The Glass Menagerie-Characterization and symbolism in Tennessee Williams' play.

Essay by lfogelCollege, UndergraduateA+, June 2003

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People have a certain way of thinking, feeling, and reacting that is known as human nature. In everyday life many actions, however unintentional, give clues to our personal agendas. Insecurities, especially, have a way of showing their presence through gestures, eye contact (or lack thereof), and verbal utterings. In "The Glass Menagerie", Tennessee Williams utilizes intense characterizations to illustrate the specific traits of his various fictional personas.

In the mother, Amanda, the reader sees an aging Southern belle who is so afraid of the farewell bow of her youth that she tries to live vicariously through her daughter. She repeatedly tells wistful stories of her days as "belle of the ball", almost as if she says the words enough she can regain her past. She is a harpy, a personality product evident in many people whose lives have taken an unexpected downward spiral. While her demeanor suggests displeasure with the actions of those around her, in actuality it is evidence of her displeasure with her own choices and life path.

People who live in the past tend to feel that if they can just get back there again, for even one fleeting moment, they can erase mistakes and begin anew. Amanda is to be pitied more than disliked, for anyone con-

sumed with that much self-regret is inflicting punishment enough upon him or herself.

Tom is overwhelmed by his responsibilities for the care of his mother and sister. He is angry with his father for leaving a son in this position while feeling that he has done nothing to deserve this fate. He writes to escape the realities of his existence and to rage against the fates (his father) that have done this to him. He has been patient for a very long time, but that patience is...