“Trying to Find Chinatown” and “The Glass Menagerie” Plays

Modern plays reveal the themes of social and political relations, but some of them try to comment on human relations and values. Thus we have two plays to argue about. Not even plays but main characters of these plays, which are the objects for our detailed look. Both plays are written in an extremely captivating manner.

Modern plays reveal the themes of social and political relations, but some of them try to comment on human relations and values. Thus we have two plays to argue about. Not even plays but main characters of these plays, which are the objects for our detailed look. Both plays are written in an extremely captivating manner, though the themes raised in the play “The Glass Menagerie” seem to be more interesting.

The first play is “Trying to Find Chinatown” written by David Henry Hwang who has an incredibly original manner of writing as he tries to combine American and Chinese traditions and techniques. The play by David Henry Hwang “Trying to Find Chinatown” tells about two men, one of them is searching for his Asian heritage, and the other is trying to shake himself free they encounter in New York City. All the play consists of dialogues and has few descriptions. The dialogues are written in simple, often slang language.

The next play I am going to comment on is “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams. This play raises problems of interrelations between the members of one family. The play “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams is written in the form of memories.

The narrator Tom is integrated into the play; he appears and represents the play as a memory, then he becomes part of the play and participates in its action. He introduces his mother and sister. Thus there are three main characters in the play; they are Tom the son of Amanda and at the same time the narrator of the play who introduces his family and then becomes its participant; Amanda is the mother of the family, a woman whose actions I am going to analyze; and Laura, a girl who considers herself crippled and different from other people, who collects figures of diverse animals made of glass. The play is called “The Glass Menagerie” not because of Laura’s passion to collect those glasses, but because of the main figure of her collection. It is a unicorn, a mystic animal that is believed to have one horn on its head and thus possessing magical powers considered to be a special, unique one.

I am going to analyze the character of Amanda, not Laura, as I believe it is Amanda who is the main character of this play, though the glass figures of Laura’s collection gave the name to the play. Amanda is a single woman, mother of two children. The older is Tom, her son, who works in the warehouse because I believe, his mother wanted him to. The second child is her daughter Laura, who is supposed to go to school, but does not attend classes; instead, she visits museums, a big glasshouse where they “raise the tropical flowers” and birdhouses in the zoo.

Amanda lives in the real world, but all her thoughts are directed into the past, to the times when she was a young girl and had gentlemen callers. Her words and thoughts during the play represent the sense of unreality she possesses but to the end of the play the things in her mind become clearer. All her statements are full of complaints and nagging even if they do not like nagging, the scene presupposes it.

The second play is “Trying to Find Chinatown” written by David Henry Hwang. The main characters are two men Benjamin and Ronnie which represent stereotyped versions of people of different races. The play tells about the discrimination, stereotypes and prejudices, knowledge of people about themselves. These two men symbolize races to which they belong in an exaggerated manner. I am going to analyze the Midwestern Caucasian young man Benjamin who has blond hair and blue eyes. His friend is a Chinese young Ronnie; he plays the violin. Benjamin tries to talk about some things, and Ronnie reflects all his attempts with fiery racism. As when Benjamin asks Ronnie to show him or tell him where Chinatown is, he receives nothing except aggression because of his nationality.

“Trying to Find Chinatown” by David Henry Hwang shows an entire dialogue between two men of about the same age. This dialogue is full of hatred, aggression, and racial discrimination. Benjamin tries to find his parents, as he was adopted by Chinese parents when he was a little boy. Benjamin was trying to find the place of his father’s birth, for this purpose he went to New York. During this trip this young man was trying to find his roots, to learn about himself, to acquire knowledge of himself.

Thus two plays raise different problems but do not solve any. The main character of “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams is Amanda who has nothing in common with Benjamin, the main character of “Trying to Find Chinatown” by David Henry Hwang. These two people are absolutely different; they belong to different age ranges, have different social statuses, occupations, sex, race, lifestyle, family position.

The only conclusion which can be made after having compared these two characters is that they have nothing in common. The woman Amanda is a housewife who has two children, her son pays the rent for the house and she does not want him to quit the job in the warehouse because it is the only way for her and her daughter to live, as they do not work anywhere. The young man Benjamin was adopted by Chinese parents and he is searching for his roots; he never knew the nagging of his true parents like the nagging of Amanda.

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NerdyTom. (2021, November 26). “Trying to Find Chinatown” and “The Glass Menagerie” Plays. Retrieved from https://nerdytom.com/trying-to-find-chinatown-and-the-glass-menagerie-plays/

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"“Trying to Find Chinatown” and “The Glass Menagerie” Plays." NerdyTom, 26 Nov. 2021, nerdytom.com/trying-to-find-chinatown-and-the-glass-menagerie-plays/.

1. NerdyTom. "“Trying to Find Chinatown” and “The Glass Menagerie” Plays." November 26, 2021. https://nerdytom.com/trying-to-find-chinatown-and-the-glass-menagerie-plays/.


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NerdyTom. "“Trying to Find Chinatown” and “The Glass Menagerie” Plays." November 26, 2021. https://nerdytom.com/trying-to-find-chinatown-and-the-glass-menagerie-plays/.

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NerdyTom. 2021. "“Trying to Find Chinatown” and “The Glass Menagerie” Plays." November 26, 2021. https://nerdytom.com/trying-to-find-chinatown-and-the-glass-menagerie-plays/.

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NerdyTom. (2021) '“Trying to Find Chinatown” and “The Glass Menagerie” Plays'. 26 November.

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