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Dreams of Escape in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams Essay

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   In The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams presents us with four characters whose lives seem to consist in avoiding reality more than facing it. Amanda lives her life through her children and clings to her lost youthfulness. Tom retreats into movie theaters and into his dream of joining the merchant seamen and some day becoming a published poet. Laura resorts to her Victrola and collection of glass ornaments to help sustain her world of fantasy. Finally, Jim is only able to find some relief in his glorified old memories. This essay will examine how Amanda, Tom, Laura and Jim attempt to escape from the real world through their dreams.

Amanda was abandoned by her husband and now must take care of her two children, Tom and Laura. Amanda considers Tom unrealistic, daydreaming about becoming a recognized poet rather than staying committed to his present job. Amanda is overwhelmingly confused and perplexed about the future. Worse still, the fact that Laura is crippled worries her even more. Amanda tries to arrange everything for Laura lest she will live paralyzed in the threatening world. Aware of the reality, she enrolls her in a secretarial course in the hope that she would become, if not successful in her career, at least independent. Disappointed by Laura's inability to cope with the classes in the business school, Amanda tries desperately find her a reliable husband who can provide material and emotional security. But her hopes are unrealistic. Not even having met Jim, the gentleman caller Tom brings home at her mother's request, Amanda, looking at the little, slipper-shaped moon, asks Laura to make a wish on it for happiness and good fortune to be brought by this gentleman caller, when it is just wishful thinking on her...


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...nd some relief in his glorified old memories saved by Laura and is overwhelmed by the magic of the American Dream. Like many great plays, The Glass Menagerie transcends time inasmuch as contemporary versions of the four characters abound in the ever-changing modern world. After all, these are the people to whom the play addresses today.

 


Work Cited

Williams, Tennessee.  The Glass Menagerie. 1945.  The Bedford Introduction to Drama. 5th ed.  Lee A. Jacobus, ed.  Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005.


Work Consulted

McHaney, Pearl A. Lecture on The Glass Menagerie. Engl 3860-American Drama. Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA. 20 June 2006.

Jackson, Esther Merle. The Broken World of Tennessee Williams. Madison: & of Wisconsin P, 1965.

Parker, R.B., ed. Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Glass Menagerie. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice, 1983.


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