In the 1930s, the people of America only wanted to believe that there was something bigger for them to still achieve. It was the time of the Great Depression and holding onto their dreams helped people survive. The idea of the American Dream itself included wealth, freedom, power and overall success. The American Dream believes that equal opportunity is available to all American to become successful. In the time of the Great Depression, so many people who believed in this Dream, also believed that money and materials could buy them happiness. Tennessee Williams, who was an American author, published his “memory play” called The Glass Menagerie”. This play set in 1937, in the height of the Great Depression. Williams creates real struggles through his characters who all believe that there could be something greater waiting for them if they keep working for it, but because of the situation they are trapped in, can never actually fulfill the life of the ideal American Dream. Tennessee Williams represents the pending American Dream through the characters of Tom, Laura and Amanda Wingfield.
Tom Wingfield, who is the narrator of the play, is a young man who is very unhappy. He has so many dreams of going far and becoming a famous writer, yet he seems bound to his house and that makes him miserable. Tom does not get along well with his mother and resents her, but stays for his sister who he loves very much even though she holds him back from living his dreams. He wants to have a prominent and successful future and live that ideal American Dream, but he is so conflicted internally that he cannot. A symbol that represents his desperation to leave is the fire escape in the Wingfield apartment. He states, “(The city) was burn...
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... her only hope for a stable future. Amanda dreams of her daughter getting married to a rich gentleman. After the truth of Jim O’Connor’s fiancé is exposed, Amanda is almost as heartbroken as Laura because she realized how unachievable her dream really is. Amanda says to herself, "Don't think about us, a mother deserted, an unmarried sister who's crippled and has no job" (391). She is so frustrated with failing time after time and she takes it out on Tom, who she already has much tension with. Tom is pushed over the edge and leaves them finally and unfortunately.
The Wingfield apartment is like a prison that Amanda and Laura never truly can escape from. Although they do believe in the American Dream, Amanda especially, they never can achieve it because they are trapped.
Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie. New York: New Directions, 1999. Print.
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