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Reality and Fantasy - Book Report/Review Example

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In his play , "The Glass Menagerie", Tennessee Williams dramatizes the struggle between reality and wishful thinking. Written in the last century, this play is considered to be semi- autobiographical , and depicts the struggles of the author and his family imprisoned in a fantasy world…
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Reality and Fantasy
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Download file to see previous pages The plot is centered on a middle class American family, the Wingfields, which consists of Tom, who is also the narrator, Amanda, his mother and his crippled sister Laura. Tom works in a warehouse, a job which he hates . He goes to the cinema at every opportunity to escape into the fantasy world of adventure . Amanda, who has seen a better life, is always nagging at her children to "rise and shine".( Williams 28 ).Laura, the delicate daughter of the family lives in her own fantasy world of the glass animals , which she lovingly polishes . Since Laura has left her business school, and is not capable of finding a job, Amanda feels she should get married. She tells Tom to bring a "gentleman caller" home. When Jim O'Conner , a colleague of Tom's does call, Laura becomes sick. Jim is kind to Laura and dances with her, and while dancing, a glass unicorn falls down and breaks its horn. Laura takes it in her stride , and presents the unicorn to Jim, who is engaged to another girl. Thus, Laura comes out of her fantasy world.
Williams has built the character of Tom as a young man who is trapped in a soul deadening job and who wants to escape from it. His regular visits to the cinema is a means of escape from the boring , humdrum life of the middle class. He goes to watch a magic show, which is another form of escape into fantasy. He narrates his experience to his sister . "But the wonderfullest trick of all was the coffin trick. We nailed him into a coffin and he got out of the coffin without removing one nail. There is a trick that would come in handy for me-get me out of this two-by-four situation"(Williams 27) The imagery of the coffin is used to show Tom's stifling confinement in his stultifying job, and the magic show signifies the flight into fantasy. Tom does have the strength to break free of the trap and pursue his ambition as a sailor. He offers the scarf he brought back from the magic show to his sister. This gesture signifies his love for his sister as well as an offer to help her escape .
Williams has portrayed Amanda as the good mother, who wants her children to be successes, being unable to perceive their failings. She wants her son Tom to be a successful businessman, while he himself longs for a more creative outlet for his talents. In Scene 4 of Part 2, Amanda says to Tom ,"I know your ambitions do not lie in the warehouse, that like everybody in the whole wide world-you had to-make sacrifices, but-Tom-Tom-life's not easy, it calls for-Spartan endurance".(Williams 32) Amanda is herself in a world of fantasy- she feels that her daughter will get many suitors who will overlook Laura's peculiarities. She says she had seventeen gentlemen callers one evening in her youth. She deliberately closes her eyes to reality and her changed circumstance in life. While she longs for social prestige and material success, she fails to recognize the reality of her situation.
Laura's character is based on Williams' own sister who was a mentally troubled woman, who later turned schizophrenic .In the play, Laura is the fragile, sensitive sister of Tom. She cannot tolerate the harshness of life, and she takes refuge in her beloved glass animals, to the chagrin of her mother. Before entering the room , Amanda peeps to see what Amanda is doing, and "purses her lips, opens her eyes very wide , rolls them upward and shakes her head."(11) This is because Laura is ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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