The Glass Menagerie Essays

The Glass Menagerie Essays

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Tennessee Williams’s character Amanda Wingfield, in The Glass Menagerie, is a bold and persuasive personality devoted to the past. Amanda was forsaken by her husband, and faced with raising two children alone during the great depression. Haunted by the rejection of her husband, she is determined to keep her children close. Even if keeping her children close means using guilt and criticism to manipulate every aspect of their lives. Amanda’s domineering behavior drove Mr. Wingfield away, and is now steering her son toward a similar escape.
Amanda is an assertive and convincing individual, not afraid to take charge of any situation to insure the outcome undoubtedly complements her desires. She is continually reminding her son, Tom, of his obligation to support the family, and the security his job provides. Amanda considers a woman on her own in the 1930’s to be unusual, and is constantly pleading with Tom to remain in his stale job to insure her daughter, Laura, is taken care of until she is married and independent. While at the same time, extinguishing any hopes and dreams Tom has for his own future (1646; sc. 4). Amanda’s main goal is to find someone to care for her emotionally fragile daughter (1638; sc. 3).
Perceived to be a nurturing mother, she uses guilt to guide the very existence of her children. Amanda is crippling her children emotionally by continually critiquing their eating habits, career paths, social behaviors, how they should dress, talk, and entertain (1632; sc. 1).
Insisting that Tom’s behavior is too much like his father’s, she believes his actions are keeping him from being successful. While believing that badgering him to behave the way she expects, will make a difference. Amanda tells Tom that h...


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...hildren about the parties in the South help to explain the dissatisfaction with her present way of life. She is hopelessly fated to remain unchanged, and destined to repeat the same mistakes that drove her husband away (1632; sc. 1).
In the climatic scene when Amanda realizes that Jim is engaged to someone else, she lashes out at Tom. Assuming that he knew about Jim’s fiancée, Amanda hatefully says, “don’t think about us, a mother deserted, an unmarried sister. Don’t let anything interfere with your selfish pleasure. Just go, go, go (1676; sc.7)”. Tom finally leaves.
As a result of Amanda’s controlling nature, the Wingfield family collapses and Tom flees from his frustrated existence, but his escape does not give him the freedom he expects. He is forever tormented by Laura’s memory, just like Amanda is forever tormented by her long lost husband’s memory.

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