Dreams and Escape in The Glass Menagerie

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Dreams and Escape in The Glass Menagerie None of the characters in The Glass Menagerie is capable of living in the present. Everyday life is so oppressive that each character, through their dreams, retreats into a fantasy world. This essay will examine the reality faced by Amanda, Tom, Laura and Jim and probe how, through their dreams, each character attempts to transcend reality. Amanda, having "lost" her husband and having to take care of her two children, namely Tom and Laura, who, in her eyes, are equally lost in their lives, leads a hard life. Having a son whom she considers unrealistic, daydreaming about becoming a recognized poet rather than staying committed to his present job, Amanda is not only overwhelmingly confused, but also perplexed about the future, of her children's and of her own. Worse still, the fact that Laura is crippled, which she refuses to acknowledge however, worries her even more, insofar as she tries to arrange everything for her 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 in making ends meet. Disappointed by Laura's inability to cope with the studies in the business school, Amanda cannot but desperately find her a reliable husband who can provide material and emotional security. But her flattering hope is 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 part inasmuch as Laura, in f... ... middle of paper ... ...entury American Drama. Vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1984. Falk, Signi. "The Southern Gentlewoman." Modern Critical Interpretations Tennessee Williams The Glass Menagerie. ed. Harold Bloom. NY: Chelsea House Publishers, 1988. Jackson, Esther Merle. The Broken World of Tennessee Williams. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1965. Levy, Eric P. "'Through Soundproof Glass': The Prison of Self Consciousness in The Glass Menagerie." Modern Drama, 36. December 1993. 529-537. Parker, R.B., ed. Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Glass Menagerie. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice, 1983. Thompson, Judith J. Tennessee Williams' Plays: Memory, Myth, and Symbol. New York: Peter Lang, 1989. Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie. Masterpieces of the Drama. Ed. Alexander W. Allison, Arthus J. Carr, Arthur M. Eastman. 5th ed. NY: Macmillan, 1986.
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