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glass menagerie

Powerful Essays
People constantly struggle to break free of the entrapments that they themselves and society bind them in. Peering through the lens in which Tom revisits his memories, readers see that his experiences reinforce the observation that Tom is the most trapped throughout the Glass Menagerie. Tom constantly retreats to the movies as an escape mechanism, but is only able to temporarily escape his home, not the life he lives. Tom is bombarded with responsibilities that tie him to his family and is burdened by the trappings of society that expect his submission to them. Tom is finally able to escape his home, but is not able to escape the trappings his family, society, and self have bound him in. Infinitely trapped by society, responsibilities, and guilt, Tom is ultimately the most tightly trapped throughout the Glass Menagerie, constantly searching for an escape from reality.
Trapped by the expectations society inflicts, Tom is unable to justifiably escape his family. Tom’s father, who had abandoned the family years before, is showcased before the household as a painful reminder of their broken family. As Eric Levy discusses in his article, “Through Soundproof Glass: The Prison of Self Consciousness”, his portrait hanging in the house serves as a reminder to Amanda and Laura of what had been, but to Tom is what could be; the father was able to escape his family and burdens, and therefore mirrors Tom’s ultimate desires (Levy, 4). However, it is clear that that the man of the household is expected by society to protect and support his family. The image of the father ultimately enforces the selfishness and immorality of leaving one’s family, and although it tempts Tom to follow in his footsteps, it deters him from ever doing so, fearing to ...

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Although Amanda and Laura clearly struggle with their entrapments, Tom’s family, society, and self, successfully catch him in snares that he fails to transcend. Society imposes the belief that Tom cannot rightfully leave his family, while the family itself traps him financially and manipulates his guilt into a snare as well. Therefore, when Tom does finally escape, he cannot transcend the guilt that ties him back home. With the fear of being trapped again tormenting his mind, Tom is never able to escape his traps in the first place. Tom’s trappings were dependent on society, his family, his guilt, and also the trappings of his family members, making it almost impossible for him to escape on his own. Considering the trappings of Tom, Amanda, and Laura allows the reader to see characters in their own light, rather than being blinded by Tom’s perspective.
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