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Introduction

How does Tennessee Williams portray the three main characters in the first three scenes of The Glass Menagerie? In this essay will be looking at the way Tennessee Williams demonstrates the main character Amanda, Tom and Laura over the introductory scenes. I will look at the language he uses in the stage directions and I will also look at the characters language and movements. In addition, looking deeper into the characters and really understanding them will be important to gain a thorough perceptive of each person. Originally I glanced at the production notes and came across the 'The Characters' page that provides initial ideas and thoughts towards the individuals. This short page informs us about Amanda and gives us the impression that she lives in the past and is a small, confused lady. It tells us "there is much to admire about Amanda, and as much to love and pity as there is to laugh at'. This tells us that there is a lot of emotion built around her and we also grasp that she can be quite foolish and cruel. Laura is next to be described and this is the first time we are advised that Laura is 'crippled'. We get an understanding of Laura's characteristics from this brief collection of lines. She is portrayed to be very different from her mother, as she does live in reality. "Laura's separation increases till she is like a piece of her own glass collection, too exquisitely fragile to move from the shelf" this gives evidence which makes us believe the shelf is symbolism for home. The overall idea giving us the impression she is too weak of a person to leave home and her mother too. Tom is the final one of the main three characters; this small overview empressing his characteristics reveals to us that he is not only Amanda's son but also the narrator of the play. ...read more.

Middle

This seems over dramatised by Amanda and as a reader I feel she is acting in this way in order to claim extra attention. Amanda then treats her like a naughty child. She asks clich´┐Ż questions that all parents ask when they disapprove " Why? Why? How old are you, Laura?"; "I thought you were an adult; it seems I was mistaken". Following this we see that Amanda believes the case of Laura getting a man is a joint problem rather than something Laura must sort out alone. "What are wegoing to do, what is going to become ofus, what is the future?" Here Amanda uses a lot of collective pronouns to include herself into the situation. Words like 'we' and 'us' give the impression that maybe Amanda gives Laura everything because she is trying to use her to relive her life once more. Tennessee Williams shows music as Laura's means of escaping her mother. Here as her mother continues talking about the fifty dollars tuition "Laura draws a long breath and gets awkwardly to her feet. She crosses to the victrola and winds it up". The victrola is an old fashion music player. Laura seems to turn to music often in times of distress. We then notice Amanda becoming aggressive and see her full with ager as she talks to Laura. Amanda has been paying tuition fees for Laura however Laura has not been attending. Laura claims to have gone walking but her mother believes this to be a lie. The fact she says walking is ironic because Laura has a disability (one of her legs is shorter than the other). This shows that Laura will even suffer having to walk in order to try and escape from her mother's world of men and marriage. "Walking? Walking? In winter? Deliberately courting pneumonia in that light coat? Where did you walk to, Laura?" We then see Amanda in a forceful and insensitive manner once more as she really tries to get the idea of men into Laura's head. ...read more.

Conclusion

We come under the understanding that Amanda finds it hard to let go of the past and although she shows a distinct interest in men, we believe she also can't let go of her ex-husband. Amanda dominates the family conversationand usually manages to turn the subject to Laura finding herself a man. The idea of Laura getting a gentleman caller has become an obsession of Amanda's so much so we are under the impression Amanda is trying to live her life again through her daughter. Laura is a very different character from her mother. Laura does bot have much of an interest in men and is the character which lives in reality most. We have known from the very beginning that Laura is disabled but as the play had progressed we have come to understand Laura more and more. We now have realised just how fragile she is and aain chracteristic of hers is that Laura is very nervous and shy. We also have come to realise that she finds the topic of men very uncomfortable to talk about. Lastly we know that Laura likes her music which is another means of escaping on top of her glass collection. The music enables her to escape moments off distress and may sometimes drown out her mother. Tom is the final one of the three main characters. We feel as though Tom is trapped in his mothers world and we get the impression he does want to leave. Also Tom has a job in a factory and it is clear from these three scenes that he gets no enjoyment from this. Tom's true passion is clearly poetry and we get a clearer understanding of this from his speech which is portrayed to be very poetic. Tom does want to perdue being a poet but he knows it is not realistic, which is why he has settled for a warehouse job. Finally we see that Tom, like his sister, has ameans of escape. In this case the movies are his escapism. ...read more.

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