“The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams is a play based on the memories of narrator Tom Wingfield. The play is set in 1937, where Tom is an aspiring poet in St. Louis. Tom works in a shoe warehouse to support his mother Amanda and sister Laura. Throughout the play Tom describes the difficulty they all had accepting reality while trying trying to escape from the truth. This is portrayed though literary devices of theme, character, and symbolism.
Throughout “The Glass Menagerie” the most apparent theme of the play is the inability to accept reality. Each character subsides the real world in order to find comfort by creating their ...view middle of the document...
Amanda’s illusion of reality is primarily based on her denial.
The characters all show the impossibility to escape entrapment by Amanda from her past, Laura from her insecurities and Tom because of his longing for adventure and love for his family. Two realities Amanda refuses to acknowledge are the abandonment of her husband and the peculiarity of her daughter. Thus she often tries to escape through recollection of her earlier life when she lived in the south amongst the wealthy and refined society. She was unable to see the sadness that would occur in her future family life. All these memories just reminds her of poor judgment in picking Mr. Wingfield has her husband and wonders if life would be different if she chose someone else. Laura is emotionally and physically disabled in this play. She can’t escape her insecurities of her crippled leg and hindering shyness. She uses her plays glass zoo figurines, her memories and music to try and escape but unfortunately she is not successful especially when she is the mediator for her family. When you read Tom in the play he is the main character feeling entrapped especially since he longs for adventure but feels obligated to his family. He loves his family and since his father abandoned them he feels obligated to take care of them but resents the fact he cannot go off and follow his dream of adventure. Tom uses movies and alcohol to imagine this exciting and adventurous life. However, since Tom feels obligated to not abandon his mother and sister, he tends to take it out on his mother and may even feel she is to blame.
Several symbols used in the play attempt to portray escape and the difference between reality and illusion. The title, “The Glass Menagerie,” informs us that the actual glass menagerie the the main symbol. Laura’s collection of the glass figures represents her own private world where she can feel safe. Laura finds a way to relate to the glass animals, especially the unicorn. Lauren say,...