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Essay on the Theme of Escape in The Glass Menagerie

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The Theme of Escape in The Glass Menagerie

 
The Glass Menagerie, a play by Tennessee Williams, is set in the apartment of the Wingfield family, housing Amanda Wingfield and her two children Tom and Laura. The father left many years ago, and is only represented by a picture on the living-room wall. The small, dingy apartment creates a desperate, monotonous feeling in the reader. None of the Wingfields has any desire to stay in the apartment, but their lack of finances makes it impossible to move. Escape from this monotonous and desperate life is the main theme throughout the play.

The different characters in 'The Glass Menagerie' have their own individual ways of escaping from their realities. Tom Wingfield, the main character and narrator, probably has the one that most clearly relates to what we usually call escaping. His dream is to get away from the entire place in which he is currently living. He is tired of supplying his mother and sister without getting anything but remorse in return. Early in the play we can see this urge to get away through his frequent visits to the movie theatre. To him the movies serve as windows into another world, an exiting world filled with fun and challenges. Another thing that it is worth mentioning when speaking about this is Amanda's attitude towards the movies. She thinks that he spends too much time on the movies, and she keeps haunting him for it. I believe that this is supposed to tell the reader that Amanda has some kind of feeling that Tom sometime will follow in his fathers footsteps, and that she is trying to prevent this from happening. For Amanda this is a very natural reaction; with Tom out of the apartment there would be nothing left for her and her daughter to feed from....


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...ot a way of solving your problems, and that true freedom only can be found through confronting your problems, not by running away from them.

Works Cited and Consulted:

Bloom, Harold. Introduction. Tennessee Williams. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1987. 1-8.

King, Thomas L. "Irony and Distance in The Glass Menagerie." In Tennessee Williams. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1987. 85-94.

Levy, Eric P. "'Through Soundproof Glass': The Prison of Self Consciousness in The Glass Menagerie." Modern Drama, 36. December 1993. 529-537.

Thompson, Judith J. Tennessee Williams' Plays: Memory, Myth, and Symbol. New York: Peter Lang, 1989.

Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie. In Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing, 4th ed. Ed. Edgar V. Roberts and Henry E. Jacobs. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1995. 1519-1568.


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