Unlike the other characters, Tom sometimes addresses the audience directly, seeking to provide a more detached explanation and assessment of what has been happening onstage. This duality can frustrate our understanding of Tom, as it is hard to decide whether he is a character whose assessments should be trusted or one who allows his emotions to affect his judgment. It also shows how the nature of recollection is itself problematic: Even taken as a single character, Tom is full of contradiction.
Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work. The Difficulty of Accepting Reality Among the most prominent and urgent themes of The Glass Menagerie is the difficulty the characters have in accepting and relating to reality.
Each member of the Wingfield family is unable to overcome this difficulty, and each, as a result, withdraws into a private world of illusion where he or she finds the comfort and meaning that the real world does not seem to offer.
Of the three Wingfields, reality has by far the weakest grasp on Laura. Unlike his sister, Tom is capable of functioning in the real world, as we see in his holding down a job and talking to strangers.
But, in the end, he has no more motivation than Laura does to pursue professional success, romantic relationships, or even ordinary friendships, and he prefers to retreat into the fantasies provided by literature and movies and the stupor provided by drunkenness.
Unlike her children, she is partial to real-world values and longs for social and financial success. Yet her attachment to these values is exactly what prevents her from perceiving a number of truths about her life. She cannot accept that she is or should be anything other than the pampered belle she was brought up to be, that Laura is peculiar, that Tom is not a budding businessman, and that she herself might be in some ways responsible for the sorrows and flaws of her children.
Although the Wingfields are distinguished and bound together by the weak relationships they maintain with reality, the illusions to which they succumb are not merely familial quirks. The outside world is just as susceptible to illusion as the Wingfields. Tom opines to Jim that the other viewers at the movies he attends are substituting on-screen adventure for real-life adventure, finding fulfillment in illusion rather than real life.
The Glass Menagerie identifies the conquest of reality by illusion as a huge and growing aspect of the human condition in its time.
The Impossibility of True Escape At the beginning of Scene Four, Tom regales Laura with an account of a magic show in which the magician managed to escape from a nailed-up coffin.
Clearly, Tom views his life with his family and at the warehouse as a kind of coffin—cramped, suffocating, and morbid—in which he is unfairly confined. As an able-bodied young man, he is locked into his life not by exterior factors but by emotional ones—by his loyalty to and possibly even love for Laura and Amanda.
Escape for Tom means the suppression and denial of these emotions in himself, and it means doing great harm to his mother and sister.
The magician is able to emerge from his coffin without upsetting a single nail, but the human nails that bind Tom to his home will certainly be upset by his departure.
One cannot say for certain that leaving home even means true escape for Tom. The Unrelenting Power of Memory According to Tom, The Glass Menagerie is a memory play—both its style and its content are shaped and inspired by memory.
Most fictional works are products of the imagination that must convince their audience that they are something else by being realistic. A play drawn from memory, however, is a product of real experience and hence does not need to drape itself in the conventions of realism in order to seem real.
The creator can cloak his or her true story in unlimited layers of melodrama and unlikely metaphor while still remaining confident of its substance and reality. Tom—and Tennessee Williams—take full advantage of this privilege. Amanda too lives in constant pursuit of her bygone youth, and old records from her childhood are almost as important to Laura as her glass animals.
For these characters, memory is a crippling force that prevents them from finding happiness in the present or the offerings of the future. But it is also the vital force for Tom, prompting him to the act of creation that culminates in the achievement of the play.Symbolism is a major aspect in Tennessee William’s famous play, “The Glass Menagerie.” On the surface, the short slice of life story seems to be simple.
However, if the reader digs deeper they will find that there are several symbols that give each character a deeper meaning. Mentions of the Harry Potter Bibliography "Since , Cornelia Rémi has maintained an up-to-date and marvelously informative website of international scholarship, symposia, sources, [ ] which attests to the ever-growing, worldwide attention being given to this literature and the vast sea of literary productions emerging from that attention.".
is and in to a was not you i of it the be he his but for are this that by on at they with which she or from had we will have an what been one if would who has her. Character Analysis. Laura is oh-so-fragile, not unlike her glass collection.
Hey! Coincidence? Probably not. In fact, definitely not. Laura parallels her glass collection in a few different ways. To begin, she has the same sort of translucent beauty, the same delicate exterior.
Line-by-line modern translations of every Shakespeare play and poem. Definitions and examples of literary terms and devices. Instant PDF downloads. Refine any search. Find related themes, quotes, symbols, characters, and more. and Plot Summary of “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams Before beginning this summary and analysis of “Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams, it is important to point out that this play is not happening in the narrator’s (Tom’s) present, but it is based on his memories.