A Play with Two Heads

Essay by cakalusaCollege, UndergraduateA+, May 2004

download word file, 2 pages 5.0 1 reviews

Downloaded 41 times

A compelling character within a story not only displays unique personality traits, but can do many things which include, but are not limited to: grabbing the reader's attention, affecting their surroundings, and even tell a story. Tom's role in The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams, is a character that helps narrate the story and as a character, who acts within those memories and highlights the play's conflict between truth and memory's distortion of truth. Although The Glass Menagerie is considered to be a non-realistic play, there is a definite reality in Tom's recap of his memory with his consciousness. Unlike the other characters, Tom sometimes addresses the audience directly, providing a separate explanation and opinion of what has been happening onstage. This style of storytelling would remind most readers of a detective story. Tom also demonstrates real and sometimes immature emotions as he takes part in the play's action like over exaggerating when being accused of going to the movies too often.

This duo character can confuse our understanding of Tom, as it is hard to decide whether he is a character whose opinion should be trusted or one who allows his emotions to affect his judgment.

As a single character, Tom is full of contradiction. On the one hand, he reads literature, writes poetry, and dreams of escape, and adventure. On the other hand, he seems forever bound to the mundane, petty world of the Wingfield family. We know that he reads D. H. Lawrence and follows political developments in Europe, but the content of his intellectual life are hard to decipher. We have no idea of Tom's opinion on Lawrence, nor do we have any indication of what Tom's poetry is about. All we know is what he thinks about his mother, his sister, and his...