Reality And Illusion In The Glass Menagerie

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The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams is a story of reality and illusion as the Wingfield family struggles to survive after their father leaves. The narrator, Tom Wingfield, financially supports his crippled sister, Laura, and delusional mother, Amanda. Tom dreams of adventure and has goals that are made impossible by Amanda. Her inability to effectively communicate with Tom leads their dysfunctional relationship. Tom’s ambitions and hopes for the future give him the motivation he needs to leave his family. He needed to escape in order realize his full potential in the world and find success.
Since Tom is the only one that is able to see the reality of the Wingfield’s situation and move on from the past, they are holding him back with their false sense of the present. Tom’s family
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Laura turns to a set of glass animals to help her escape, while Amanda longs for her teenage years as a Southern Belle. Her husband abandoned her and the effects of this loss are evident through Amanda’s relationship with her son. She says, “Oh, I can see the handwriting on the wall as plain as I see the nose in front of my face! It’s terrifying! More and more you remind me of your father. He was out all hours without explanation!-- Then left! Goodbye!” (35). Amanda is worried about Tom’s ambitions and creativity, but only because she is scarred from the sudden loss of her husband. She cannot separate Tom from his father’s memory and is so paralyzed by a fear of being left again that she talks him out of any future dreams he has. By comparing the two, Amanda takes away Tom’s individuality. Because she sees Tom as another version of her husband, he is not given a fair chance to accomplish the things he wants. He is forced to pay for what his father did, which makes it almost impossible for him to move on from the past. Amanda inflicts her pain on her son, forcing the whole family to stay in the past. By maintaining old expectations of life,
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