The Glass Menagerie Tom gains importance not only as a character in the drama but also as the narrator of the drama. The use of Tom as a narrator presents the drama with a double focus: the world of reality and the world of illusion, Tom the character in the drama represent illusion…
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Tom the narrator regards his mother with compassion; which he was unable to express when he lived under the roof. This variation in the play is the slow deviation from the truthfulness of reality. In the play the narrator presents Amanda not as the villain but as a lonely woman caught up in a helpless situation, as a woman whose good intentions are not appreciated by anybody. As the narrator Tom is also an emissary from the outside world. He sees and narrates the ills of the society in conflict. The narrator views the plight of the family against the larger background of the ills of the society at his time. The ills of the microcosmic family are viewed by the narrator as the outcome of the ills of the microcosmic society. Tom the narrator has come to see that the Wingfeild family is not the only family lost in illusion. The whole American society is viewed by the narrator as taking refugee from such unpleasant realities as the depression, the on-coming war, the pettiness of the life of the individual etc. Tom the character essentially concerned with himself. He sees the outside world as a quest for freedom with an atmosphere of limitless possibilities. As Bigsby says “ he has fallen in love with long distance …”(Bigsby 38) But Tom the narrator is wiser. He can see the sufferings of the Wingfeld family as being part of vaster social malady. Tennessee Williams in the Glass Menagerie has ordered his vision in a clear schematic design. In the opening moments of the play Tom the poet figure, speak to the audience of of the conventions –“Being a memory play it is dimly lighted, it is sentimental, it is not realistic “. When he refers to the gentle man caller he says “He is the most realistic character in the play being an emissary from a world of reality that we were somehow set apart from. But since I have poet’s weakness for symbols, I am using this character also as a symbol…” The glass menagerie is a synthetic image “an illusion projected by an imaginary camera eye, turned inward upon the self and backyard upon the memory”. Williams collates several images of past from the fragments of shattered consciousness and in short the play represents a recapitulation of the poetic journey of Tom. Tom’s final speech in the play summarizes his grasp of universal truth ‘ I did not go the moon, I went much further – for time is the longest distance two places …for now a days the world is lit by lightening…” There is very little action in the play and there is no pattern of casual development in Tom’s vision. Thus the glass Menagerie is a memory play both in approach and content. Tom himself says that the drama lack realism but more symbolic in nature. The narrator’s memory is so clear that he can overt events with more flexibility. The role of Tom is double as the recollection of a narrator and also as the character who acts within the limits of recollections. Thus he is able to depict the tension between objectively presented dramatic truth and the truth presented through memory. Tom successfully do this by sometimes addressing the audience and sometimes presenting himself as an actor with the necessary emotions . This double role sometimes confuses the audience. Since the play is autobiographical we can notice the similarity between the playwright and his memories about his own youth. Who was Tom or what was his opinions about his poetry or his readings, are unknown to the audience. But Tom’
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Tom also took on the responsibilities of tending to the well-being of his ill and painfully shy younger sister. However, Tom’s ignorance and selfishness gets the better of him, a behavior that had been building up until it reached a boiling point at the end of the play, resulting in Laura’s emotional distress.
Williams narrates the story through employing multiple layers of meaning to the words, settings, characters and situations. For example, the glass menagerie, the urge of the protagonist to forget her sister, and the blowing out of the candles at the end of the play all employ a deeper layer of meaning. Williams employed the use of symbolism to introduce themes, characters, morals and values, and then to link them all together.
The author of the paper states that in this play, the author has used themes and symbols to bring out the escape mechanism employed by all characters in order to evade the reality of their lives. Though the play brings out weighty themes/subjects like failures of the family structure and failures of fathers, escapism remains a major theme in the play.
This intense drama ventures into familial relationships, societal situations, and the nature of memory. “The Glass Menagerie” opened in the mid-1940s in Chicago, and instantly became a mainstay in modern short fiction and continues to influence playwrights and authors of all genres.
ical machinations of the other characters indeed make the drama a “menagerie” of cruelty and dysfunction, Laura displays an almost unreal, pure compassion towards the other characters. It is a testament to Williams’s skill as a playwright that she does not appear
Amanda is still a dominating figure as a mother, while Laura remains sheltered as if she is a young child. Tom also does something predictable which is following his father’s footsteps of abandoning their family. The
Tom makes up the play’s narrator and protagonist. Willams’s play was setup in the backdrop of the great depression and shows how the Wingfield family grapples with its present, past, and future. The family appears
A. Laura is just another part of her glass figurine collection. B. She is the most compassionate one in the family. II: Tom Wingfield’s illusionary world. A. Tom is seemingly capable of functioning in the real world. B. His family means more to him than he himself realizes.
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