Tom’s closing speech in The Glass Menagerie

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Tom’s closing speech in The Glass Menagerie Tom’s closing speech in The Glass Menagerie is very emotional and ironic. However, this monologue is somewhat ambiguous and doesn’t implicitly state whether Tom found the adventure he sought. It seems as though he never returned to St. Louis, and spent the remainder of his life wandering from place to place. This is inferred when he says,” I didn’t go to the moon, I went much further-for time is the longest distance between two places…” Throughout the play, the fire escape has been a symbol of Tom’s entrance and exit into both his reality and his dream world. He tells us that his departure marked the last time he “descended the steps of this fire-escape”, thus permanently embarking on his journey of solitude into what was once only a part of his dream world. From the statement, “(I) followed, from then on, in my father’s footsteps..” the reader can see that Tom acknowledges that he has chosen a path which is very similar to that of his father’s. In recognising this fact, Tom also admits that he abandoned his family just like Mr. Wingfield did. Tom’s journey does not seem to bring the escape and excitement that he had always longed for. He says, “The cities swept about me like dead leaves..” This description does not sound as though it comes from a traveller who is ecstatic about visiting different parts of the world. Cities are anything but dead; on the contrary, they are vibrant and full of life, and persons who are artistically inclined tend to be attracted to bustling cities. By categorising all the cities as dead leaves, Tom classifies them as similar entities in which he notices no individuality, uniqueness or excitement. He cannot relish in the beau... ... middle of paper ... ...scape, and she will most likely carry this pain for the rest of her life. It also symbolises Tom’s final farewell to her. Essentially, this monologue reveals that Tom’s escape has not been as complete or as perfect as he had hoped. While he has escaped the physical limitations of the Wingfield apartment and the restrictions of his job at the warehouse, memories from his past and feelings of regret seem to create an intangible prison for Tom. He has been unable to remove himself from the coffin and leave all the nails untouched, as was his former desire. His statement of “I am more faithful than I intended to be!” alludes to the fact that he is fully cognisant that he has left his family to struggle with the consequences of his departure. The Glass Menagerie ends with Tom’s life being exactly opposite to the one he had foreseen when he planned his escape.
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