Glass Menagerie

Glass Menagerie If ever there were one literary work most strongly depicting the miseries of human life, Tennessee Williamss The Glass Menagerie would be it. Throughout the entire story are thoughts/feelings encountered by people in real life . . although the play script-turned-novel presents those emotions to the audience surreptitiously. The story is of three not unusual characters Amanda, Tom, and Laura in a family. Amanda, the mother, is now without a husband trying to look after her children.

The curious part is about how she treats them: she wants them to go out into the world and ensure their prosperous future lives . . but also wants to have complete dominance over any and all aspects of their current lives. Much of the story revolves around this contradiction especially between Tom now a grown man in his middle-20s and Amanda. Amanda is relentlessly trying to get him to subject to her, but Tom desires, like his father, to go out into the world and seek his fortune (which is why Amandas husband wandered out constantly at night and then abruptly disappeared and never came back). Doubtlessly, Amanda fears Tom to do the same and therefore gets carried away in trying to prevent him from doing so.

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On the other hand, Amanda also has to fret over Laura, Toms elder by several years. Laura, having been influenced heavily from early childhood by a genetic birth defect, is now crippled also by having an inferiority complex, a disease of the mind that makes the person affected think very low of his/herself. The audience, however, does not get informed of this till near the end of the story. Anyways, Tom and Amanda argue for much of the story (mainly because of Toms endless exploits at night; saying he goes out to the movies but going gambling and getting involved in gang activities instead), but Amanda finally wins over Tom and forces him into her control again. Once she has, Amanda demands Tom go to the warehouse where he works and find some “fine young man who doesnt drink” for Laura.

Tom does, but . . . well, if the answer was revealed, the end of the story would be known, and that would be the ruin of this report. Laura finds herself reunited with a high school classmate by the name of Jim when Tom does bring him.

Of course, she is reluctant to meet Jim and pretends to be sick for most of the dinner that Tom has invited Jim to. Amanda, Tom, and Jim talk things out and have a very pleasant conversation, and then Amanda asks Jim to go talk with Laura while she and Tom talk alone in the kitchen. Unknowingly to Amanda, Tom already has big plans for the future that would involve doing the same thing his father did. Jim walks in, and Laura admits to knowing him previously. And any further and there would be no more of the novel to have the fun of reading.

Tennessee Williamss play, The Glass Menagerie, although a sad work, turned out to be the turning point of his career when it was accepted without question into Chicago, and later American, theater. The play was a dramatization although not fully of Williamss own troubled childhood.


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