The Glass Menagerie: Plight of the Wingfields In Tennessee Williams: A Portrait in Laughter and Lamentation, Harry Rasky uses extensive interviews with Williams to explore the playwright’s intent. Through these interviews, Rasky presents a glimpse of the playwright’s life-world and the driving force behind his creations. Rasky reports Williams as saying: “I have always been more interested in creating a character that contains something crippled. I think nearly all of us have some kind of defect, anyway, and I suppose I have found it easier to identify with the characters who verge on hysteria, who were frightened of life, who were desperate to reach out to another person” (134).
This statement supports the idea that Williams incorporates something crippled into all his major characters. In The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams portrays a crippling mother and child relationship comprising fundamental themes of dysfunctionalism. He poignantly illustrates that none of the characters are capable of living in the present.
They believe their functionality and life’s happiness lies in their repeated quests for escape from plight. As such, they retreat into their separate worlds to escape life’s brutalities.
Their daily tribulations thrive in an overcrowded building’s rear apartment where lower middle-class population is a symptomatic impulse of a large and fundamentally enslaved section in American society. Set in Depression-era St. Louis, the overbearing Southern ex-charmer, Amanda Wingfield is the de facto head of the household. A former Southern belle, Amanda is a single mother who behaves as though she still is the high school beauty queen. Williams’ still-resonant study reveals her desperate struggle with the forces of fate against her dysfunctional relationship that looms and grows among her adult children. (Gist) Laura, Amanda, Tom, and Jim resort to various escape mechanisms to avoid reality. Laura, fearful of being denigrated as inferior by virtue of her innate...