of my neck". To make it obvious of Lawrence's self-consciousness is humorous because most plays leave it to the audience to figure out the symbolism and meaning of the play. Anyway, this quote shows how oversensitive Lawrence is.. for one, having a blemish on the back of your neck is nothing to be worried about considering that very few people stare at the back of other people's necks. Plus, ONE pimple isn't something to be worried about...now if it was a major outbreak of acne, i would be self-conscious too but one pimple is just ridiculous!
    i will write more later..

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  9. Bonnie Period 4

    I think there is a reason for making Ginny a lesbian, other than to make it funny. In the parody it is said in the end the Tom knew all along that Ginny was a lesbian.

    In the end of the Glass Menagerie there is a little ending and also on literary websites about how the Glass Menagerie is slightly biographical of Tennessee Williams. Tennessee Williams was gay and if the Glass Menagerie is slightly biographical then it could be said that Tom in the Glass Menagerie is also gay. But b/c of the times it was not something people would make easily known about them. Evidence of this could be Tom is not really going to the movies every night nor is he actually drinking so he could be dating another guy but he probably would not even tell his mom and Laura he was dating at all since if he did it would only create problems since they would want to me the person he dating so it is easier to say he is going to the movies every night b/c there is no way there could of been a new movie every single night.

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  10. I believe that "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls" by Christopher Durang is an effective parody of "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams.

    For one, I believe that "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls" is definitely a parody in the sense that it imitates "The Glass Menagerie" for comic effect and ridicules the work.

    There is plenty of ridicule in Durang's Play. For example when Amanda asks Tom to make Ginny and herself some Gin and lemonade for his sister. She calls her other son a girl.

    Some things I found ironic were when Ginny and Lawrence were talking, she could almost not comprehend anything that he says. Then all of a sudden Lawrence says, "Well, I am afraid of people and things, and I have a lot of ailments." Then Ginny says, "But thats what makes you special, Lawrence."

    I know it may seem hard to believe, but does anyone think Ginny was pretending not to be able to hear?

    Some other differences I found were that Amanda uses profanity and does not like Ginny in this play rather then in the other when she doesn't even like saying the word crippled, and she liked Jim.

    I believe that Christopher Durang's play is an effective parody, but I cannot decide what he is criticizing. Is it Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie, the style the play is written in, or something bigger then that?

    What do you think?

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  11. Is Ginny actually hard of hearing?

    I thought this play was HILARIOUS.

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  12. Adding on to Nick's comment about how Amanda does not like Ginny. I noticed this also but I do not think it was Amanda not liking Ginny but more of Amanda did not want Lawrence to date b/c I got the impression that it was Tom being the one pushing Lawrence to date unlike in the Glass Menagerie where it was Amanda pushing Laura to date. I think this is to add to the parody b/c they are portraying Lawrence as a Momma's boy while in the Glass Menagerie they were portraying Laura as a "home girl" so and while it is easy for everyone even the reader to sympathize with Laura in the Glass Menagerie they had to have some one who didn't who is Amanda and it is easier to have no feelings of like towards Lawrence they needed some one who does and that is Amanda.

    I think in both stories they try to use Amanda as a foil to every one else's feelings towards Laura/lawrence did anyone else notice this?

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  13. I agree with what Bonnie said about how the parody exaggerated the problems that Laura had in the original play. It was not only Laura but the whole family. For example, in the original play, Amanda had a frustration towards Laura but she did not exactly get mad at her but in the parody, the mother was very straight forward to Lawrence about how frustrated she is with him. I think this is one the the things that makes this parody so effective.

    Throughout the story, Lawrence keeps mentioning his asthma when the mother is telling jokes. and later in the story, the mother tells him to stop pretending to have asthma. How does this idea relate to the original play?

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  14. I believe that the play magnified each of the originated character's faults from The Glass Menagerie. For example, Laura (Glass Menagerie) had extremely low self esteem. Apart from the fact that she was moderately handicapped, she would always seem to vitcimize herself in different instances (pretending to be sick when Tom arrives, refusing to go back to school, etc.) This was magnified in "For Whom The Southern Bell Tolls" by having Lawrence making up a bunch of sicknesses that he didn't have (Asthma, Pimples etc.). Amanda, in the Glass Mnagerie, always seemed to push Laura into marrying or finding a gentleman caller while holding back her true emotions of annoyance. Her emotions were displayed extremely in this one, where she even yells at Lawrence for being "retarded". Tom's disdain for his environment is also highly magnified. In "For Whom The Southern Belle Tolls", he has angry outburtsts, and even kicks down the door when Lawrence is reluctant to let him in. Throughout the story, i saw each character mirrored, with their faults magnified. It was as if Tenneessee Williams wanted you to hate or become annoyed with each character in "For Whom The Southern Belle Tolls".

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  15. I agree with Bonnie, too.
    A lot of Laura's traits in "The Glass Menagerie" are really exaggerated here. And at first, for Laura, they don't seem that bad. But Lawrence, he just goes on & on about how his asthma & his excema & his crippled leg make it impossible for him to do anything. & that just goes back to Laura and how her insecurity about her leg has stopped her from ever being able to do anything. Lawrence & his ailments & insecurities & shyness just sort of open up our eyes MORE to the ridiculousness of Laura's insecurities.

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  16. I just need to clarify something that Antonio said, "It was as if Tenneessee Williams wanted you to hate or become annoyed with each character in "For Whom The Southern Belle Tolls"."

    I am trying not to be rude but it was Christopher Durang who wrote "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls" and Tennessee Williams who wrote "The Glass Menagerie". Then to add on to it as a way to make people think: Why did Christopher Durang write the his play as a parody of the Glass Menagerie nearly 50 years after the Glass Menagerie was written(Glass Menagerie 1945 and the other one 1994)? Also why did he write it after Tennessee Williams death since he was already writing plays since the early 1980's?

    I just found that part interesting he wrote it nearly 50 years after the Glass Menagerie since most parodies of work happen within a decade to get the most effect out of the target audience since most parodies and satire are a pop culture phenomena than a 3 to 4 generations later sort of thing.

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  17. Know what sucks? Forgetting everything you wanna talk about or having other people get on this earlier XP.

    I agree with what most people wrote: that this was an effective parody, events were sometimes over exaggerated, characters were foils of one another, etc.

    Well after reading other peoples comments, i thought of a few myself. After reading Bonnie's comment on Tennessee Williams being gay, does anyone think that Durang's parody might have been to ridicule Williams? Just a thought because the parody was written after Williams death, and some of the characters in the parody are gay or seemingly gay. For example Ginny being a lesbian, Lawrence acting like a little girl, and Tom watching movies such as "Humpy Bus Boys" (kind of inappropriate, yet it made me laugh).

