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Essay on The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams: The Dreams and Desires of Life

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The Glass Menagerie is a memory play by Tennessee Williams. This play gave its first performance in 1944. The play takes place in the Wingfield family’s apartment in St. Louis in 1937. The play strained from the memories of Tom Wingfield, the narrator. Tom is a character in the play. Tom wants to be a poet, but works in a shoe warehouse to support family. In this play, all of the characters’ dreams and desires of life are crushed one at a time and show a reflection of what it looks like to sink. This is shown in Amanda’s relationship with reality, Tom’s hard work and trying to hold on to his dreams, and Laura’s quitting school.

Amanda’s relationship with reality is not very solid in this play. This puts her in a sinking state. There is a line that Amanda says “My devotion has made me a witch and so I make myself hateful to my children!” and “I worry so much, don’t sleep, it makes me nervous!” This is very heartbreaking and shows that Amanda is not happy in her true reality and the life of her children. She yarns deeply for her past life that it makes her blind to her true reality. She devoted her life to focus on her children and managing their life and dreams for success. This is a pacifier to her life and her past. It helps her not to live in her reality. Amanda becomes so focused on success than letting her children living life. She provides them dissatisfaction with life and the dreams they had.

Tom is a hard worker and trying his best in life. There is a scene in the play when he knocks down his sister, Laura, glass menagerie and still shows her no love. There is also a scene Tom’s proclaim Laura as odd and cannot survive in the outside world. It is clear that Tom does not want to live in that reality a would rather follow his own dreams. Tom is a stable of what it looks like in an everyday society of a dreamer. Tom is a daydreamer who longs for a life of adventure. Toms is faced with loneliness and disconsolate because of his life duties to take care of his family. Tom is also an aspiring poet who works in a shoe warehouse to support the financial responsibility of both his mother and sister. The job is boring, dreary and very different from the kind of career he would like to have. This puts him in a very dark place and he is really trying to care but doesn’t want to be around his family. Tom’s attitude toward Amanda and Laura is very puzzling. Tom tries to support them but is also very cruel toward them, especially Laura. There is not a moment in the play where Tom behaves lovingly toward Laura.

Laura quit business college in the play. Laura becomes very nervous that it makes it extremely difficult to attend business school without becoming brutally sick. Laura pretends to her mother that she is still attending business school. Laura is ashamed and embraced to reveal the truth to her mother who has her own dreams for Laura. Laura is shamed with dissatisfaction from her mother Amanda. Her mother finds out coincidentally when she visits the college to see how Laura is doing. The teacher defines as “a terribly shy little girl.” “Her hands shook so she couldn’t hit the right keys! The first time we gave a speed-test she broke down completely – was sick at the stomach and almost had to be carried into the washroom! After that, she never showed up anymore.’’ This event clarifies Laura’s bashfulness, shyness, and difficulties facing reality. Laura basically extracts herself from the reality of the world and devotes herself to old records and her collection of glass figurines. The glass figures become her world. A world full of color and delicate illusions.

In conclusion, the character’s dreams and desires of life are crushed one at of time and show a reflection of what it looks like to sink. While Amanda the mother wants to fulfill her own perspective of the American Dream, Tom’s having a dream to become a writer but takes on the responsibility to take care of his family and Laura extremely shy that she cannot experience the outer world. This makes it hard for them to live life and be their authentic selves. We go over and beyond to have a good perception in society than to live and be you.

Works Cited

  1. Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie.1945. Print.

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Essay on the Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams: the Dreams and Desires of Life. (2020, December 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 19, 2022, from
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