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The Glass Menagerie Essay, Research Paper

All four members of the Wingfield family have chosen to hide from reality. Discuss this evaluation of the characters in The Glass Menagerie, making careful reference to the text.In Tennessee Williams? play, the glass menagerie, all four members of the Wingfield family have chosen to hide from reality. Amanda tries to relive her past through Laura, and denies anything she does not want to accept. Laura is terrified of the real world, and choses to hide behind her limp, her glass menagerie and the victrola. Tom hides from his reality by going to the movies, writing poetry, and getting drunk. Mr Wingfield hides from his reality by leaving his family and not contacting them after he has done so. Each member of the Wingfield family has their own escape mechanism which they use to hide or escape from the real world.

Amanda has chosen to hide from reality by trying to relive her past. She is living in the unreality of her youthful memories and sees herself as still being as young as Laura when she says to her, ?No, sister, no, sister ? you be the lady this time and I?ll be the darkey? (p 237). She reminisces about ?one Sunday afternoon in Blue Mountain? (p 237) when she received seventeen gentleman callers, and then tries to relive this through Laura. She arranges for Tom to bring home some nice young man for his sister. When Tom brings home a gentleman caller, Amanda wears ?a girlish frock of yellowed voile with a blue silk sash? (p 276), the dress that she wore as a girl for her own gentleman callers. The reader can see from this that Amanda is definitely living in the past. Another way that Amanda hides from reality is that she tries to deny anything that she does not want to accept. She denies that Laura is crippled, saying ?Nonsense! Laura, I?ve told you never, never to use that word.? (p 247). Amanda believes that if she denies something so much, that it will not be true. This also occurs when Laura thinks that the gentleman caller will be her high school crush, and Amanda denies that it could be, ?It won?t be him! It isn?t the least bit likely.? (p 278). It is in these ways that Amanda Wingfield hides from reality.

Laura Wingfield has chosen to hide from reality in the play The Glass Menagerie. She seems to live in a world of her own, and hides from everything and everyone outside of the apartment. Laura is terrified of anything new or different. Her mother sent her to business college, but Laura was so afraid that ?The first time [they] gave a speed-test, she broke down completely ? was sick at the stomach and almost had to be carried into the wash ?room.? (p 243). Laura uses her limp as an excuse to hide from the world. She believes that her slight limp makes her crippled and that she cannot be a part of the real world because of it. Laura?s glass menagerie and the victrola act as things which protect her from the real world in the play. Whenever she is uncertain or afraid, Laura reaches for one of these two things for comfort. When she finds out that Jim is engaged, and won?t come to see her again, ?she rises unsteadily and crouches beside the victrola to wind it up.? (p 307). The glass menagerie represents Laura to some extent, as she is fragile, like the glass and can be broken easily. The unicorn particularly represents Laura, as it is something that does not belong in the real world, as she does not. When Laura does briefly enter the real world, it is shown through the unicorn losing its horn, ?the horn was removed to make him feel less freakish ? Now he will feel more at home with the other horses.? (p 303). Laura will never belong to the real world, as she desperately tries to hide from the reality of it in the play.

In the play The Glass Menagerie, Tom Wingfield has chosen to hide from reality. Tom?s reality is that he works in a warehouse, has a nagging mother, a shy, ?crippled? sister and he lives in a prison of an apartment. In order to escape the reality of his work in the warehouse, Tom often ?[retires] to a cabinet of the washroom to work on poems when business was slack in the warehouse.? (p 273). Doing this, Tom can hide from his work and co-workers in the reality of his life. Tom craves for adventure in his life, and he finds this by going to the movies night after night, with a ?shower of movie-ticket stubs? (p 254) falling from his pocket when he comes home early one morning. He also drinks ?Kentucky Straight Bourbon? (p 254) to temporarily escape from the prison-like apartment, at which he lives. These things help Tom to escape from his reality, however it is not very effective, as once he wakes up in the morning, he has to face the realities of his life once more. Tom seeks a more permanent escape, and becomes a member of the ?Union of Merchant Seamen.? (p 283) hoping to leave his job at the warehouse and the apartment for good. This is Tom?s ultimate escape from the real world.

Mr Wingfield has also chosen to hide from reality in the play The Glass Menagerie. His reality was that he had a responsibility to look after his wife, son, and daughter. However, he neglects this responsibility, therefore escaping his reality, by abandoning his family ? ?he gave up his job with the telephone company and skipped the light fantastic out of town?? (p 235). There is a difference between Mr Wingfield and the rest of his family, and their escapes from reality. This is that Mr Wingfield created his own reality, and the others were living in the remains of what he left them. Mr Wingfield moves his wife to the city as he ?worked for the telephone company? (p 285), and chose to raise his children there. After doing these things, he decides that it is not the life for him as he has ?[fallen] in love with long distance!? (p 285), and leaves without considering his family. He then hides from the fact that he has left his family by not contacting them regularly, the only contact being a postcard ?containing a message of two words ? ?Hello ?Goodbye!? and no address.? (p 235). This is how Mr Wingfield hides from reality in Williams? play, The Glass Menagerie.

All four members of the Wingfield family have chosen to hide from reality in The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams. Each member of the family has a different route of escape from reality, which helps them to lead a better life. Amanda lives in the past and denies anything that threatens her, whilst Laura lives entirely in a world of her own, protected by the victrola and glass menagerie. Tom temporarily escapes his life through his poetry, heavy drinking and endless trips to the movies, and his father, Mr Wingfield has hidden from his reality by leaving his family. This is how the members of the Wingfield family have all chosen to hide from reality in the play.


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