    Another thing i noticed is the title of the parody, "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls". The term 'southern belle' is a model for a young woman of the Old American South's upperclass. Yet in this parody, there are no beautiful women (belle meaning beautiful in french) because Ginny was portrayed as manly in a way and (if it makes a difference or not) she was also a lesbian. The title already mocks the Glass Menagerie, if you already know the basic premise of the Williams play. For one, it seems kind of strange that a 'southern belle' would be looking for anyone. Even today it seems weird seeing a girl looking for a 'gentleman caller'.

    Another thing i noticed about the parody is that the title is preeetty similiar to that of an Ernest Hemingway novel "For Whom the Bell Tolls" which was published in 1940. Kind of random and may not be relevant or even connect to the parody. Still, what do you think about this?

    Well although "For Whom the Southern Bell Tolls" does not mention the father like in "The Glass Menagerie", how different do you think the play would have been if the father was there instead of Amanda? Another random thought haha.

    In response to Nick's question about Ginny pretending to be deaf, i think that it is a possibility. In this play, you do not know what to expect. For all we know, Tom could have asked Ginny to act deaf as a joke and set the whole dinner up just for the fun of it.

    Overall, this was an effective parody, making the life and situations of the characters in "The Glass Menagerie" less saddening. The characters in "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls" proved as comical foils of their counterparts in "The Glass Menagerie". I liked both plays especially having read the original first.

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  18. In Response to Josh:

    I do not believe that Durang was trying to ridicule Williams for being gay b/c Durang is also gay and also what satisfaction does get from ridiculing some one after their death since there is no reaction to be seen.

    The part about about the title I think though not entirely sure I think it refers to Lawrence. I believe this because the connotations of a southern belle make me think of a fragile person who is quick to whine and complain about their situation especially since a southern belle is defined as an young lady of America's Old Southern Upper Class and they had "help" to meet every need they had and toll can have the meaning of ring to and Lawrence is "trying" to find a wife and he acts like a little whiny girl and every need he has is known to everyone but those are just my ideas on Southern Belle since it is obvious Ginny is not a Southern Belle in any sense of the word.

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  19. per.5

    I agree with josh in everything he said.XS
    Mostly with that "For whom the bell Tolls" by Ernest Hemmingway, since he wrote more like tragic pieces of literature after the tragic life he went theough.(three plane crashes) And in our period someone mentioned the absence of the mother's compolaining of her husband who left her in some way or another. I also agree in that all the characters where a magnified version of the original play by Tennessee Williams.

    I have a question... is it important that Ginny broke the glass thermometer as an accident while talking to Lawrence instead of Tom as a result of a fight with his mom?

    I also agree with Han from per. 5; in "The Glass Menagerie" the mother seems to frustrated by Laura, when in "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls" the Mother ignores Lawrence. She even said that she wanted Lawrence to marry as soon as possible so she could have a life again. Is that his just wanting to make Laura suffer or is he trying to imply that in the original play the mother didn't really care about her children but more of her own life?
    Overall I agree with Josh Uvero in that the parody was realy effective concerning the ridiculing of Laura.

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  20. In response to Josh:

    I also think that Durang's parody was ridiculing Williams. Durang did make most of his character's seem gay. Like Lawrence for example, he was way too oversensitive of his little swizzle sticks.

    I know that the title is similar to Hemingway's novel only cause Domingo said that earlier and i have no clue what it has to do with Durang's play.

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  21. After reading everyone's comments, I noticed that a few people said that Durang is ridiculing the play and Williams. Just by reading "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls," it does seem that Durang is ridiculing the play. However, In the "Author's Note," it does say that Durang "admired the play quite genuinely," and describes his parody as "affectionate." I don't think that Durang would "ridicule" the play and Williams if he felt this way.

    Also, did anybody else think that this play is a burlesque? According to my notes(which was barely legible) a burlesque involves "distortion and exaggeration being employed to evoke ridicule through the glorification of a common subject." In this case, I think that Durang is ridiculing the characters in the play, not Williams himself.

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  22. Christopher Durang does succeed in creating a parody, a burlesque imitation of a specific work of an author for "comic effect", of Tennessee Williams' Glass Menagerie. why? because he uses the same type of story line along with characters to fill in the gaps of the originals. However the twist in the characters is one of opposite qualities from the originals. For example Amanda in the classic work is a caring mother as opposed to a cruel and obnoxious mother. Laura is no longer that fragile girl but a boy by the name of Lawrence with a different hobby in collecting swizzles and suffers from even more diseases than in the first one. in a surprising twist Jim the well educated gentle man caller, is represented by Ginny an alcoholic lesbian irritating girl. Finally Tom simply becomes impatient. Some similarities where in the "Rise and Shine" and "Blue Roses" references to the original. In some ocassions such as in the ending i found comedy, where Tom was speaking to the reader as if he had carried on with his dream, but was just outside talking to himself until his mom calls him. Lol.

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  23. Yeah. I think that Durang is definitely ridiculing the play. In the author's note, he basically said that he liked the play. But after a while, Laura's sensitivity began to get annoying. So ridiculing... criticizing. IDK. But he definitely wasn't happy with Laura. & that's basically what led him to write this parody.

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  24. To what Ryosuke said:

    I didn't catch that Durang said that he admired the play. So it kind of changes everything just a little bit. But yet again, couldn't Durang ridicule the play just for fun, since he liked it so much?

    And to what Marissel said:

    I don't think the reason why he wrote the parody was because he wasn't happy with Laura. Sure her sensitivity was annoying, but wouldn't some people feel that way if they were crippled and the guy/girl they liked in high school was coming over to eat dinner at your house?

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  25. I also agree with Leana about how making Laura a guy is important. I think for most guys, masculinity is really important, and that's why a lot of guys react so violently or... dramatically whenever someone challenges that. But Lawrence, he's weird. He's stuck at home. & Ginny, a woman, is working. & during those times, it was really important for the man to have a job, just so that they could feel useful. & so making Laura a guy sort of makes you reflect on how pathetic Laura is too.

    Ever since I read this parody, I can't help but be mean to Laura. XD

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  26. response to Marissel:

    I don't think it was Laura alone that caused him to write the parody alone. I think it a little but of everyone because Jim's sensitivity to Laura also became very annoying and I was annoyed by it because he is just too understanding for a guy... I also liked how Durang kind of made what Tom was doing a little more obvious because it was annoying in the Glass Menagerie how you never knew what Tom was doing except most likely not going to the movies which was annoying...

    I would also like to point out that parody is a form of fanfiction. as many people have pointed out already that Durang was a huge fun of the Glass Menagerie and other plays written by Williams.

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  27. to what Mark said:

    Didn't Durang say that he admired the play at the beginning of the packet? After he said he had watched it like 100 times. I agree that some people might feel alittle different, but with the personality that Lawrence's mother treats her children she should have overcome that little detail a while ago. I mean, maybe the influence that parents give to their children should affect them in some way or another. I think Laura from "The Glass Menagerie" only wanted attention by denying attention, I mean an absent parent can affect a son/daughter pretty heavily depending on the psychological strength of the son/daughter.

