Expressing the turmoil in the life he sees before him, Tom curses "How lucky dead people are!" (1.3.34). The Glass Menagerie, written by Tennessee Williams, portrays a dysfunctional family succumbing to the recurring destiny of desperation and remorse. Amanda, the mother of two adult children, desperately tries to prod her children into seeking a better future. She pushes her son Tom to the point that he plans to escape his mother's overbearing presence. His older sister, Laura, is so withdrawn by the embarrassment of a crippling disability that she is not fit to enter society. From this, her mother decides to find a beau for Laura in hopes to marry her. She cajoles Tom into bringing a suitor home for dinner from the factory where he already feels the enslavement of his employment. The result is Jim, charming and ambitious, who sees Laura for who she is: a shy, introverted girl withdrawn in her own adolescent world. He attempts to shock her into glimpsing reality through a kiss that ultimately backfires as Laura, being enamored by her savior, is soon heartbroken to find that Jim is actually engaged to a girl named Betty. The play concludes with all characters reflecting the epitome of desperation: Laura in her mother's clutc...
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...34) I felt I could never repeat this same phrase to my own children without remembering the disdain I imagined in Tom's voice. Another interesting factor was that of Tom as narrator. This tactic provided another avenue to explore Tom's personality. Amanda's character inadvertently offered some interest as well. Her disposition inspires disdain in the reader and, in the end, this indicates an effective character. This, with Tom's interaction, carried the story.
A scenario wherein Laura rises to her feet and courageously vows to attain some sense of fulfillment in her life coupled with Tom's ultimate acceptance of Jim's advice for direction would have imparted a more optimistic and satisfying conclusion to this work. Unfortunately, the reality is that the reader is left unfulfilled after enduring a play that ends in a mood even more desperate than when it began.
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