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The Glass Menagerie - Essay Example

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This essay analyzes the characters' internal and external conflicts in "The Glass Menagerie". The play, “The Glass Menagerie” shows a family who chases the American Dream although the dream proves to be an illusion. Written by Tennessee Williams, the main characters are Amanda, Tom and Laura…
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The Glass Menagerie
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Download file to see previous pages Amanda is caught up in the pleasant memories of her youth and the dreams of the Southern belle, hoping to find the same kind of young adulthood for her own daughter and is incapable of considering that her own daughter’s circumstances are vastly different from the circumstances of Amanda’s own youth. Laura, a shy girl with a decided limp as the result of childhood illness, is extremely shy and considers herself incapable of facing the outside world. She prefers to live in the world of her childhood with her music and her glass figurines despite the fact that she needs to find some means of supporting herself in her future. All three of these characters can be seen to live primarily in an internal world of their own creation that directly conflicts with the world outside and makes it difficult for them to confront real-life issues. Despite his attempts to escape his past, Tom tells the audience at the end of the play that he followed “in my father’s footsteps, attempting to find in motion what was lost in space. I traveled around a great deal … I would have stopped, but I was pursued by something” (VII, 237). That something turns out to be the images, smells, sounds and other reminders of the sister he left behind, proving through the very act of telling the play that memories cannot be escaped regardless of how hard or fast you run. While Tom is now a member of the merchant marine and an accomplished traveler, living out the internal dreams of his youth in a way he had never thought possible while living in his mother’s apartment, this outward show of personal dream fulfillment is revealed as little more than an illusion of its own. In truth, Tom’s heart remains trapped within the small apartment he shared with his mother and sister. In Tom’s case, rather than helping him hide from reality, his memories serve to force reality upon him at odd moments throughout every day.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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