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  28. Like many other posters that have commented, I agree that "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls" is an effective parody of "The Glass Menagerie". Durang brings us into a very magnified version of "The Glass Menagerie", for the characters are more exaggerated to where we understand the personalities and actions behind each character right away. For example we see that Lawrence uses his many "problems" as excuses to hide from the world. Lawrence's dependent situation only makes his mother, Amanda, frustrated. Amanda loves her son, but through the conversations between the mother and son we see how blunt she is toward Lawrence. She dislikes the life she lives and thinks that her son is pathetic, plus she isn't afraid of saying it to his face.

    Although the Amanda in "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls" is more outspoken about her feelings toward Lawrence, it differs from the Amanda in "The Glass Menagerie", for without words we can sense the urgency that she wants Laura to do something with her life. By representing Laura as a man, Lawrence, Durang brings out the humor in how this grown man only has the desire to stay home and play with his glass stirring sticks. This is also effective because with Laura, since she is a girl, we feel more sympathy for her, but when we read about Lawrence we think of him as a whimp.

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  29. I agree with what everyone is saying in their posts.

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  30. For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls serves as a parody to The Glass Menagerie because is provides a comical contradiction to almost every aspect of the original version.

    The Amanda in the original play was very loving and caring towards her children and tried to be as hospitable as possible. In contrast to this Amanda, the parody version of Amanda was rude towards Ginny and she said numerous hurtful things to Lawrence. The original Amanda would try to cover up the flaws in her life and try to improve them, while the parody Amanda openly criticized what she felt was undesirable in her life.

    In the original, Laura was very timid and vulnerable. The audience sympathized for her because she came off as a small child that needed to be cared for lovingly. Lawrence came off as more annoying and weak. He was Laura, but with a more comical outlook on life. He was also portrayed as more pathetic.

    Ginny was the counterpart to Jim from the original play, but Ginny was portrayed more like the play's clown instead of a respectable and desirable character of the play.

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  31. To what Alysa said:

    I think that Amanda, in For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls, says that Lawrence is pathetic to his face is because she can always say she's joking and Lawrence will just kinda go along with it. So that kinda shows that Lawrence is gullible which is kinda making fun of Laura because she kinda goes with what her mom says. But i do agree with you that we can see/sense the urgency Amanda, in The Glass Menagerie, wants Laura to do something other than stay inside.

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  32. I agree with the comments above.But I wonder if this is a satire or not because it does not seem that durang wants change or reform.if it is a satire please explain.

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  33. Okay, so to start off, I'd like to point out what Christopher Durang's motive was, which would be the fact that he had watched THE GLASS MENAGERIE so many times that he just got tired of it and sick of all the characters, becoming really picky about all of their flaws. I felt this was an effective parody, mostly because of how amusing and funny it was, and also by how exaggerated the twisted characters appear to be. I love how straight forward this parody was because the original has to much depth and concept to it that, as a reader, you tend to get confused and it becomes distorted for us. With a combination of sarcasm along with the dynamic characterization, there are multiple ways of viewing each aspect of the character. In THE GLASS MENAGERIE Amanda is a very positive and curious, whereas, Amanda in FOR WHOM THE SOUTHERN BELLE TOLLS is very negative and mean as well as selfish. Laura and Lawrence are very similar in that they both are wasting their lives and procrastinating day by day, coming with excuses as to why they behave that way. Because Lawrence is a guy, we cannot feel bad for the way he gets treated, but there is room for empathy in Laura's character. I find the cursing to be a very effective ad on to this parody because it translates what Tom and Amanda feel toward Lawrence through these words. I happened to notice that the reference to D. H. Lawrence, the author of THE ROCKING HORSE WINNER, has the same name of Laura's magnified character in THE SOUTHERN BELLE TOLLS. It is funny because the writer is a very odd and crazy writer, which related to Lawrence's character. With the determined goal of Christopher Durang writing a successful parody on THE GLASS MENAGERIE, he succeeded. With the magnified and exaggerated change in character and tone, along with diction, this alternate point of view helps us understand the themes in a interesting yet simpler manner.
    PS. I got a fortune cookie from a restaurant Sunday night, and it read, " Every burden is a blessing. " and it not only reminded me of my life and my past, but it reminded me of this play and how Tom has the burden of the family on his shoulders and Laura has the burden of getting a gentleman caller. In the end, those burdens turn out to be blessings.

    Kima Mokhbery. Period 5

    Over and Out! :)

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  34. I agree with Alysa about how changing Laura to Lawrence brings out the humor. A girl character seems easier to sympathize with than to sympathize with a guy character.
    I also agree with Bonnie in that the connotations of a southern belle makes the reader of a fragile person who is quick to whine and complain about their situation.

    Would the glass sticks mean anything or relate to the original play?

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  35. Overall, I think that the writer of "For Whom The Southern Belle Toles" expresses his innate thoughts on The Glass Menagerie. What everyone is thinking, he writes through these characters. In the story, Ginny is a lesbian but this could be foreshadowed from page 14 where Lawrence states, "It's unfeminine for a girl to work at a warehouse." I think the author makes her interested in the opposite sex for comic relief.

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  36. This parody offers characters whom are quite dysfunctional and have far more worse problems than in the actual story. The parody exaggerates Laura's whiny, annoying personality through Lawrence and Amanda's personality is more outspoken. In this story, the reader doesn't really feel any response for Laura, or "Lawrence." Christopher Durang ridicules Tennesse Williams by making Tom gay. Since this parody is written in 1994, he is able to express the issue on homosexuality. Maybe The Glass Menagerie may have been a reflection of Williams' life?

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  37. In response to Han, I think the glass sticks are a symbol of not being creative. Lawrence has pretty idiotic and immature names for the sticks. Once the reader notices the stupidity of the glass collection, the reader may refer back to The Glass Menagerie and see Laura's glass collection as a waste of time and an excuse for not wanting to leave her house.

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  38. Btw, I agree w/ what people are saying up there! :)

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  39. Aloha. To answer a question above, I think the glass sticks represent Lawrence in the same way that the glass animals represent Laura. But I also think that since sticks are more breakable than animals are, that means that Lawrence is even more sensitive than in the Glass Menagerie.
    (~_~)

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  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  41. Chris Johnson also has a question. Does anybody think that it's significant that the author of the parody doesn't change the names of Tom or Amanda or even their gender? It wouldn't mean much if their names were changed but how would it be different if Tom and Amanda's genders were switched?
    P.S. FREE CRONIN!!!

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  42. I agree with Jennica with the idea of a comic relief. I think the author made Ginny attracted to the opposite sex for comic relief. I think Lawrence's asthma is just an excuse to not do anything outdoors. It relates to how Laura always said that her leg was what held her back in order to stay out of social life. Except in the parody, the author makes Lawrence seem like a wimp and an idiot which is what makes this parody effective.

