The Glass Menagerie Is Responsible For The Dysfunction Of The Wingfield Family

The Glass Menagerie Is Responsible For The Dysfunction Of The Wingfield Family

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A child needs both of their parents’ love and affection while growing up. A child that grows up with both has a higher chance of being a more stable person. However, not all children have this luxury; some children are born into dysfunctional families that consist of only one parent like the children in the Wingfield family. “A study of 1,977 children age 3 and older living with a residential father or father figure found that children living with married biological parents had significantly fewer externalizing behavioral problems than children living with at least one non-biological parent” (Consequences of Fatherlessness). The absent parent in the Wingfield family affected everyone in the family, not only the children. The absent father, in the film The Glass Menagerie, is responsible for the dysfunction of the Wingfield family; his absence caused financial problems, resulted in Amanda’s extreme control over her children’s lives, and Tom’s adopting his father’s behavior.
Some would argue that the father’s departure in The Glass Menagerie is not responsible for the Wingfield family’s instability. They would say the Wingfield family’s dysfunction is due primarily because of the mother, Amanda. First, they suggest Amanda is too controlling over her children but they are not really children rather than young adults who can make their own decisions. This can be seen on the very first scene of the film when Amanda tells Tom, a grown man, that the way he was eating is wrong. She goes on and on, judging him on the way he is eating and that he should slow down and enjoy the meal. Tom, of course, becomes very frustrated with her on-going remarks of him eating that he tells her that she is getting annoying and decides to leave the kitche...


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...does not believe him and becomes afraid that Tom is becoming more like his father. Tom actually admits to being like his father when he is having a conversation with Jim the night he went over to their apartment. “I’m like my father. The bastard son of a bastard!” (Numen). He says this after he discusses with Jim his plans to leave his family in search for adventure like the people in the movies. Tom finally decides to leave them after Amanda yells at him for Jim’s engagement. This makes Tom furious because he was unaware that Jim was engaged. As he leaves he tells them that he is leaving to the movies, but this time is a lie because he never comes back home.
The dysfunction of the Wingfield family was caused by the father’s abandonment which led to many financial problems, caused the mother to become extremely controlling, and Tom adopted his father’s behavior.

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