The Glass Menagerie
When people don’t find fulfillment in their own lives, they tend to try and escape their problems. In Tennesse William’s play The Glass Menagerie Amanda, Laura, and Jim try to escape their misery, refusing to come to terms with reality.
Amanda, whose husband left her to follow his dreams and travel the world, has succumbed to her past. Bitter that her life isn’t what it was when she is younger, she constantly talks about a time where she had ‘many gentleman callers’. She reverts back to her memories where she is loved by many and had no woes. It is a stark contrast to her current conditions where her husband has left her, her daughters insecurities keep her from unlocking her true potential, and a son who is on the verge on leaving just like his father. She tries to overcome her shortcomings through her children and becomes so caught up in her past that it is almost like she half expects for one of her callers to show up at her doorstep and sweep her off her feet. Her delusions are exactly what eventually drive her son Tom, away.
Laura is extremely shy, and is always worried about what others think. To avoid having to make contact with anyone from the outside world she starts to seclude herself to her glass menagerie. One of her legs is shorter than the other, causing a slight limp. Even though it was barely noticeable, she complained to Jim how horrible it was to walk to class because it made a horrible thumping sound, only to realize that she was the only one who noticed it. Another time, while she was talking to Jim about her menagerie she states how she never hears any arguments between her menagerie glasses so that must mean that they get along well (Williams, 83). This symbolizes just how Laura’s thinking process throughout the book: As long as she continued to stay silent, and never voiced how she felt there would be no problems and everyone would get along. It is not until Jim’s short visit where that she finally gets her first glimpse at reality.
Tom found his escape from his oppressive mother in the movies he watched. But that only fueled his need to leave the house even more. When he finally leaves the house for good though, he regrets how he left Laura in her darkest moment (Williams, 97). While she tries to recover from the horrible news of Jim’s engagement, he gets in another fight with Amanda. His anger and selfish ambition clouds his judgment and leaves the house for good. Like Laura and Amanda he never confronted his problems in the house-the fact that they all were living an allusion.