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“The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams

The Glass Menagerie is described as more of a memory play which is how Tennessee Williams has portrayed. His directions in the play have gone into great details in explaining the settings and the moods he desired for the play. It is a little unusual for a playwright such as Williams to have provided such specific and detailed versions in his script but he surely had a clear image in wanting to be sure about presenting it the way he wanted to in keeping with his imagination. Williams has set the play during a particular period in history and the character of Tom clearly indicates about the time and significance of the moods as prevalent during the period. Williams has portrayed that as the world turns around, people have the tendency to look around their lives and imagine it as a world of dreams while others may look at it as a world of reality. Such flow of imagination permits them to find escape routes from reality in coping with problems of everyday life. The play poses different aspects in regard to how the Wingfields manage to make an escape into their world of happiness. The author has expressed a lot of escapism by way of wishful thinking, fantasies and a life that is equally good away from home. Williams has shown how that perfect life always evades Laura, “In the eyes of other strangers she’s terribly shy and lives in a world of her own and those things make her seem a little peculiar to people outside the house.” (Pg. 1592). This quotation from the book clearly depicts the way Laura is different as compared to other people. She is hence shown as constantly being around her glass collections in filling the void that her loneliness created for her.

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Throughout the play Amanda seeks the better quality of life that her children should get. As life takes its own turns, it is seen as never happening the way people want it to happen. The realization is very much present that God wants that the best should happen to His children and so does Amanda desire for her children, and it is aptly evident when she says, “I’ll tell you what I wished for on the moon, success and happiness for my precious children.” (Pg. 1588). Amanda is constantly under the impression that if she keeps wishing for her dream world she would eventually get away from the harsh realities being faced, and all her wishes would prove to be true one day. As the play proceeds, Amanda is able to go back to her memories of being a young woman in reminiscing, “One Sunday afternoon in Blue Mountain your mother received seventeen gentlemen callers! Why sometimes there weren’t enough chairs to accommodate them all.” (Pg. 1588). This portrays how Amanda looks back on her dreams and memories from her previous years, which has become her favorite thought since the real world no longer makes any sense to her. This indicates that lot of people feel comfortable in escaping from their problems, which they feel is the best way to get rid of them.

The play portrays Tom as being an expert on getting away from problems. But he inevitably always gets into deeper problems. Tom is shown as being a habitual drinker in attempts to run away from the problems that he faces. Tom is always portrayed as finding ways to escape from the life that he faces at home and in the end he ultimately manages to find a place where he can settle down and start afresh without the presence of his sister and mother, which is aptly indicated by what he said, “Go then! Go to the moon you selfish dreamer….I didn’t go to the moon. I went much further, for time is the longest distance between two places.” (Pg. 1617). While leaving home to start an entirely new life, Tom thought that he would make it good in life after leaving the heartaches behind while carrying the good memories with him. But he decides to return home at the end and finds that everything remains the same and everything comes back to him. In essence, the action of Tom makes one to go back in his own dream world in comparing it with the real world, which also clarifies the intention of Williams in regard to what he desired to express in his play. One can realize that there is a fine line drawn between the dream world and real life. Majority of people fail to realize that they just cannot run away from their problems and fears. If problems are not faced and dealt with courage, they will become bigger to be ultimately faced with greater pain and suffering. The bigger the problems become, the more difficult they become to resolve. This was the main message that Williams conveys in the quote of Tom when he says “Go then! Go to the moon you selfish dreamer….I didn’t go to the moon. I went much further, for time is the longest distance between two places.” (Pg. 1617). This is because escaping from one’s problems is not the solution; they have to be faced with strength and courage.

References

Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie, 1999, New Directions Publishing Corporation.

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StudyCorgi. "“The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams." October 19, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/the-glass-menagerie-by-tennessee-williams/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "“The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams." October 19, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/the-glass-menagerie-by-tennessee-williams/.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) '“The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams'. 19 October.

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