Essay on Escape in The Glass Menagerie

Essay on Escape in The Glass Menagerie

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Escape in The Glass Menagerie


In Tennessee Williams' play, The Glass Menagerie, none of the characters are capable of living in the real world. Laura, Amanda, Tom and Jim use various methods to escape the brutalities of life. Laura retreats into a world of glass animals and old gramophone records. Amanda is obsessed with living in her past. Tom escapes into his world of poetry writing and movies. Jim also reverts to his past and remembers the days when he was a hero.

Laura retreats into a world of glass animals and old gramophone records. Even when it appears that Laura is finally overcoming her shyness and hypersensitivity with Jim, she instantly reverts back to playing the Victrola once he tells her he's engaged. She is unable to cope with the truth so she goes back to her fantasy world of records and glass figurines. Laura can only live a brief moment in the real.

Amanda is obsessed with her past as she constantly reminds Tom and Laura of that 'one Sunday afternoon in Blue Mountain' when she received seventeen gentlemen callers (Williams 32). The reader cannot even be sure that this actually happened. However, it is clear that despite its possible falsity, Amanda has come to believe it. She refuses to acknowledge that her daughter is crippled and refers to her handicap as 'a little defect - hardly noticeable' (Williams 45). Only for brief moments does she ever admit that her daughter is 'crippled' and then she resorts back to denial. She doesn't perceive anything realistically. She believes that this gentleman caller, Jim, is going to be the man to rescue Laura and she hasn't even met him yet. She tells Laura when Laura is nervous about the gentleman caller, 'You couldn't be satisfied with just sitting home', whe...


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...he major characters in this play are so warped and their lives so distorted and perverted by fantasies that each is left with only broken fragments of what might have been' (Davis 205).

Works Cited

Thompson, Judith J. Tennessee Williams' Plays: Memory, Myth, and Symbol. New York: Peter Land Publishing, Inc., 1987.

Davis, Joseph K. "Landscapes of the Dislocated Mind in Williams' The Glass Menagerie." Tennessee Williams: A Tribute. Ed. Jac Tharpe.

Hattiesburg: Heritage Printers, Inc., 1977. 192-206.

Scanlan, Tom. "Family and Psyche in The Glass Menagerie." Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Glass Menagerie. Ed. R.B. Parker. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1983. 96-108.

Williams, Tennessee. "The Glass Menagerie." Concise Anthology of American Literature. Ed. George McMichael. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1985. 2112-2156

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