Escapism In The Glass Memagerie Essay, Research Paper
Escapism in The Glass Menagerie
In The Glass Menagerie for Tennessee Williams characters, escape for the characters is clearly defined by the aura of the memory play . Each of them, Laura, Tom and Amanda, transpose their difficult situations into shadows of the truth.
Laura, our fragile daughter-figure, finds herself escaping life at every turn. She induces sickness in her typing class and even as the Gentleman Caller awaits her in the living room. Unable to deal with those difficulties, Laura goes to the zoo and walks aimlessly around the city to bide her time. Frightened of interacting with people, she turns to her collection of glass animals as a place of secure acceptance. Laura clings to the fear that she is strange and crippled though she herself exacerbates the reality of that. Magnifying her illness, denying her inner beauty to come forth, is the way Laura hides from a world that frightens her.
Tom, on the other hand, relies on self-denial to justify his concerns and feelings of insecurity. By convincing himself that he is a righteous male, he makes himself believe that his needs supersede those of his family s. Claiming to be an artist of emotions, he projects to the audience a facade of control and masculinity. His biggest dreams flash before his eyes on a screen in a darkened room; yet, in that little apartment he faces only the dimness. Even during his reflections on the fire escape he is not really separating himself because that metal frame, however sturdy, is still anchored to the apartment wall.
Amanda, the Wingfield matriarch, utilizes an almost hysterical mechanism of denial. She surrounds her reality with the images of days she saw herself as the southern belle. Whenever she urges her family forward, she inevitably retreats to a time when her chief problem was to choose a beau over all the other beaus. When Jim visits, she emits the image of a perfect southern hostess, honeysuckle manners and down-home coziness. It gives her an air of lost youthfulness. Under her vivacity and over her flurry of complaints lies a woman unwilling to age and unwilling to be left by an adored husband.
Each member of the Wingfield family seeks escape in a different way, whether by glass animals, memories, or movies, not one of them wants to face the world in which they live.