"The Glass Menagerie" By Tennessee Williams

1824 words - 8 pages

The play, The Glass Menagerie , by Tennessee Williams portrays the escapisms and illusions of the Wingfield family, Laura, Tom and Amanda, and the varying degree of damage these indulgences cause to themselves and others. The difficult and trying situations in which the Wingfield family find themselves cause them to descend into a world of glass figures, past glories, and dreams of adventure. It is a world, though not real, that is more pleasant than the truth and this is alluded to from the conception of the play by Tom, the narrator:Tom: Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleave. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of ...view middle of the document...

It's nearly thirteenShe uses this glass menagerie as a way to escape the rigours of her everyday life. She does not fit into greater society. She cannot handle the rigours of the Business College, and cannot bring herself to meet Jim. These failures cause no end of damage to both herself and her family. Her mother, unable to accept that her daughter is socially inept and even slightly retarded is forced further within her own illusions of her glorious past. The pathetic and dependant nature of her life further adds to the torment of burden upon her brother. Even when she does interact with society, it is always under the spectre of her glass menagerie. In her conversation with Jim, which is undoubtedly the height of her social life, she only becomes comfortable when talking about her menagerie and as the unicorn brakes the conversation breaks down. However, when Laura does talk about her menagerie the parallels between her and the animals are clear.Laura: There now - you're holding him gently! Hold him over the light he loves the light! You see how the light shines through him!Just like the unicorn Laura is alone in the world, she too like the unicorn only needs someone to pay attention to her, nurture her, before she will shine. For her the light is the gentle attention she craves. Laura's inability to adapt to society has caused herself great damage as well as her family. Her mother, unable to see the faults in her child falls into illusions as well, remembering past glories and times long past.Through the failure of her own life, and the failures of the lives of her children, Amanda Wingfield clings to a pathetic re-interpretation of her lost youth. Amanda Wingfield is a classic southern belle character, a socially apt, polite and intelligent woman. Amanda was born a beautiful and witty young girl, well versed in the art of flirting with young men whilst keeping them at arms length. A life of comfort and financially happiness awaited her, with one of the many impressive young men who would call on her. However, instead of the idyllic lifestyle she was destined for, Amanda found herself the bitter wife of a "charmer" who also happened to be a bolter, a bolter who having taken her best years has now left. Now unable to live happily in her surrounds, Amanda has taken to recounting her life story to her children and more dangerously seeing them as faultless beings, much to their determent. Amanda also seems oblivious to the fact these stories have been retold countless times:Amanda: Sometimes they come when they are least expected! Why, I remember one Sunday afternoon in Blue Mountain -Tom: I know what's comingLaura: Yes, but let her tell itTom: Again?Laura: She loves to tell itAlthough it can be argued that she tells these stories primarily for her own benefit, it can also be said that she is trying to illustrate how successful the children can be. She works the demeaning and humiliating job of selling magazines to her peers, shamelessly working...

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