"The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams

Essay by jdlarue22University, Bachelor'sA+, February 2005

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The Majority Family

The play "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams shows the reality that most American families are not perfect. There are two main themes throughout the story. The themes are the difficulty of accepting reality and the impossibility of true escape. These themes are directly and indirectly symbolized throughout the story.

The most important theme of "The Glass Menagerie" is the difficulty of accepting reality by the character throughout the story. Laura Wingfield has the weakest grasp on her reality. The glass animals she surrounds herself with are fragile and very whimsical. The glass unicorn's horn breaks off when Jim kisses her, which makes the unicorn just another horse. This makes her just another woman so she gets rid of the glass unicorn because she wants to live in a fairyland and not the regular life. The author states a childhood illness has left her crippled, one leg slightly shorter than the other, and held in a brace (Williams 400).

This description of Laura directly shows how she is fragile just like her glass figurines. This she uses to hide from reality and never achieve any real-world goals. In the play Amanda has the most complicated relationship to reality. Amanda unlike Laura values real life goals, for example, Amanda states "'No dear, you go in front and study your typewriter chart. Or practice your shorthand a little. Stay fresh and pretty!-It's almost time for our gentlemen callers to start arriving. (She flounces

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girlishly toward the kitchenette.) How many do you suppose we are going to entertain this afternoon"' (Williams 404). Even though Amanda values real-life goals she

stays in the off-reality that she should stay in the illusion of what she was brought up to be, a good old fashion southern belle. Tom finds fulfillment in...