The Glass Menagerie
The Glass Menagerie is a short play of a small part of a family’s life. But this small part of their lives tells the viewer so much more about the characters involved. We get a glimpse into their personalities and their past. We are also left to work out the ending in our imaginations. This essay will explore three main characters; namely the mother, the daughter and the son; and show how these characters tell us so much about the story.
A vivacious mother trying to live through her daughter
Amanda is the mother of the other two main characters. She has had a full social life as a young woman and tells her children stories of how so many men were after her in her day. This seems to be a defence mechanism against the fact that her husband left her so that he could travel. However, Amanda still believes that the only way her daughter will find a suitor, is by being as vivacious as what she was at that age.
A son with much of his father in him
Tom is the son of Amanda (and also the narrator of the play). Although he has been left with providing for his family, he secretly desires to leave just as his father did. He also dreams of travelling so as to escape the mundane existence of working every day. Towards the end of the play, we learn that Tom has sacrificed his family’s utility money and bought himself a ticket aboard the merchant marines.
The likable characteristics of the daughter
Laura is the shy daughter of Amanda and sister of Tom. When the family is visited by an old school friend of hers, Jim, Laura hides away pretending to be sick. However, she later joins the conversation and finds herself infatuated with the guest (as she was in school). Jim accidentally breaks one of Laura’s glass unicorn figurines, but Laura quickly forgives him and says that the figurine looks like a horse.
Laura is a forgiving character and despite her shyness, always sees the good in people and circumstances. She is nothing like her mother, which may add to the likeableness of her character. Tom intends to leave his family to fend for themselves so that he can find adventure on the seas. The culmination of all this is left up to us; but the point of the play seems to be more focused on the characters and the intricacies of their lives.
Essay on Tom in The Glass Menagerie
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The Character of Tom in The Glass Menagerie
Tom Wingfield has a dual role in The Glass Menagerie. The first Tom is the narrator, who introduces his second self, the character. In his fifth soliloquy, Tom the narrator indicates that time has detached him from the drama, "for time is the longest distance between two places" (Williams 1568). In the closing soliloquy Tom recounts how he lives and re-lives the story in his memory, though he is detached from the participants in the original affair. Like his father, "a telephone man who fell in love with long distances," (Williams 1523), Tom has fallen in love with the long distance that is time.
Tom is a sensitive, artistic man who is forced by circumstances into a…show more content…
Tennessee Williams gives us no indication that Tom's escape from his father, Amanda, Laura, and Jim ever happens - what is most compelling about the play is that Tom passes to the reader and the audience the responsibility of making meaning out of his life.
Although signs of Pater's aesthetic, poetic passion, can be found in this play, the premise of the action is phenomenological and the structure of the argument is positivistic. Because Tom continues to experience the memory, again and again, his philosophic approach to understanding the grief and guilt attached to his abandonment of his mother goes beyond Hegel's aim to that philosopher's idea of Concept: Tom refuses to accept the situation as "the corpse which has left the tendency behind" (Kaufmann 10). In the play, Tom is able to relate his experience to the audience he has discovered, "by a well-combined use of reasoning and observation, the actual laws of phenomena-that is to say, their invariable relations of succession and likeness" (Comté 2). He is able to express the logic and the laws of his situation (his field, memory); however, at the end of the play Tom has not grasped the meaning locked within his own memory.
In remembering himself in relationship to his father, his mother, his sister and his best friend, Tom the narrator imbues the characters with the magic he claims in his first soliloquy to possess. Although The