"The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams.

Essay by sirmahilHigh School, 12th gradeA-, June 2003

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The play, The Glass Menagerie , by Tennessee Williams portrays the escapisms and illusions of the Wingfield family, Laura, Tom and Amanda, and the varying degree of damage these indulgences cause to themselves and others. The difficult and trying situations in which the Wingfield family find themselves cause them to descend into a world of glass figures, past glories, and dreams of adventure. It is a world, though not real, that is more pleasant than the truth and this is alluded to from the conception of the play by Tom, the narrator:

Tom: Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleave. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.

However, the detrimental effect of these illusions to the individual as well as to others only reinforces the image of a family of misfits.

The illusions of Laura Wingfield can be attributed to her feeling of social isolation. However, these same illusions only serve to reinforce and emphasise these feelings and in turn force her to further crawl within her shell. Laura's inability to conduct herself in public, her perpetual nervousness and her overwhelming sense of self-consciousness, especially in relation to her disability, have all been sharpened by her illusions of glass figures and their menagerie. However, the most prevalent escapism undertaken by Laura and also the most destructive is with her animals. Laura has an unhealthy fixation upon these animals, in particular the "unicorn", she hears them talk, plays with them and cares for them, much the same as a child would with dolls.

Laura: Little articles of it, they're ornaments mostly! Most of them are animals made out of glass, the tiniest...