Character Analyzation in The Glass Menagerie
Many people find it difficult to cope with reality. While most choose to press on through their struggles, some choose to ignore them completely. They engross themselves in their own little world in order to escape reality. We see various examples of this with the Wingfield family in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie. Amanda Wingfield is the mother of Tom and Laura. She is a “southern belle” whose glory days have long since faded away. She is struggling to come to terms with the fact that she is not in the same position she once was, socially or economically. She still takes great pride in the appearance of their home and brags about “gentleman callers” (1.1.29) from many years ago. She is trying to uphold an image that in her mind, still exists. This is her way of escaping the harsh reality of her failed marriage, crippled daughter, and distant son. Tom Wingfield is the son of Amanda and the brother of Laura. He has multiple means of escaping the restrictive reality of the Wingfield household. He is very much into literature and writing poetry. He dreams of breaking free from his responsibilities at home and searching for his purpose in the world. Tom also watches movies as a means of eluding reality. Whenever he is asked where he is headed after a heated moment, he often replies “I’m going to the movies!”(1.3.36). While watching movies he is able to live vicariously through the actors and story lines. Tom uses alcohol as a means of escaping reality as well. Though he claims to be at the movies or at the warehouse all of the time, it is evident that he is coming home hung over some evenings. He chooses to drown his sorrows in alcohol to help him ignore their flawed household. Laura Wingfield is the daughter of Amanda and the sister of Tom. She is by far the most sensitive member of the Wingfield clan. She is physically disabled and emotionally incapable of handling much of anything. She is as fragile as her precious collection of glass figurines. She understands that she is a burden to their family and sympathizes with Tom. Her means of escaping reality is mostly mental. She spends her time doing unproductive activities such as going to museums or polishing her glass. Sometimes she simply has “just been going out walking”(1.1.19) She chooses not to interact with people and secludes herself to avoid dealing with reality. The Glass Menagerie is a riveting play about living in his/her own realm of life. Each character has his own way of escaping reality. Tom chooses to break away from the confinement of their home while Laura and Amanda mentally resist society. Whether it be physically or mentally, they all choose to ignore their issues. It can be difficult to come to terms with what is forced to be his reality.
Williams, Tennessee. “The Glass Menagerie”. Literature Reading To Write. Ed. Elizabeth Howells. New York: Pearson, 2010. 117-168. Print.