Mary And The Children's Hour Grandmother Relationship

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Christopher Jackson Theatre 2367.01 Geoff Wilson 10 December 2014 The Lillian Hellman Hour Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour is the first in a long line of exemplary works by a talented artist. Each and every work by an author holds a little piece of them in it. Many have argued that for Lillian Hellman, the character of Mary is that piece. Various writers have drawn parallels between the early life of Lillian Hellman and the situation that Mary is in. Lillian Hellman herself said that she went through a rebellious streak and that Mary may have been based on these experiences. Few writers, however, see the parallel between the age of the characters Karen and Martha, and Lillian Hellman’s age when she wrote the play. All three can…show more content…
victimizer relationship. While some may see Mary as the victim, as Phillip M. Armato does, the argument falls flat because of the other characters’ relationships; the respect that the other children have for Karen shows her competence as a teacher, while Mary’s manipulation of her grandmother confirms her role as victimizer. The role of victim, victimizer however starts an interesting discussion. This kind of relationship between the characters becomes convoluted and all the more important when realizing that these characters are different representations of the author. By looking at the relationships between the different representations of Hellman and the other characters one can see more pieces of Hellman’s life. Mary’s failed attempt at manipulating Karen is a representation of how Hellman has grown, the childish schemes of her youth no longer affect her with her gained wisdom and experience. However they do influence Mrs. Mortar, a character of a dying era, one seemingly no longer relevant. Mrs. Mortar can be seen as a representation of a woman’s role in the recent past, her tutelage of her young charges reveals such wisdom as “Women must learn these tricks” in reference to a failed sewing attempt or “courtesy is breeding and breeding is most to be desired in woman.” Karen fails to see the worth is having Mrs. Mortar continue in teaching the children and asks Martha to dismiss her. This introduces another victim; Martha is a victim to her Aunt’s pushy, holier-than-thou attitude. Martha, while still a strong person, has a more submissive attitude than Karen, she seems more unsure of herself, especially when confronted by Mrs. Mortar. This further reveals Martha and Karen to be two sides of Hellman’s personality; Martha the young girl that has grown up within her “station” and is still strong and a benefit to society, but also the submissive girl that society wants her to be, and Karen “Wright” the

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