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Analysis of Scenes 4-5 of The Glass Menagerie
"Tom Fishes in his pockets for his door key, removing a motley assortment of articles in the search, including a shower of movie ticket stubs and an empty bottle. At last he finds the key, but just as he is about to insert it, it slips from his fingers. He strikes a match and crouches below the door."
Tom is a character that is constantly looking for individuality and adventure. Unfortunately, his everyday life cannot provide those for him. The apartment building he lives in is comparable to a bee hive. Every member's identity is lost not intentionally, but because it is second in importance to labor. He wants time to retire in thought every now and then and express himself somehow. All this labor supresses his creative nature whose persistency will eventually win over his practical side. In this scene, we see Tom searching for a key in his pocket. The contents of his pocket, one can argue, are filled with ways to escape his everyday life. The movies he attends are like therapy sessions that are crucial to his health. The empty bottle suggests that he was drinking that night. Tom abuses alcohol to alleviate some of the pain caused by other people abusing him. The key he is looking for cannot be found readily; not because it fell through the crack, but because he cannot escape his fait. Circumstances incarcerate him in and endless cycle of work, abuse, and supression of thought. There is no apparent way out of such a predicament, but Tom has to keep looking for the key.
"Tom: You know it don't take much intelligence to get yourself into a nailed-up coffin, Laura. But who in hell ever got himself out of one without removing one nail?"
Tom openly admits to Laura that he is very unhappy with his life. Laura has been known to cry because Tom feels trapped in the appartment, but Amanda dismissed it as nonsense. She thinks it is a trivial matter, and that Tom should stop thinking about himself so much. What she doesn't realize is that she is the one always thinking about herself.
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