Comparative Literature: East & West 17

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Resembling the Demeter mother type,Regina is a domineeringmother figure whose energy is fascinating,though potentially destructive,to thedaughter's well-being.However,Regina,other than keeping the daughter toinnocence and dependency as Demeter tries for Persephone,by assigning her thealone duty of bringing the ailing Horace home from Baltimore,grants her chancesof growing up and taking responsibility.Regina rejects Addie's babying protectionof Alexandra and believes that the chance to accomplish such a duty alone wouldhave delighted a girl of Alexandra's age.A mother's urge for a daughter'sindependence,in Regina's case,seems to be part of her scheme to subdue herhusband.However,it is more than that for Regina,who insists she has always hadAlexandra's best interests at heart.“You're young;you shall have all the things Iwanted.I'll make the world for you the way I wanted it to be for me.”Reginatells Alexandra.When rejected by Alexandra of staying with her mother,Reginaexpresses her ambivalence of keeping Alexandra to herself or granting her freedomby repeating her decision that“l won't make you stay”.
Regina's strong personality,with detachment and determination,in contrast to aloving and communicative black mammy,Addie,and a father like Horace,alwaysin grief and prone to illness,form the antagonistic keynote in the mother-daughterrelation between Regina and Alexandra.Ungrateful and unsympathetic with hermother's confession,Alexandra resolutely ruptures with her mother by the end ofthe play in accompany with Addie.In the screenplay,Addie's taking over ofAlexandra,entrusted by Horace,is replaced by Alexandra's runaway with herboyfriend David,an added character.This change seems to grant themother-daughter relationship more resemblance to the Demeter-Persephoneseparation.In her mother-daughter relations,Regina tries to reunite with her motherand her daughter,but suffers repeated rejection.Alexandra's angry rejection ofRegina can be read as“the daughter's envy and resentment of mother's power,herattachment to and dependency on mother,and her need to define herself'.Hellman's plan for Alexandra,though not actualized in a third play of the trilogy,isan angry spinsterhood,conveying Alexandra's as well as Hellman's indecisiveperspective on mother-daughter relations and motherhood.
Comparative Literature: East & West 17