Glass Menagerie

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Stephanie Sun

English 2- Sunga

Illusion Vs. Reality

In the play The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, Laura, Amanda, and Tom each struggle with illusion, hopelessness, and wanting to escape from what they are. Tom is afraid of having to work the same dead-end job so he creates poetry, which he finds more fulfilling. Laura's extreme fear of seeing Jim O'Connor shows that she is concerned about her "physical defect" and incapacity to mix with society. Laura is placed under great pressure by her mother who constantly reminds Laura of her own gentlemen callers in the "blue" mountains when she reminisces about her past. Amanda is the main cause of Tom and Laura's stagnant lives because she cannot let go of her past and let her children create a future for themselves.

Laura is self-conscious of the leg brace she wears and because of that, lacks self-confidence and is painstakingly shy. Furthermore, matters are not better when her mother Amanda keeps telling stories about her youth and how she had so many gentlemen callers. "One Sunday afternoon in Blue Mountains—your mother received—seventeen!—gentlemen callers!.." (8). She then goes to boast about the gentlemen callers, saying that, "among my callers were some of the most prominent young planters of the Mississippi Delta—planters and sons of planters!" (8). Amanda compares her past to Laura's life and decides that the only hope of Laura being able to get on with her life is that she must get married. Amanda means well when she tries to make all decisions in life for her daughter, but it is not helping Laura because she is too dependent and has not been doing anything with her life.

Amanda is constantly nagging at Tom, telling him to think about other people besides himself. "Overcome selfishness! Self, self, self is all that you ever think of!" (35). Amanda can't "let go" of Tom and still treats him like her son, as if he was still a child. She always questions Tom going to the movies late at...
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