Student analysis of The Glass Menagerie
For the scene you have been given, explore the following elements and produce notes that can be presented in class and be shared via the blog.
Quick summary of what happens in the scene and the subject of conversation
a. Jim keeps Laura company while the power is out. She tells Jim that she had a crush on her in High School and watched all his shows. Meanwhile, he talks about being nominated as “Most Likely to Succeed” by his peers but he has not yet achieved his full potential. He studies night school in Telecommunications. Laura introduces her glass menagerie to Jim. He diagnoses her with inferiority complex because of her lack of selfconfidence. Jim encourages Laura to dance with him however, while they are dancing, they bump into the table and break Laura’s favorite animal of the collection The Unicorn. Jim then kisses Laura. However, he tells her that he is previously engaged to a girl named Betty, whom he has “strings to” and Jim therefore has to leave. Amanda gets angry at Tom for not questioning Jim’s status before he visited, calling him a “manufacturer of illusions”. Then, Tom angrily bursts out and leaves the house. He leaves to work for the Merchant Navy and the play closes with Tom seeing a “mime” of Amanda and Laura eating dinner together, he says goodbye to Laura, she blows out the candle and the play ends.
Amanda’s desperate attempt to try and get a gentleman caller to visit. Doesn’t want Laura to end up an old maid. There exists family love between Tom and Laura, on the night he comes back from “The movies” and is drunk. Then there is genuine family love from Amanda, who despite her overbearingness on Tom, wants what’s best for him like in the scene where she places the lamp by his side as he is writing. i. Tom: Oh Laura, Laura, I tried to leave you behind me, but I am more faithful than I intended to be! (52)
b. Being Trapped (breaking away from it)
Tom being trapped in the
confines of the family, the apartment and his career. Amanda is trapped in parenthood, having to take care of her two children without a husband. Laura is trapped in her timidness and “inferiority complex” and cannot blend with other people.
c. Responsibility vs. Need to live one’s own life Laura not going to
business college and going to the zoo to look at the animals. Tom wanting to leave the house to escape the confinement. He also watches movies and drinks as to escape.
Tom’s fragility is his dissatisfaction with his life, wants to go out and live an adventurous life and not rot with the life he lives. Amanda is fragile because she continually refers to her past when 17 gentleman callers simultaneously visited her; she is stuck in the past. Laura is fragile because of her inferiority complex which hinders her 1.
from socializing normally with others.
The cost of leaving, of leaving Amanda and Laura, is the burden of remembering that he left his family at the an arduous time. While he may have freedom of body, he will never gain freedom of mind as he will always remember his fragile sister. i. Ironically, this is another form of confinement. ii. Tom: I would have stopped, but i was pursued by something. It always came upon me unawares, taking me altogether by surprise (Williams 51).
f. The American Dream
Set against the economic problems of the
Wingfield family, the theme of the American dream is shown. In spite of her impoverished life, Amanda is a believer in the American Dream. She tells Tom that he simply has to work hard and he will succeed. This idea of the American Dream is further exacerbated when Jim arrives and tells Laura of his aspirations. He is in love with the achievements and the promise of technology and he works hard to achieve it through education. He believes that there are rewards to be ...
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