In The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams creates a world full of delusion and fantasy in which the characters are able to ignore the present. Each character develops their own world, far away from reality where they escape to so often sometime it's as they don't realize it isn't real. May it be through the written word, beautiful lyrics and distracting figures, or looking in the past reliving happy times, these characters choose to create a world where they are each in control of their lives. Each family member in The Glass Menagerie lives in a fantasy world to escape the reality of their sad lives.
The narrator, Tom, is a complex character. He finds his life to be restricting and boring. Tom feels, since his father left, a sense of responsibility for his mother and sister. Tom craves adventure and fun; he often has a warped sense of priorities. Every chance Tom gets while at work, he ...view middle of the document...
The matriarch of the family, Amanda, relives her past as a southern belle to escape the loneliness of her reality. Amanda resents her home, subconsciously seems like she also resents her family which keeps her there. She believes she is better than the poverty-stricken life she now has. Amanda is constantly imagining romantic escapades that swoops her sway from her depressing reality. She continuously repeats the story of the "one Sunday afternoon in Blue Mountain" when she received seventeen gentlemen callers (1195). She keeps herself surrounded by the menagerie and her memories as an easy outlet to escape. When she is back in reality, she tends to focus mainly on her daughters shortcoming. Amanda continuously brings up the fact that Laura isn't married and is fixated on finding a suitable husband. Amanda is constantly pressuring Laura to find a suitor and even enrolls her daughter in business classes to improve her chances of snagging a man (Smith). Amanda’s obsession with the past seems to be damaging factor to her children’s psyche.
The character least in touch with reality is Laura. The character is written much as a child. The shyness and anxiety ridden young adult is referred as having an "inferiority complex (1237)." The audience sees this when they find she stopped going to business school because she was physically becoming ill. Due to the fact she has become extremely dependence on Tom and Amanda, Laura is tragically unfit to survive in the brutal; taking care of the glass figurines gives Laura a sense of control she is unable to find anywhere else. Her glass collection and, in particular the unicorn therein, is a physical manifestation of her delicate mental state (Alonzi).
Ignoring reality only creates more problems. The audience blatantly sees this with Laura; only with a closer look does one notice Tom and Amanda hide from the truth that is reality as well. All these simulated worlds that the characters retreat to, leave them unprotected from the reality of the world. Being unprepared, Amanda, Tom, and Laura are tragically lost in their own dream worlds, far away from the present.