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  43. Do you guys know why alcohol seems so important in the play and parody?
    i have thoughts...um...
    from the scene 5 analysis i was thinking it was talking about how WWII was coming.
    Before the war, Roosevelt repealed the 18th amendment and created teh 21st amednment...maybe during this time a lot of drinking was going on again? and alcohol seperates people so...thats why the father left. but in the parody i couldnt really see the importance of using alcohol. someone in my 6th period class( i think ivan) mentioned how Ginny is lilke "gin" the alcoholic beverage...since Ginny was so crazy(screaming and all from deaf) maybe it shows how alcohol makes things go crazy? they put the 18th amendment up because they needed to develop wheat to use for WWI. other reasons people supported it was because it caused problems within the family and at work...
    idk. any ideas?

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  44. as to the glass sticks...
    i agree that they're there to show how dumb it is to collect them when they're easily accessible(in the parody, lawrence asks his brother to stop by at the liquor store that sells them. if anyone can buy them...then its not really valuable. and the fact he even throws the swizzle stick that he calls his mom...shows how it can also be unvaluable?) but i think it also relates to how the plays making about almost anything opposite from the original...
    the characteristics are opposite and so...the swizzle sticks are opposite to the glass menageries. the swizzle sticks are more mature though since they're used for drinking alcohol whereas the glass ANIMALS are more childish

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  45. a question of the "glass" objects in the plays (symbolism)


    Can they also represent how uneasily fragile the lives of Laura/Lawrence are?
    (Aside from noting on how stupidly uncreative lawrence names his swizzle stick collection)

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  46. I have a question concerning Amanda, is she really complicating the lives of her children, or is she trying to teach them life's lessons? (Aside from the fact that she STILL lives in the southern times mentally)




    almost forgot: FREE CRONIN

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  47. @chris johnson

    It would have an odd feel if the plays had gender changes.

    Heck, it would be even more different if Amanda was replaced by the Wingfield's long lost Father.

    As for the plays having 2 girl siblings (Tom gender change),the story might not change as much, but it would still have an odd feel
    (Jim could be gay, female tom works somewhere else/has a different personality, e.t.c)

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  48. ohh to suggest a solution for lmllavore about the Ginny being a lesbian thing, I thought that maybe it was making fun of the scene in the Glass Menagerie when Amanda told Laura to put the "Gay decievers" on her person. I found that funny in the For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls Ginny was actually gay and Lawrence did not have that "Gay deciever weapon" available. haha

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  49. @lmllavore

    Although Ginny "inquires" about alcohal alot,it doesnt really show how hear screming and deafness "appear" Her deafness comes from her "public speaking course" and the factory she works at.

    The alcohal, (in theory), could have sped up the comedy between characters

    Then again, i could be wrong D:

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  50. In response to Darien, I think that Amanda's intentions are not to make their lives more complicated but by constantly reminding them, help them make their lives easier by living the typical "normal" life. As for life lessons, in a way you can say that, because she is applying the experience throughout the years as a "normal" teenager and apply that knowledge to her children, but they weren't really any lessons that Amanda could of possibly learned herself through experience to properly teach her children. Because she had a perfected life growing up, she never really had flaws to learn from and carry those lessons onto her children.

    Moving on.

    In my opinion, I don't quite consider this poem as a "parody" because the poem, "For Whom the Souther Belle Tolls" is a modernized version of "The Glass Menagerie". In this poem, the psychological thinking of how humans think in today's society, concerning homosexuality, is applied and shows the modern situations and reaction of human nature. By calling this poem a "Parody" readers as a whole are ridiculing modern life. This is possibly an explanation of why Amanda directly blames Lawrence than Laura. Similar to how children today talk back to their parents in comparison to children 50 years ago respected their parents and never spoke back; I am not implying that I do!

    Anyone else agree to this?

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  51. To those who said that this parody was offensive to The Glass Menagerie, Christopher Durang states that as he kept watching the play her point of view toward the charaters changed and he became frustrated by them. That is why his characters are offensive toward the original characters.

    As for the Ginny being a lesbian subject, I also believe that the "gay decievers" from the original play had something to do with it.

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  52. For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls is an effective parody of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie because of how it ridicules/humorously depicts the major characterizations and events in The Glass Menagerie by using exaggeration. Also, since by definition, a parody is supposed to imitate the serious manner and characteristic features of a certain literary work, For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls can be said to be efficacious.
    Durang characterizes Lawrence similarly to Laura: both are socially isolated (they life in their own little worlds) and thus do not live in contact. However, Laura and Lawrence have major differences in their characterizations. Although Laura was “crippled,” Lawrence is “crippled” and has asthma and eczema although the latter two are ailments that Lawrence does not actually have. By adding further ailments that Laura had in order to characterize Lawrence, Durang is using exaggeration to characterize Lawrence; the exaggeration of physical discomforts onto Lawrence just further emphasizes Lawrence’s social aloofness. Because Lawrence is the corresponding character of Laura, Durang is exaggerating how much Laura was socially uncomfortable and inactive. Durang adds on the “asthma” and the “eczema” as Lawrence’s excuses to not have to participate in society. This is shown when Ginny comes over and Lawrence (like Laura) objects to opening the door for her and Tom: Lawrence tells Amanda that he does not want to open the door for them because then, he would have to limp and Ginny would notice his limping.
    Also, while Laura collects glass menagerie, Lawrence collects glass swizzle sticks. Unlike the glass swizzle sticks that seem like unimportant objects to collect that are not fascinating, the glass menagerie seem like something someone would collect and value since they have an enchanting and beautiful effect due to them being glass animals instead of just glass sticks although the sticks are shaped differently or have different colors. By replacing the glass menagerie with glass sticks, Durang further exaggerates Lawrence’s (and Laura’s) ability to live in reality. Also, unlike Williams, Durang directly characterizes Lawrence by making him say that he is afraid of the outside world and that he knows he does not fit well. This direct characterization further acts to Durang’s mocking attitude.

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  53. Ginny represents the outside world like Jim does in The Glass Menagerie. However, they are very different (more like total opposites) because Ginny is VERY LOUD and impolite whereas Tom is well-mannered and a proper gentleman. Also, Durang mocks how Jim is revealed to be engaged by changing the scenario and making Ginny a lesbian. Even more humorous is the fact that Ginny is engaged to someone with the name Betty and Betty in The Glass Menagerie is Jim’s fiancĂ©.
    Durang exaggerates Amanda and Tom’s personalities: Amanda is all the more non-motherly (unaffectionate) and offending and Tom is all the more easily agitated and insensitive. Amanda directly tells Lawrence that he is crippled, that he is an idiot, and that he is a burden to her life, which she wishes to live in freedom from her children. Also, Amanda yells at Tom saying that he is selfish. In my opinion, Amanda is more selfish than Tom is in this parody because although she knows that Tom wants to leave for adventure and become a merchant marine, she demands that he be with the family for financial support until Lawrence finds someone (someone else to support Amanda and Lawrence in place of Tom). Furthermore, although Amanda is less annoying and nagging towards her children in the parody, she is more inconsiderate and insensitive than she was in The Glass Menagerie; she directly tells her children that she wants to “get rid of them” so that she could live in freedom. In For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls, Tom is portrayed as uncaring towards his sibling and even more impatient than he was in The Glass Menagerie. Irritated and tired of waiting for someone to open the door, he kicks the door down in order to go into his house. In The Glass Menagerie, Tom at least felt pity for Laura and actually felt bad for her and her fragile conditions, but in For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls, Tom is very insulting and inconsiderate because he calls Lawrence “four eyes” even when Lawrence does not wear glasses and because he lists all of Lawrence’s “ailments” in front of Ginny, not respecting Lawrence’s privacy and not considering Lawrence’s embarrassment.
    Although the parody was only a scene long, it brings up all the major events of the plot and very humorously alters the characterizations of the characters in The Glass Menagerie. By adding humorous aspects to the original play, For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls effectively provides a parody of The Glass Menagerie: the magnifications of the characters’ most noticeable features and traits efficaciously mock the original play.

