Essay about Facing Reality in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

Essay about Facing Reality in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

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The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams was a confusing, astounding, and wonderful play that takes an in depth look at the complex relationships that develop between members of a family and then presents them for the audience's dissection. How did the characters in the play interact? What were the independent and dependent relationships between the characters? Perhaps most important, how did they cope with one another? That seemed to be the key question when looking at The Glass Menagerie. Each character had their own method for dealing with the others and reality, primarily by not truly dealing with them and it. Amanda, the father, Laura, Tom, and even Jim, each character in this story had their own way of escaping reality; however, none were truly successful in that endeavor. This essay will look at each character and their method of escapism, but perhaps there was a larger message to be gained from Tennessee Williams hidden within this study of human dysfunction. Perhaps it was the implication that no matter how far a person runs, physically, mentally, or emotionally, no one can truly escape reality forever in favor of fantasy.
Living separated from her husband in a time when a woman's power came largely from her husband, Amanda's fixation on her former beaus and how well off they left their widows (Williams 390) showed a certain preoccupation and fear with how her own future would be settled without a husband. Escaping into the past and placing her fears and hopes for the future onto her children, Amanda seemed to rate her life through their successes and failures. When Laura dropped out of business college and then lied about it (Williams 391-392), it was “we” not “you.” When Laura's hopes for a happy match with ...


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... it is fitting that they were written by Williams himself. With many similarities to Williams's own family history, his own brother called The Glass Menagerie "a virtually literal rendering of our family life," (Teachout 1), perhaps this play was a grand way for Williams to revisit his past and his regrets over the way his sister was treated. Or perhaps like Tom it was merely another means of attempted and failed escape. Whatever way the play was interpreted, one thing seemed clear. In every instance except one, whenever an individual tried to escape their reality, it quite solidly came right back to them. Perhaps, like Tom, Williams found that no matter how far he ran or how successful he thought his escape, there was no way to truly escape reality and that was his grand message with the play. Do not fear being different, stop running, and face life head on.

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