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Father and Son, Exit Stage Left; A Comparison and Contrast of Tom and His Father

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The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams is a character driven play, which follows Tom’s recollection of his dysfunctional family. Throughout the story Tom pursues a since of freedom and his mother, Amanda, pursues stability for her daughter but the daughter, Laura, herself is more concerned with keeping the peace in her family. While Laura doesn’t want to fall into hardships without the support of her brother and mother, she can’t seem to find the courage and confidence to ascend from her imaginary world that she has created to cope with life. Tom and Amanda are never really on the same page. Making matters worse is the fact that Amanda is a very powerful, strong willed character, which seems to provoke Tom’s desire to leave. In the background of this story lies a character often mentioned but never available to answer claims. The mentioned but absent character is Tom and Laura’s father, who left their mother in an attempt to free himself from the bonds of matrimony and the title of father. Tom is representative of his father in this story. Tom favors his father’s passion for freedom from the overstretching, imposing will of his mother, but Tom also differs in that he can not justify the abandonment of his sister without insuring his sister’s well being.

Amanda is leading Tom to leave home in much the same way as his father did; she even compares the two. Amanda says, “More and more you remind me of your father! He was out all hours without explanation! – Then left! Goodbye!” (Williams 1668). Amanda can see the similarities between Tom and his wayward father. She seems to realize that she doesn’t have a chance at changing his mind; instead she offers him an ultimatum that allows him to leave upon helping to find a suitable hu...

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...ovide for his family in his absence. Tom is indeed a fool but his consideration, which arises from a love for his sister, separates him from his father even if the conclusion draws him away from home.
Tom and his father are two men driven to the same conclusion by different modes. It is easy to assume that Tom’s character is only a parallel for his father. However, as the play develops Tom proves to be very dissimilar to his wayward father. While Tennessee Williams does intend for the reader to know why Amanda makes the comparison, he does not leave Tom to be a simple copy of his father. This makes the story more dynamic and helps to develop the denouement.

Works Cited

Williams, Tennessee. “The Glass Menagerie.” Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Ed. Edgar V. Roberts and Robert Zweig. 10th ed. Boston: Longman- Pearson, 2012. 1650-1697. Print.
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