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  54. I think "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls" is an effective parody of "The Glass Menagerie" but I wouldn't say it's satirical. The play is definitely amusing, especially if you've read the WIlliams play first, but Durang seems to be intent on making fun of the original characters by comically exaggerating their situations. Then again, I partly agree with Adrian because it's difficult to tell whether the Wingvalleys' attitudes are different to those of the Wingfields simply as a result of the play taking place in more modern times. Still, I don't think this means that the play is not a parody inspired, perhaps, by Durang's frustration at Laura.

    I think part of the reason why Durang chose to portray Laura's equivalent as a man (Lawrence) was so that he could be more critical of her. In "The Glass Menagerie" even if readers felt frustrated by Laura's shyness and insecurity, they might have been more sympathetic towards her and less scrutinizing simply because she is a woman and it is not too bad, after all, to be reserved and acquiescent in such case. On the other hand, since Lawrence is a man, described as being well into his twenties, the readers will probably be more willing to criticize him for his lack of assertiveness and confidence, and a rather deficient masculinity. Basically, Durang is trying to hold Laura to higher, and more modern, standards and is encouraging criticism by switching her gender, while is still referring to the same persona.

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  55. For whom The Southern Belle Tolls follows from the works of the original play, The Glass Menagerie. However this time it serves as a parody, to making comical comments on the characters especially Laura. This parody is a response to laura's sensitivity and ignorance to the outside world which led to the readers being annoyed of her.

    Like everyone else said, the characters are similar in contrast to the plays. Both plays share a Tom and Amanda, but differentiate in Laura and Jim. I think the writer of "For whom the Southern Belle Tolls" thought it would amuse the readers if he changed opposite sexes. The writer expresses Laura's churlish, irritating self through Lawrence and Ginny displays the opposite of Jim's character in the Glass Menagerie. Amanda is more direct with her thoughts and Tom shows less affliction towards Lawrence in the parody than the original play. Amanda in the Glass Menagerie was very caring and affectionate to her children. Although she worried for the financial success of her family, at one point she felt that her devotion to her children made her a “witch”. Whereas, in the parody, Amanda is depicted as a witch with no care for Lawrence and Tom. Ginny is the opposite portrayal of Jim in the parody whereas in the Glass Menagerie, Jim is Laura’s only desire and wish. Ginny makes harsh remarks toward Lawrence and doesn’t show any sympathy or respect toward him. Tom is shown through the actions of a gay man, by saying that he went to watch the movie “Humpy Bus Boys”. He is also shown as violent and having a temper when Tom brings Ginny to dinner and Lawrence refused to open the door, so Tom knocks the door down. When Ginny was revealed that she was a lesbian, it shocked me! I didn’t expect her to be gay. However, her working in the warehouse with men and having no interest in them could foreshadow that she is.

    Although, this may not be relevant to the topic, when Lawrence calls Ginny a “dyke”, the movie “Mean Girls” came to mind. I also noticed that the parody contains a lot of profanity which could probably foreshadow the writer’s hate towards Laura’s character or the original work of the Glass Menagerie. To add on to this, I would also say that I thought that Tom told Ginny to act deaf to trick Lawrence and Amanda towards the end. Do you think that there’s something behind Ginny being deaf? I also noticed that the father was not mentioned at all in the “for whom a southern belle tolls” like in the Glass Menagerie. Could there be an effect or difference to this?

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  56. From my opinion I think the parody "For whom the Southern Belle Tolls" is a perfect parody of the Glass Menagerie. I agree with the writer of the Parody how Laura was getting annoying. I was getting tired of Laura always being shy and not really changing her life. I wanted Laura to express herself more and stop acting childish by how she just stays home or doesnt really talk. At least Jim finally got her out of her shell a little bit but to bad he acted like a jerk with his girl friend and every thing.

    I like how the writer made Laura Lawrence in his parody. It really mocked Laura because Lawrence is a guy is exaggerates how Laura acts. Guys are shown as more masculine and can handle anything but Lawrence is faking all his injuries ridiculing how Laura needed to suck up every thing and be more expressive or grow up. Its funny how the writer makes Tom and Amanda in the parody just dont really care about Lawrence like how they call him "idiot" or "four eyes" is just mocking The glass menagerie showing that those two should of been more realistic with Laura because maybe she would have been less shy and more expressive.

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  57. I think the effect that the parody has on the original "The Glass Menagerie" is that it amplified everything. For example the characters, it portrayed them in ways that they were not intentionally meant to be, but that it may have came across that way. Like with Amanda from "For whom the Southern Belle Tolls" she is very upfront with Lawrence and how she feels about him like wanting him to get out of the house and she thinks he is basically hopeless and pathetic. But in "The Glass Menagerie" Amanda would never say anything like that.. but deep down inside thoughts like that probably would have come across her mind, and at times she would have felt like that towards Laura.
    -Ariana Velazquez period4

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  58. Yes, I think Christopher Durang's one-act play is an effective parody of Tennessee Williams's "The Glass Menagerie" because his one-act play ridiculed or criticized Williams's work and style, which is basically the meaning of parody. Also, "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls" gave a comic effect from imitating "The Glass Menagerie," which is an additional definition of parody. Beginning the play, Durang already included a comic effect when Lawrence said "I have a pimple on the back of my neck," which is a little bit weird because it is not usual to get a pimple on the backside of a neck. Also, Amanda's temper and attitude towards Lawrence is much different from how Amanda is to Laura in "The Glass Menagerie." For instance, Amanda in Durang's play straightforwardly gives the impression that she wants to disown or get rid of Lawrence, while in Williams's play, Amanda somehow shows affection to Laura. Amanda in Durang's play ridicules the character Amanda in Williams's play beginning with their attitude. Durang's Amanda is characterized to be impatient and straightforward, she even tells Lawrence, "you're so sensitive it makes me want to hit you." As a parody, I think Durang changed the collection of glass animals from Williams's play to a collection of glass cocktail stirrers because it gives a comic effect especially that Lawrence, a guy, is the one who owns a collection of glass stirrers. In addition, Durang's one-act play is an effective parody of "The Glass Menagerie" because in his play, Lawrence gives his glass stirrers obvious names such as "Blue because it's blue" while in "The Glass Menagerie," Laura does not even name her glass animal collection. Moreover, Durang's one-act play ridicule and gives a comic effect of Williams's play by making Amanda say horrible things such as "Oh if only I had connections in the Mafia, I'd have someone come and break both your legs." Amanda is very unmotherly towards Lawrence and even says, "you really get on my nerves. Limping around the apartment, pretending to have asthma." Furthermore, I noticed that Tom was not really part of the play as he was on "The Glass Menagerie," however, his character has not changed as much except the fact that he was described to break down the door because he could not wait for Lawrence to open it. In addition, Durang's play is an effective parody of "The Glass Menagerie" because of Ginny and Jim, who basically were opposite according to their characters.

