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The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

-Joseph K. Davis, " Landscapes of the Dislocated Mind in Williams'

'The Glass Menagerie'," in Tennessee Williams: A Tribute

Tom and his sister Laura is symbolically the actual glass menagerie, the play belongs to neither of them. The play belongs to their mother, Amanda, as substantiated by

the above quote from Joseph K. Davis. Amanda indulges herself in

memories of the past and refuses to accept the present. The play is

also hers because it is her "tragedy". It is about how she behaves

after her husband leaves her and her reaction when her son shows signs

of doing the same. She also controls the two conflicts of the play, as

well as the glass menagerie represents her fragile world of illusions

and memories of the past.

Amanda's control over the two conflicts of the play exists in the fact

that she creates them. She supplies the conflict between herself and

Tom as well as provides the conflict of having Laura marry. In the

case of Tom she constantly nags him and questions where is he.

Is going and then openly states her doubts of his truthfulness. Her

nagging starts in the beginning of the play in her conversation with

Tom, in which she tells him how to eat his food. Later she tells him

how costliness of his smoking habit, " You smoke too much. A pack a

day at fifteen cents a pack. How much would that amount to in a month?

". Later in the play she also manages to comment on Tom's appearance

and how she wished he would take better care of himself in that

respect. She also accuses Tom of lying about where he is going at

night. When he says that he is at the movies she states that he could

not possibly be going to the movies every night, " Nobody goes to the
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...longer a Southern Belle just standing around

waiting for rich men to come by and propose.

By her speaking like a Southern Belle, she is connected her to the

world she creates of illusions and the one for show. The connections

are achieved by the fact that in the past she was Southern Belle with

many rich suitors vying for her hand in marriage. This is also an

illusion because she is no longer a Southern Belle but tries to

maintain that front.

It is also this connection to her illusions of the past that combines

the proof that this is her play. She is the one who creates the world

she lives in to protect herself from the tragedy of her husband

leaving her. She is also the one who causes the conflict of the play

out of her illusions of the past and therefore she is the person who

dramatizes the tragedy of not living honestly and fully in the

present.
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