Lorraine Hansberr'y a Rising in the Sun (1945) and Tennessee William's The Glass Menagerie (1945) raise ethical concerns reflecting an American way of life. The two books are similar in that they describe characters going through financial and hence emotional crises (Krasner 27). In addition they address similar social injustices and family issues. Notably, they examine characters trying to conquer obstacles to wealth and contentment. The two plays particularly reveal striking similarities between the two mothers; Lena Younger and Amanda wingfield (Krasner 28).
The two mothers desire only the very best for their children. Hansberry describes Lena Younger alias Mama; she refers to her children as her "harvest", she has no important visions of her own, she lives explicitly through her children, her children are her life (William 4). Her ambitions of owning a house are driven by only by her craving to improve the living standards of her family. One of the important points Hansberry focuses on in her A Rising in the Sun is Lena Younger's concern for her family, which is given emphasis especially in her passionate love for Travis, her grandson (William 6).
In some instance she gives excuses for his careless way of making his bed, as she does it correctly for him. She therefore spoils Travis and this leads to her acting as to interfere with her daughter - in -law. By the end of scene 2, we are left feeling that the rest of the family members are concerned with their own issues and it is only mama who is concerned about Ruth as she is the only one who senses that there could be something wrong with Ruth, even though Ruth herself insists on reporting to work regardless of her health. However, her fainting at the end of the scene is an indicator that she really needs medical attention.
Similarly, Amanda, the mother in Tennessee William's The Glass Menagerie, also wants the very best for her children, however she does not understand that what she wants for them is quiet different from what they want most. She dedicates her whole life towards making them happy because she wants to protect them from making the same mistakes she made; however in her devotion she has ended up making herself nagging and overbearing. Amanda found herself faced with worthless and empty life after her husband deserted her.
She therefore started formulating things to fill her life. This made her give herself too much to the children and started living through them, she therefore failed to recognize and appreciate her children's different personalities as she was reliving her own life and through this, she drove Tom away from home (Book Rags).
Unlike Amanda, Mama appears to be more adapted to enduring hardships and suffering. Mama's peace cannot be disturbed by the Lindners of the world as she has in the past endured the death of her baby and that of her husband of many years in the recent past. Mama has a strong faith and profound convictions of religion that have given her emotional and physical courage to ascend life's challenges. When she is at her lowest point in life, Mama prays to God to renew her failing strength and is soon obsessed with a more kindhearted view of Walter Lee's folly (William 39).
On the contrary, Amanda's world fluctuates between reality and illusion (Book Rags). She uses a number of escape mechanisms so as to tolerate her position in life at the present moment and whenever it is convenient for her, she shuts her eyes to the cruel, realistic world (Book Rags). When life becomes intolerable for her, she remembers her youthful days where in a Sunday afternoon; she would have seventeen gentlemen callers, at that time she lived at Blue Mountain. To escape from the toil of everyday life, she also gets involved in playful games. Amanda denies the fact that Laura is crippled, instead she assumes that Laura only has a slight physical impairment, she dreams of gentlemen callers that will come and sweep Laura off her feet some day. Amanda also denies the difference between her and Tom; she refuses to accept that some day, like his father, Tom will leave home in search of adventures (Book Rags).
The two mothers in the two plays hold onto family traditions they see breaking up before them. In Hansberry's A Rising in the Sun Mama's strength as her household's head is shown, she is seen as a woman who continuously instills the stern Younger delight in her children. Mama has conservative and old-fashioned views, which is seen when she portrays her believe that accepting such behavior as chauvinistic and "womanizing" behavior is a woman's lot in life. Mama slaps Beneatha when she displays arrogance by emphatically declaring loudly that there is no God, and forces her to state aloud that in her mother's house there is still God.
Later on, Mama acknowledges that there is a generational rift between her and her children, as her name Lena suggests, her family leans on her drawing from her strength to renew theirs.
On the other hand, Amanda Wingfield, to her children Tom and Laura, she is only an aging southern matriarch and belle. Amanda, because life passed by her, is seen as flighty and playful. She found herself living a meaningless empty life after her husband deserted her, however, she fluctuates between the world of reality and illusion, and this fluctuation is her security against boredom and emptiness of life (Book Rags).