Essay, Research Paper: Glass Menagerie

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If ever there were one literary work most strongly depicting the miseries of
human life, Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie would be it. Throughout
the entire story are thoughts/feelings encountered by people in real life . . .
although the play script-turned-novel presents those emotions to the audience
surreptitiously. The story is of three not unusual characters – Amanda, Tom,
and Laura – in a family. Amanda, the mother, is now without a husband trying
to look after her children. The curious part is about how she treats them: she
wants them to go out into the world and ensure their prosperous future lives . .
. but also wants to have complete dominance over any and all aspects of their
current lives. Much of the story revolves around this contradiction –
especially between Tom – now a grown man in his middle-20s – and Amanda.
Amanda is relentlessly trying to get him to subject to her, but Tom desires,
like his father, to go out into the world and seek his fortune (which is why
Amanda’s husband wandered out constantly at night and then abruptly
disappeared and never came back). Doubtlessly, Amanda fears Tom to do the same
and therefore gets carried away in trying to prevent him from doing so. On the
other hand, Amanda also has to fret over Laura, Tom’s elder by several years.
Laura, having been influenced heavily from early childhood by a genetic birth
defect, is now crippled also by having an inferiority complex, a disease of the
mind that makes the person affected think very low of his/herself. The audience,
however, does not get informed of this till near the end of the story. Anyways,
Tom and Amanda argue for much of the story (mainly because of Tom’s endless
exploits at night; saying he goes out to the movies but going gambling and
getting involved in gang activities instead), but Amanda finally wins over Tom
and forces him into her control again. Once she has, Amanda demands Tom go to
the warehouse where he works and find some “fine young man who doesn’t
drink” for Laura. Tom does, but . . . well, if the answer was revealed, the
end of the story would be known, and that would be the ruin of this report.
Laura finds herself reunited with a high school classmate by the name of Jim
when Tom does bring him. Of course, she is reluctant to meet Jim and pretends to
be sick for most of the dinner that Tom has invited Jim to. Amanda, Tom, and Jim
talk things out and have a very pleasant conversation, and then Amanda asks Jim
to go talk with Laura while she and Tom talk alone in the kitchen. Unknowingly
to Amanda, Tom already has big plans for the future that would involve doing the
same thing his father did. Jim walks in, and Laura admits to knowing him
previously. And any further and there would be no more of the novel to have the
fun of reading. Tennessee Williams’s play, The Glass Menagerie, although a sad
work, turned out to be the turning point of his career when it was accepted
without question into Chicago, and later American, theater. The play was a
dramatization – although not fully – of Williams’s own troubled childhood.

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