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  59. Ginny was characterized to be someone who speaks very loudly and cannot understand simple things that Amanda, Tom, and Lawrence says. In contrast, Jim is described to be calm and attentive. Durang's play ridiculed "The Glass Menagerie" also by giving the reason that Ginny is speaking very loudly because she is "taking a course in public speaking." Jim was also taking a course in public speaking but it was because he thought of "executive positions." The most funniest part of the play that accounts for the comic effect part of the meaning of parody was when Ginny was not understanding the things Amanda was saying. Ginny was misinterpreting the words that came out of Amanda's mouth such as Freddy for ready, popsicle for popular, scenery for machinery, gator ade for hearing aid and bread for bed. In contrast, Jim in "The Glass Menagerie" was smart and very attentive who was admired by Amanda. Also, "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls" is an effective parody of "The Glass Menagerie" because of the instance that pleurosis, as the original illness of Laura became pneumonia as the changed illness for Lawrence. Also, to ridicule or criticize "The Glass Menagerie," Durang included the fact that Ginny puts Lawrence's glass stirrer named Q-Tip in her ear because of the name and another glass stirrer put up to his nose because it was named Pinocchio. Ginny, Amanda, and Lawrence gave the comic effect as they talk because of Ginny's poor hearing condition that led to Ginny's different understanding of the words said. Also, "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls" is an effective parody because there was another comic effect that ridiculed "The Glass Menagerie," which was the part when Lawrence copies Ginny. It was like they were playing a game where Lawrence just copies exactly what Ginny says and how she says it. Towards the end, Ginny was somewhat like a hypocrite who came in the picture to pretend that she likes Lawrence but truthfully, she is a lesbian who "is involved with a girl named Betty." Sadly, Ginny was asked to leave the house but before she left, Lawrence gave her a souvenir of one of his glass stirrers, the thermometer, that she directly broke in front of Lawrence, which ridicules "The Glass Menagerie" because Jim was not like Ginny who is careless.

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  60. Moreover, the largest part of the play that made me laugh hard was when Ginny was departing saying "I said I'm hungry" and Amanda responding, "Really, dear? What part of Hungary are you from?" HAHAHA (: As usual though, Tom decides to go to the movies to escape her mother and all the things that seems to give him stress. However, Tom still cares for his mother and his brother, which is evident when he says, "I find myself thinking of my brother Lawrence. And of his collection of glass. And of my mother." Tom is barely mentioned in Durang's play while Tom on WIlliam's play was a lot mentioned. I noticed that Lawrence became the main subject of Durang's play, which ridicule's Williams's play because Tom was there the main subject. Lastly, at the very end of Durang's play, Lawrence names one of his glass stirrers "Mama," which he dropped because of his temper about his mother, and the way the play present the scene was very funny and interesting. Durang's "For Whom the Souther Belle Tolls" is a very effective parody of "The Glass Menagerie" for all the reasons that Durang completely ridiculed or criticized Williams's work and style and also the fact that Durang made his one-act play deliver a very comedy-like style that imitates Williams's beautiful play.

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  61. After reading most of the comments/entries posted here I can't help but agree with almost all of them

    But, For Whom The Southern Belle Tolls I feel it is an effective parody. Mainly because you can definitely see the connections between this play and that of The Glass Menagerie. Also it doesn't really stray from the main point of the Glass Menagerie, all it does it make it a really humorous play. Very enjoyable to, I have to say I actually enjoyed reading this play.

    Now to talk about the characters..

    Tom in For Whom to my taste is very funny, mostly because of the way he addresses his brother Lawrence. Although it seems mean, most should agree that its funny in someway. Plus, Lawrence deserves it. He refuses to leave the house and makes pitiful excuses. Very exaggerated version of Laura yes, but true. Amanda's thoughts are exactly what I thought them to be when reading The Glass Menagerie, because dealing with a child like Lawrence must be extremely stressful and annoying. It made me laugh how Amanda would outright say her thoughts. Which wouldn't always be very nice things.

    Thats why I think its an effective Parody

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  62. Okay, so there's so many comments and I don't have the time or the patience to read all of them (: So, I'll just say some of my theories! Here we go! I don't know if anyone noticed that the magazine subscriptions Amanda calls for is called "Companion". I think this is relevant to the fact that Amanda is constantly trying to find the right companion or "gentleman caller" for Laura. Also, I actually didn't see the Model for Laura at the very end of the play but when I read it, I thought it was interesting that Laura was modeled after William's sister, whose name happens to be Rose. I felt kind of smart when I put two and two together that "Blue Roses" refers to William's sister, Rose.
    On another note, I was wondering if anyone thought that Amanda's feelings in both The Glass Menagerie and For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls represents the audience's feelings towards Laura/Lawrence. For example, in the Glass Menagerie, Laura is pictured as an overly shy, self-conscious girl in which the audience is made to feel sorry for. This correlates to the fact that Amanda is protective and tolerate of Laura. However, Lawrence is whiney and constantly complains. A lot of the people during the socratic seminar said they wanted to smack him. Their emotions tie into Amanda's direct annoyance of Lawrence. Maybe? Maybe not? It's just an observation!

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  63. One more thing! I noticed while I was rereading the play that around pages 332 that they repeated the words "gaily" and "gay". It reminded me of For Whole the Southern Belle Tolls and maybe that's the reason the parody portrayed Tom as gay and Ginny as a lesbian.
    Question! Do you guys think that the time frames are the same for both plays or different?

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  64. After comparing the two texts, I came to realize a reoccuring theme that stood out in both the original play and the parody.

    I believe that one of the notable themes in the The Glass Menagerie is the individual failure of each character. In Christopher Durang's For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls, this effective parody only emphasized the faults of each character. Laura's naive, frail character became the hypersensitive and paranoid Lawrence, emphasizing that the role is more pathetic coming from a man (Thanks to Darla). Amanda's character in The Menagerie offered an affectionate, protective mother who only wanted the best for her children.In the parody, she was characterized as a blunt and arrogant women who was sorry she ever had children, especially with disabilities. The respectful Jim became the afflicted, lesbian Ginny, who was taken as a joke with her oblivious hearing imparement.

