The Glass Menagerie

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All four members of the Wingfield family have chosen to hide from reality. Discuss this evaluation of the characters in The Glass Menagerie, making careful reference to the text.

In Tennessee Williams' play, the glass menagerie, all four members of the Wingfield family have chosen to hide from reality. Amanda tries to relive her past through Laura, and denies anything she does not want to accept. Laura is terrified of the real world, and choses to hide behind her limp, her glass menagerie and the victrola. Tom hides from his reality by going to the movies, writing poetry, and getting drunk. Mr Wingfield hides from his reality by leaving his family and not contacting them after he has done so. Each member of the Wingfield family has their own escape mechanism which they use to hide or escape from the real world.

Amanda has chosen to hide from reality by trying to relive her past. She is living in the unreality of her youthful memories and sees herself as still being as young as Laura when she says to her, ‘No, sister, no, sister – you be the lady this time and I'll be the darkey' (p 237). She reminisces about ‘one Sunday afternoon in Blue Mountain' (p 237) when she received seventeen gentleman callers, and then tries to relive this through Laura. She arranges for Tom to bring home some nice young man for his sister. When Tom brings home a gentleman caller, Amanda wears ‘a girlish frock of yellowed voile with a blue silk sash' (p 276), the dress that she wore as a girl for her own gentleman callers. The reader can see from this that Amanda is definitely living in the past. Another way that Amanda hides from reality is that she tries to deny anything that she does not want to accept. She denies that Laura is crippled, saying ‘Nonsense! Laura, I've told you never, never to use that word.' (p 247). Amanda believes that if she denies something so much, that it will not be true. This also occurs when Laura thinks that the...
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