Underlying themes in the Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams.

Essay by iamzeroHigh School, 11th gradeA-, April 2004

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One of the most prominent themes in the Glass Menagerie is that of abandonment by their father. When the father left it had a dramatic effect on the family. Tom began planning his own escape, Amanda slowly began losing her mind and the whole family was thrown into financial dependence on one another. Tom and Laura's father had more of an impact on the family after he left than when he was living with them. This idea was apparent throughout the story.

The abandonment by the father had a major impact on Tom. When Amanda began bothering Tom he thought that he could just run away, because that's what his father did. Tom truly longs to escape from his life and leave for good. When he finally tells Amanda this. "I know I seem dreamy, but inside -- well, I'm boiling! Whenever I pick up a shoe, I shudder a little thinking how short life is and what I am doing! Whatever that means, I know it doesn't mean shoes -- except as something to wear on a traveler's feet!" (Williams 62).

Just like his father he wants to leave everything behind and start a new life. The fact that the father abandoned the family became justification for Tom's actions. He began to feel that if his father could do that, why shouldn't he do the same thing?

When the father left Amanda began developing severe emotional problems. She was no longer able to face reality and retreated into her memories of her youth. At one point in the book Toms says to her, "You don't know things anywhere! You live in a dream: you manufacture illusions." (Williams 95) The abandonment by her husband was too much for her to bear; she went into denial and refused to accept the...