Glass Menagerie Essay Research Paper Broken GlassThe

Glass Menagerie Essay, Research Paper

Broken Glass

The Glass Menagerie refers to the fragile world

of dreams, and illusion. Within the play Williams uses

characters who face solitary struggles in an emotionally,

physically, and financially starved surrounding. During

the course of the play, a glass unicorn gets broken,

symbolizing the fragile nature of a dream world. It’s

more than coincidental that the play’s title refers to

the collection of glass animals that belongs to Laura.

The title of the play gives symbolism to the lives of Tom,

Laura, and Amanda.

To find relief from his boring, tedious and

stressful life along with his mother’s constant nagging

abuse, Tom goes to movies “nobody goes to the movies night

after night” (1874) and dreams about future adventures

for himself. To maintain with frustration and anger Tom

sometimes uses bitter humor, like when he calls himself

“Killer Wingfield” (1875) and “El Diablo” (1875).

Watching adventures on the movie screen offers Tom another

way of living, possibly one that he wishes he could be in.

Laura has withdrawn from the reality of her

disability and her mothers concern by always playing with

a collection of glass animals, a real glass menagerie.

Whenever there was an angry exchange of words in the house

Laura frequently shut herself away to her private, imaginary

world to mope and finger the miniature glass world. Instead

of attending Rubicam’s Business College, Laura has been

taking walks in the park and visiting museums. “I went

in the art museum and the bird-houses at the zoo. I visited

the penguin’s everyday!” (1871) She is so fragile that she

can hardly function in the real world. Illusion may be

dangerous for Laura since the menagerie serves as a

substitute for life.

Amanda has lived most of her life inside a glass

menagerie, refusing to accept reality about her miserable

existence and the handicap of her daughter. Williams shows

the family in downfall, with certain members holding badly

to past visions of greatness. She does not accept the

loneliness and poverty that surrounds her, but desperately

clings to her romanticized version of her past “Eternally

play those worn-out phonograph records your father left as

a painful reminder of him”. (1871) She lives in a glass

menagerie, a world that is built on illusion and that can

be easily broken. Symbolism makes it clearer that her

memories are really illusions.

The lives of Tom, Laura, and Amanda are all symbols of

different types of glass figurines; different glass menageries.

Amanda’s world of illusion is shattered by the truth of her existence. She is an older woman with no gentleman callers, and neither of the Wingfield children are able to really escape from their past. Laura remains trapped in her world of glass animals, while Tom escapes from his mother and sister to become a sailor.


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