” The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams is a play that takes place in 1936. The characters in the story are the mother Amanda Wingfield, her daughter Laura and her son Tom . The story is set in St. Louis, Missouri . The play has been produced over 50 films , plays and an opera. The main theme of the play revolves around the characters who are trying to escape their current situation.
The setting is the Wingfield household, which is a deteriorating suburban home in St. Louis, Missouri, where Amanda has raised her two children Laura and Thomas Morgan , over many years . The main conflict of play occurs when her son Tom leaves to start his own life . The town that they live in revolves around the streetcar which leads them closer to leaving for good. The character of Amanda Wingfield tries very hard to keep this family together by closing herself off from reality . She spends most of her time talking about old times with friends at the telephone, but she also sees people who are not there.
The mother ‘ s fear of abandonment results in an extremely defensive personality . To her, her son ‘ s departure is a threat to the family. The mother continues to show her desire for keeping the family together through her actions that are based on fear . The son eventually leaves because he can no longer tolerate his mother’s suffocating love. The relationship between the two is very complicated , but it exists mainly due to guilt .
The daughter Laura is afraid of leaving home and staying at home all day long, playing with fragile glass animals made ?? of crystal . The beautiful collection of these animals represents an escape mechanism for Laura, who may also be afraid of other things in life . The play does not give any precise information about what she fears. The whole story revolves around Amanda’s attempt to this family together, but her attempts are futile . The story ends on a quiet, somewhat melancholy tone with the family splitting apart.
The two children are no longer living under one roof with Amanda. The apartment that they rented will be Tom’s new place of living , while Laura will stay in St. Louis to take care of her mother . She is very fragile and has never had a job before, which only makes her situation worse. The last scene shows Amanda , Laura and Tom together on stage . The play thus represents an escape who have failed because it took place after Tom left home for good … [“The Glass Menagerie”, n. d. ]
The characters desire to escape from this confining environment and their current status as it stands. The only person who doesn’t seem to want to leave is Laura, who instead entertains those around her with illusions of fantasy and magic. The playwright, Tennessee Williams used a few symbols throughout the play that directly relate to the theme of escape: The fire escape symbolizes an opportunity for temporary relief from a harsh reality. The dance hall symbolizes a place where the characters can temporarily forget their troubles through entertainment and laughter.
The absent Mr. Wingfield represents a physical object that one can use as a means of escape from reality by imagining themselves somewhere else in someone else’s shoes. Tom represents an opportunity for spiritual release within himself – by imagining something better, one may find spiritual comfort and redemption. The glass menagerie symbolizes an illusion that is seen by the protagonist as a means of escape from her own harsh reality. The final scene symbolizes a successful escape – The main character has finally shed her illusions and left behind all those she was seeking to escape from.
Laura Wingfield: The shyest member of the family, Laura lives in a world within her mind; one filled with tales, fantasies and dreams – much like those running through The Glass Menagerie. The fire escape outside her bedroom window provides Laura with the opportunity she needs to temporarily release herself from this depression and anxiety (or even physical illness). It also acts as a reminder for how much potential lies outside of this apartment.
The fire escape is also used in “The Glass Menagerie” as a symbol for the hope that lies outside the confining walls of their rundown apartment building in downtown St Louis. The playwright uses Laura’s narrative to show how she escapes into her own imagination, creating an alternative reality in which she places herself. The glass menagerie is another example of Laura’s desire to escape from reality and flee to a world filled with magic and dreams, yet it is one of the only things stopping her from making the physical escape out of the suffocating environment she lives in.
The glass menagerie represents an illusion – something beautiful but fake; something one can wish for but never truly have. This is what The Glass Menagerie is all about; The Wingfield family don’t realize that they are living within illusions and fantasies that will not come to fruition. The play may be seen as a symbolic warning that “life isn’t always pretty, but life can’t be postponed. ” The glass menagerie was the only thing she had left of her mother, and it symbolized an important memory and a connection with something beautiful – so Laura refused to let it go.
Tom: Tom represents the spiritual escape from The Glass Menagerie. His travels take him beyond his immediate physical surroundings – he has escaped them by taking his future into his own hands and shaping it himself rather than succumbing to poverty. The theme of escape is seen throughout The Glass Menagerie, yet The Wingfield family doesn’t realize it. The characters are so focused on their own lives and problems that they don’t realize the chances of escape that are presented to them.
The playwright uses Tom as a focal point to show how an illusion can be shattered by reality – his life may not have been what he wanted but there is no going back now. Tom has escaped from The Glass Menagerie through taking responsibility for his own future rather than clinging onto the past or living within illusions and fantasies, like Laura does with The Glass Menagerie or Jim with his romantic musician delusions. The Wingfields: The ordinary world portrayed in The Menagerie seems to be The Wingfield’s prison.
The family is stuck in an apartment building with no hope of escape, living within their own delusions. The father tries to hide his financial problems by drinking, the mother is dying of a “lung disease” and Laura escapes into her fantasies. The playwright doesn’t provide any key information about The Wingfields’ lives prior to the events depicted in The Menagerie, but we can assume that The Wingfields may come from a broken home and that they have never experienced security or stability.