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The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

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In the book, The Glass Menagerie, the main characters want to leave behind what they are used to go after their own personal goals. Tom is a character who desires to leave his house to follow his father’s footsteps, but is obligated to stay to support his family. He feels the need to abandon all his problems and change his life’s fate. Through the symbol of the fireplace, Tennessee Williams suggests that people want to escape the confinements of reality to chase their dreams, but are restrained by their sympathizing emotions.
Tom’s attachment to the fire escape portrays his need to break free from life’s obstacles but not want his family to suffer. Tom continuously goes to the fire escape when he cannot face reality. As Tom introduces the house to the audience, he declares, “The apartment faces an and is and is entered by a fire escape, a structure whose name is a touch of accidental poetic truth, for all of these large buildings are always burning with the slow and implacable fires of human desperation” (3). “Human desperation” represents the problems that people face daily. These obstacles are like a “fire”, they keep getting larger. As the fire gets larger, Tom’s eagerness to leave gets stronger. The fire is a symbol of reality. Reality is full of difficulties which Tom chooses not to accept. He believes leaving will allow him to get rid of obstacles. One of his struggles is his mom’s criticisms. She always tells him what to do and gets in fights with Tom because she cannot forget about the past issues. He also feels trapped by his job. Tom works in a warehouse just for his family but does not want to live like this forever. He wants to do what his father did and be released from his restraints, but he is unable to. Each ...

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... he still feels guilt for leaving Laura behind. Tom cannot ignore his feelings towards Laura and accept letting her go. Tom is physically able to flee from his past and reality, but is unable to escape emotionally. Also, even a new life, filled with opportunities and self goals has troubles. Tom says that he does anything to keep busy so he can forget what he left behind. He is still not fully content with his life.
Tennessee Williams demonstrates that people tend to seek a way to escape their world of agony, but regret holds them back. The fire escape symbolizes Tom’s inability to truly leave. Facing reality is the only way that people can solve their problems and escape them. People can still have their own ambitions but they should not let them interfere with their present life. Running away does not solve anything .They will still be caught in reality’s traps.
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