One of the most urged and a prominent theme of, “The Glass Menagerie,” is the escape ad the difficulty of many of the characters in accepting the reality. Each Wingfield member is unable to conquer his or her difficulty. As a result, each of these individuals results into withdrawing into a private illusion world where they find meaning and comfort that the world seems not to offer. Of the three family members of Wingfield, Laura has had the hardest time to grasp on reality. Based on the research conducted, Laura lives in a world that is populated by the animal glass. These objects just like the inner life of Laura are dangerously delicate ad incredibility fanciful.
However, Tom, Laura’s brother, performs well in the real world. He maintains a job and talks to strangers regardless of his situation. Although Tom seems better at functioning in the real world than Laura, he is unmotivated to pursue romantic relationships, professional success, and ordinary friendships. He prefers to withdraw into a world of fantasies provide by movies and literature and the stupor he receives from his drunkard-ness. In reality, Amanda’s relationship is the most complex in the play. Unlike her kids, she is partial to the values given by the real world and long for financial and social success. However, her attachment to the values and reality is what prevents her from recognizing several truths regarding her life. She cannot agree that Laura is peculiar, that she should be anything less than a pampered brat she was raised as, and that Tom is not a successful businessperson. She cannot accept that she also played a part in their children flaws and sorrows. Amanda withdrawal into illusion is pathetic than her kids’ because hers is a wistful reality distortion and not a willful imagination.
Although the family members of Wingfield are bound together and distinguished by their weak relations, they hold to reality, the imaginations or fantasies are not just succumbing but lacks familial quirks. It is clear that the outside world is also susceptible to illusions as Wingfield family. For instance, the young individuals at the Paradise Dance Hall waltz that are under a short—lived fantasy developed by the glass ball that is similar` to the glass animals developed by Laura. Tom informs Jim that the viewers at the theaters he was attending were substituting the on-screen experience for real-life activities, creating a fulfillment in fantasies rather than the real world. Jim who reflects the world of reality depends on radio and television industries, and public speaking to have a great future. The activities that Jim backs his future on are all means to creating illusions and persuading other people to believe these fantasies. The Glass of Menagerie acknowledges the conquest of reality by fantasies as a growing and significant aspect of human life at this given time.
Impossibility of Escape
Scene Four begins with Tom recounting to Laura about a magic show where the magician had to escape from a nailed coffin. In this scene, Tom views his family and his life as a sort of coffin that is suffocating, cramped, and morbid, and in which he is confined against his will. Tom’s escape promise focuses on his inattentive father, the fire outflow at the flat, and the Merchant Marine Service that torments him from the start of the play. In the end, he decides to free himself from his limited life.
The play focuses on the vague attitude Tom has on moral influences and the effectiveness to his escape. As a young man who is able-bodied, Tom is locked into his life, not by external elements but his emotions. His loyalty and love to Amanda and Laura confine him in a prison that he needed to escape. For Tom, escape means the denial and suppression of these emotions, and that means that he is causing harm to his sister and mother. Although the magician was able to escape from the coffin without upsetting or altering nails, Tom escape would require defeating the human nails that hold him down. These nails would be broken when he decides to leave his sister and mother behind. However, running away from home does not mean that Tom gains a true escape. As he wanders far from home, Tom is still bothered by many some things. Similar to jailbreak, escaping from home does not guarantee Tom a free life but that of a fugitive.
In conclusion, the Glass Menagerie is a memory script as seen from its content and style that inspired and shaped by individual’s memory. Tom states the lack of realism in the play, its overblown and high drama, sound symbolism, and utilization of music is all caused by its origins in the memory. The imagination creates most fictional plays. These visions convince the audience to believe in more than the reality. However, a play created from memory is also a real life experience product and does not focus on the realism conventions. The narrator tells her or his true story in several levels of melodrama and metaphor but remains confident of its reality and substance. Moreover, the story is created due to the inflexible grip by the creator’s memory. The fact that the narration exists indicates the powerful nature of the memory. Moreover, it shows how memory exerts consciousness in the lives of different people. Their memories haunt all the characters in the play and they would prefer being in an illusion instead of the reality.
- Williams, Tennessee, and Tony Kushner. The glass menagerie. New Directions Publishing, 2011.