    Now Tom in the Menagerie was a very conflicted character to start with. He felt the obligation to step into his father's head-of-the-family position in his absence, but sacrificing his freedom as an adult in doing so. Even through his bitterness, he still holds up the family by being there for his sister. I found it rather odd that in the parody Tom's sense of responsibility dropped, no affection, and a miserable attitude. He came out to be crude in the way he verbally abused Lawrence. But because this is an effective parody, the offensive remarks and extremities in character roles mock the play in a light-hearted way.

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  65. "For Whom the Southern Bell Tolls" is a very effective and good parody in my opinion. However, there were many comments that I noticed that said that thisd play is actually ridiculing "The Glass Menagerie" in a way. I completely disagree with this. The reason being that the author of this parodic play, Cristopher Durang, said that he found some of the characters in the play, particularly Laura, to be quite annoying. This does not necesseraly means that he disliked the entire play however. He was merely annoyed with the way that Laura behaved. It is because of this that Lawrance, the Laura in "For Whom The Southern Bell Tolls" is greatly exaggerated and extremely annoying. He tells everyone about his collection of swizzle sticks which he names a variety of nonsensical names. In my opinion he may be autistic due to the unusual nature of these actions. While other characters in the play were also greatly ridiculed by the author. However, I believe this was merely for the sake of the parody and to take a chance to put some more humor into this play.
    Speaking of humor, I presonally did not find this play funny. Its attempts at humor are through use of many hyperboles that obviously try to be funny but in my opinion end up lacking and only being stupid. An example of this would be when Lawrence tells of his swizzle stick named Henry Kissinger merely because he wears glasses and the stick is made of glass. This is a sore attempt at humor and also one reason for my assumption of Lawrence's character's possible mental defficiency.
    In conclusion, I believe that "For Whom The Southern Bell Tolls" is a very good and effective parody that is much more enjoyable to read than "The Glass Menagerie". However, it is true that this play would not have been enjoyable at all without prior knowledge of "The Glass Menagerie" as well.

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  66. Something i noticed about for whom the southern belle tolls was the sexual content, such that in the glass menagerie it was mentioned in the handout of scene 5 "and sex that hung in the gloom" pretty much showing Tom's dislike of the city filled with vice. however in Durang's piece sex seemed ok, because Ginny is Lesbian and Tom goes to the movies to watch adult films. as opposed to Tom seeking adventure from movies. ironically in Durangs parody sex should have been more restricted due the family being Christian and because it takes place in the South.

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  67. well first of all, "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams, and the parody, "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls" by Christopher Durang, have different views on Laura/Lawrence. In the Glass Menagerie, Laura is characterized as very timid and fragile. Readers are drawn to feeling pity for Laura because of the fact her mother, Amanda, denies her feelings of deformity which just makes her feel less than perfect. However, in "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls" Durang changes the character from Laura to Lawrence, an overdramatic/overly sensitive boy with an annoying and whiny personality.

    Another difference occurs in the scene of the gentlemen caller that Tom brings home for Laura. In "The Glass Menagerie" Jim is engaged and helps build Laura's confidence. In "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls" Ginny is a girl and is gay...which leaves Lawrence very unsatisfied and upset.

    However, one main theme that remains the same in both plays is the fact that both have a sense of their characters living in a complete different world outside reality. Lawrence lives in his own "meaningless glass world" full of the uncreativity of "swizzle sticks" while Laura also lives in her own little world of glass animals symbolizing her delicate and fragile nature.

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  68. First of all I personally thought this parody of the Glass Menagerie was very amusing and random. The dialogue between the characters was full of complete nonsense, however is did actually have a point. The characters traits are amplified in "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls", pretty much meaning that any flaws or personality traits the characters exhibited in the Glass Menagerie, Durang made sure to express the same personality traits in his play but with extreme exaggeration. Laura’s humble yet shy and quiet character transforms into Lawrence, a shy yet annoying and almost obnoxious individual.
    I especially thought the part when Lawrence began to rant on about his cocktail stirs, describing each ones name in fascination, was hilarious. Durang is mocking Laura’s odd obsession by comparing something more complex (Laura’s glass figurines) to something so simple and bland (Lawrence’s “swizzle sticks”). Through his direct imitation character, Durang has created, he completely supports his statement from the passage “..as a child I always felt sympathy for Laura, as an adult I started to find Laura’s sensitivity frustrating.” Lawrence’s obnoxious character depresses the author’s true feeling for how he viewed Laura, in the Glass Menagerie.

    I do disagree with Ricky’s opinion of the parody being offensive. Yes it does touch on soft subjects, and its vulgar language does not make it appear to be the most admired piece of writing, however Durang is showing his feelings toward the play, and how he interprets each characters words and actions. I even kind of like the parody Durang created, though it is full nonsense it had parts that actually made me laugh out loud, like when Tom physically kicked the door in. I don’t think anyone say that coming.

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  69. I also thought that Tom and Amanda’s personalities in the parody were extremely exaggerated, compared to their original characters. Amanda, first of all was much less confident of Lawrence in then play, then she had been for Laura. Her selfishness also showed through much more, especially with comments like “.. we have got to find some nice girl who’s willing to support you. Otherwise, how am I ever going to get you out of this house and off my hands.” This definitely emphasizes on Amanda’s self-centered obsession for her own pleasures. Tom on the other hand seams to be full of anger and hate, but he is open to express it with his family, unlike his bottled up emotions in the Glass Menagerie. Many of the words and actions he takes in the parody are so surprising that they almost appear ridiculous. When Tom was upset with Laura in the Glass Menagerie he would not openly yell at her, but in the "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls" Tom not only gets mad at Lawrence he insults him using cruel words, like in the expert “Why must we go through this every night??? You know the stupid fuck won’t open the door, so why don’t you let him alone about it? He thinks people will notice his limp and his asthma and his eczema.” Tom never would have said something so vulgar to Laura, she would have been devastated. However, Lawrence comes off to be much less intelligent and open to insult, without any defense on his part. Ginny was on of my favorite characters, just because she was so loud and dim witted.



    At the beginning I debated why the author would choose to switch the sexes of the characters. A sensitive mamas boy who stays home waiting to be courted, and a warehouse-working woman. They both don’t really fit the right personas. Fortunately, after reading Gi Hye’s comment, I agree with her idea that Durang used the opposite sex to keep the play interesting. By giving the characters opposite sexes the readers have something new to contemplate.

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  70. Han and Bonnie both support the fact that parody rewrites the characters with over exaggerated personalities, which I totally agree with:]
    One last subject I wanted to touch on was the author’s use of maybe. He brought up his reasoning for why he used the word maybe rather than other words, but I just found I very interesting the way he put it in context.

