Expectations In The Glass Menagerie

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The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams, tells the story of how the standards of society influence two siblings. Tom and Laura Wingfield are two miserable people who no matter how hard they try, cannot seem to fit in. The play takes place in St. Louis, 1937, in which men and women have specific roles and expectations. Men are expected to have jobs, get married and provide for their family. Women are expected to get married, have babies and stay home to raise their children. However, in The Glass Menagerie, Tom and Laura defy these roles due to their own self image and ambition. Tom and Laura Wingfield live in an apartment building with their mother, Amanda, who tends to be overbearing at times. Amanda sets expectations very high for her children and believes that when they fall short they are not trying. Although she only wishes for her children’s happiness and…show more content…
Tom not only stays with his mother and sister well into adulthood but he also does not pursue a wife, a well paying job or a family of his own. Instead Tom dreams of a life that is more: a life filled with exploration, like the ones in the movies he adores. Throughout the play, Tom argues with his mother, drinks heavily and goes to the movies to forget about his problems. In this melancholy life filled with dissatisfaction he finds comfort in his sister who is shy, sweet and undeserving of the harshness life has thrown as her. In the third scene after he argues with his mother and accidentally knocks over Laura’s trinkets he regains his cool and “drops awkwardly to his knees to collect the fallen glass, glancing over at Laura as if he would speak but couldn’t”. This scene portrays that he does feel shame for his actions and his love for his sister can bring him back to reality. His love for his sister also gives him the strength he needs to overcome his negative self image and search for the adventure he has waited for his entire
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