In the Glass Menagerie, the main characters in the play seem as if they are living their worlds vicariously. Each seems to try and avoid reality and try to flee from actuality in their lives. In doing so, each impinge on their peers lives, and in essence ruin and tear down their own lives. In the Glass Menagerie, Tom, Amanda, and Laura retreat to their own worlds to escape the harsh reality of life, which affects their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. In Tom’s life, he is fed up with his life, including his job, his peers, and his family.Order now
He is constantly being harassed by his mother and feels like she is deliberately beleaguering him. Tom feels stressed and wants a new life of adventure and feels like he needs to escape and move on to higher things. Tom escapes this reality by going onto the movies constantly. This is a place where chaos is extinguished and he can enjoy his life free from anxiety. Amanda says, “Where are you going? The movies? I don’t believe that lie! That’s why you act like this… nobody goes to the movies as much as you do… ” (Williams 27). The fire escape is also used by Tom to get out of his troubles by smoking.
Tom’s pressure may affect his judgment, thus affecting his attitude and relationship with his family. This is especially true with his mother, Amanda, who has a turbulent relationship with Tom. Amanda is constantly harassing Tom and this makes him stressed and impulsive. This is shown when Tom is trying to eat and Amanda is nagging him on how he eats. Tom remarks, “I haven’t enjoyed one bite of this dinner because of your constant directions on how to eat it. It’s you that makes me rush through meals with your hawk like attention to every bite I take.
Sickening – spoils my appetite – all this discussion of- animals’ secretion – salivary glands – mastication! “(Williams 10). In Amanda’s life, she is trying to cling onto past memories in her life. This is apparent and reflected through her constant flashbacks which she persistently brings up to her children. She continuously tells her daughter, Laura, how many gentleman callers she has had when she was young. She lives in her own fantasy, like her children, with the memories of her life back when she was young living in Blue Mountain.
Upon bringing these memories up, it affects the characters relationship with her because they are fed up with her stories. This is true with Tom who feels utterly irritated by Amanda’s stories. Tom says, “They’re going to blow us all sky-high some night! I’ll be glad, very happy, and so will you! You’ll go up, up on a broomstick, over Blue Mountain with seventeen gentleman callers! you ugly – babbling old- witch! ” (Williams 46). Laura also feels the heaviness to live up to her mother’s expectations, thus affecting their relationship. In Laura’s life, she is extremely shy and decides to live her life in her glass figures and old records.
She is so shy, she fails to adapt to new situations and even becomes sick after trying a new typing class. The typing instructor tells Amanda, “Her hands shook so much she couldn’t hit the right keys! The first time we took a test she broke down completely… sick to her stomach” (Williams 25). In the time she is supposed to be working at her typing class, she instead walks to streets in the cold just to avoid her situations. This shows just how far Laura will go to avoid new situations. She is unaccustomed to the outside world and this makes her even more prone to trusting only her glass menagerie.
This is shown when Jim O’Connor visits the Wingfield apartment and Laura refuses to even open the door when he arrives. She is so scared of failure and unattached to reality that she rejects even making contact with another man. Laura’s shyness affects the people around her such as Tom and Jim O’Connor because he knows Laura is frail and weak, which is their only perception of her. Together these characters show exactly what it means to live a life vicariously. They can’t put up with the present and each one simultaneously rejects reality and tries to escape their real lives by living it out in a fantasy.
Each of these characters has their own problems and tries to deal with them individually. Tom, Amanda, and Laura retreat to their own worlds to escape the harsh reality of life, which in retrospect affects their lives and the lives of everyone else around them. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.