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  71. So my first impression of "The Glass Menagerie" was almost overwhelming. I felt like the play needed to continue and that I hadn't yet finished hearing all that was left to the story in what was to come for these characters that I had grown to accept and feel for. Amanda and her know-it-all attitude and obnoxious confidence were driving me crazy. But then getting past the character that she is, i felt the pity toward Laura and Tom for their unfortunate situaion. Laura is obviously a character that has been created to be seen as a weak person and is shown through her insecurities, her physical handicap, her lack of social skill or need, and her strange obsession with her glass menagerie. Likewise, In the Southern Bell Tolls, Lawrence is crying out for attention constantly and driving his whole family insane. I think the fact that there was a switch in the gender roles for the parody, adds to the point of Laura's character being pathetic and weak. By showing similar attribute in a male, you can see how irritating this person is and are able to understand Tom's internal conflict about staying to care for his family or leaving hme to follow his dream.

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  72. Now Jim and Ginny.
    Whne I first read "For Whom The Southern Bells Tolls", I was almost angry when Ginny was ntroduced as Jim's replacement character. Jim played a patient, friendly gentleman, while Ginny was irritating and rude. I see how this plays a role in the parody by showing the opposite characteristics and draw attention to the details of Tom and Laura's relationship in "The Glass Menagerie". However, I still do not understand why this character change was completely necessary. Unless the parody was entirely written to make Laura seem completely stupid, it seems dumb to change everybody's gender, and in turn (seemingly) their character traits.
    There has to be somthing I'm missing.

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  73. eh, i agree with josh. i wish i went on this sooner -_-

    mkk so i skimmed through everyone's thoughts/ comments &i agree that "For Whom The Southern Bells Tolls" is a perfect parody for "The Glass Menagerie." The parody was HILARIOUS :P I'm just going to start with whatever comes to mind (: I noticed that Christopher Durang had changed the sex of Laura into being a guy, Lawrence. Durang showed his ridicule of Laura's annoying and frustrating character through Lawrence's over dramatic whining and what not. The fact that Lawrence is a guy and is constantly complaining about his asthma, eczema, and leg, makes it even worse knowing that he's being such a girl. When i was reading "The Glass Menagerie" i started getting annoyed of Laura being so sensitive. In the play the mother, Amanda, showed sympathy and cared for her daughter because of how fragile she was. You can say that Tom was her foil, as he wanted to be free and desired to live in the outside world. However, in the parody, Amanda was nagging on Lawrence to do simple tasks such as opening the door. The way Amanda encouraged Lawrence to come out of his shell wasn't in a 'motherly' way, rather being cruel as she made jokes that supposedly would trigger Lawrence's asthma. The parody truly brought out the way the characters in "The Glass Menagerie" are presented. These are probably how they really are in reality.

    On another note, i agree with i think it was jennica who said that quote about its unfeminine to be the only girl working at a warehouse or something. If Ginny was the only girl working in a warehouse, that must have affected her orientation. She became one of the guys. Also, in the play Laura was suppose to get gentlemen callers but in the case of the parody, Lawrence was suppose to get 'lady callers,' but really, he got a gentleman caller ahah. Another ridicule was that, not only did Laura get turned down because Jim was engaged, Lawrence was put into a worser situation. Ginny was lesbian. Just to point out, Ginny mentioned that you can call her Ginny or Gin, and gin is im guessing a type of alcohol, or is alcohol. In the play, Amanda disapproved of drinking, this then accumulates to the effectiveness of the parody because Amanda is all about getting drunk to survive the event of Ginny meeting Lawrence.

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  74. Continuing about Ginny, we are aware that she is talking loudly because she is practicing her public speaking. Her poor hearing may have came from working with the machinery at the warehouse &from this i noticed that since she cant clearly hear what everyone says, it affects the way each character reacts. For example, towards the end where Lawrence was giving Ginny one of his swizzle sticks as a souvenir, she automatically thought he said queer. After the event of her throwing the stick, aka thermometer, Lawrence was filled with anger. These swizzle sticks are a dear significance to him and once one had broke, it seemed like his inner self came out as he started yelling and throwing a fit. He was being protective of his collection. In the play, the glass unicorn's horn had came off from when Jim and Laura were dancing. The horn coming off represents all that he has taken from her.

    Going back to when Tom calls Lawrence 'four eyes.' In our socratic seminar, no one was quite sure about the reason why he called him by that name. I say that since Lawrence already has all these things wrong with him, he might as well be like a geek/ nerd. OR i thought that from when Amanda said her children had such an imagination and even though all swizzle sticks must have looked alike, in his EYES they had their own name and characteristic in a way. This what happens when you imprison yourself from the world, you start making things up in your head. Just like an immature little kid.

    Lastly, i thought that the parody was more focused on Lawrence's annoying self, Tom was left alone. There wasn't much nagging coming from Amanda, contrasting from the original play. Since Tom was sort of in his own world as well, the truth was revealed that he goes to the movies with the 'boys.' So he possibly is gay! okkkkie dokes. the end.

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  75. I believe the parody "For whom the Southern Belle Tolls" was effective because of its constant use of exaggeration. Every character in the "Glass Menagerie" is extremely heightened when it comes to their words or actions.

    The change of Laura being a man in the parody added to the comedy within the play. The writer could have done this for a number of reasons. I think since laura is now a guy, it was reasonable to say he could now have tom treat laurence in a cruel way such as making fun of him constantly and putting him down. If the writer had not changed laura into a man then it would not have had the comic style but maybe a more discriminative style towards women. That is my opinion.

    Commenting on Junajp Per 3, I think the loudness of ginny allowed Lawrence to come out of his shell(free from his shyness). In "the glass menagerie" Jim was very passive and calm and the writer of "For Whom The Southern Belle Tolls" replaced him with Ginny who was very loud and sort of deaf. This caused all the characters to show their true selves as Ginny basically tested their patience.

    I think the parody really brings out the character of Laura/Lawrence. Throughout the play, Amanda emphasizes on charm and vivacity. She thinks that Lawrence should practice that because she feels he doesnt have any of it. Toward the end , after the situation with ginny, Amanda states, "your so predictable, Lawrence. Its part of your charm, i guess". She then realizes that he is charmful in his own way and that she shouldnt try to push what is not there, just like in the "glass Menagerie"

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  76. I hope I'm not repeating anything, but I'm really not going to read through 70+ comments, sooo...
    "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls" is a parody of "The Glass Menagerie", as seen through the the characters Laura from "The Glass Menagerie" and Lawrence from "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls". Laura/Lawrence resemble each other in which they both are terribly shy. However, in "The Glass Menagerie", Amanda is more caring toward Laura and pushes Laura to be more social, and accepting to society in a warmer way than Amanda wished for Lawrence from "For Whom the Southeren Belle Tolls". In the parody "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls", Lawrence is shown to be sensitive in an almost annoying way, whereas Laura from "The Glass Menagerie" was sensitive in such a way that made the reader want to care for her. In "The Glass Menagerie", Laura was portrayed as helpless and crippled, and a misfit to society in contrast to Lawrence from "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls", where Lawrence is a male with somewhat "feminine" characteristics, and perhaps whiny.

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