• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"How does Tennessee Williams portray the theme of 'being trapped' in the opening three scenes of The Glass Menagerie?"

Extracts from this document...


"How does Tennessee Williams portray the theme of 'being trapped' in the opening three scenes of The Glass Menagerie?" Entrapment is an important theme of The Glass Menagerie, the play is of Tom's memory living with his mother, Amanda, and sister, Laura, in 1930's America. These were not particularly happy times for many people due to the oppression. Tom, Laura and Amanda all appear trapped but not all by the same thing. Tom is trapped by the thought of his future and the present, Amanda is trapped in the past in the days she was a young girl and Laura us trapped in her own self-consciousness and lack of confidence. The Glass Menagerie is a memory play, so the characters are trapped within Tom's memory. Tom is showing the situation and personalities of his family, particularly his mother in ways that are emphasised in order to support his own feelings and justify why he left them. In the first scene Tom acknowledges this fact by saying 'it is sentimental, it is not realistic'. ...read more.


Laura is happier inside, in the refuge of her home she is scared by the world and protects herself by keeping it away from her. In Scene 2 the audience discover that Laura has not been attending her course at Rubicam's Business College and instead has been walking around in the cold or visiting the zoo or the jewel box. While Amanda believes Laura has done this 'just for deception' it obvious that Laura is trapped within her own lack of confidence, she 'couldn't face' going back to the college after getting so nervous during a speed test. Amanda is able to make the whole scenario about her, instead of seeing that her daughter needs comforting, Amanda asks Laura 'What is going to become of us, what is the future?' Amanda forces the thought of the future on her daughter when Laura is really content in her world of glass. Unlike her brother and mother, Laura does not want to escape from the apartment, it is not a prison to her like it is to the rest of her family. ...read more.


The Wingfield family are not the typical family. Amanda is an over compensating parent and while she acts caring she is dependent on her children's' futures, she is also insensitive to their needs. Laura is the only member of the family happy to be at home, she needs comfort and to be kept away from the wider world as she is afraid of the consequences, she loves her brother and mother a great deal and is hurt when they argue. Tom does feel a sense of duty to his sister but the way his mother treats him is enough to drive him away from the family. The family are dysfunctional and this may be a contributing factor to the element of entrapment, instead of supporting each other they end up hurting each other and leaving each other with the sense of failure and letting each other down. The characters could also be trapped by guilt and also the pain of the absent father. While they avoid talking about him, his presence is felt from the 'larger-than-life-size photograph above the mantel'. There is a general sense of failure and unhappiness in the play it could be this that traps the characters where they are. Laura Brown 12GW ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE The Glass Menagerie section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE The Glass Menagerie essays

  1. The Glass menagerie - 'Being a memory play, it is dimly lighted, it is ...

    The other two characters in The Glass Menagerie, although only having a very loose connection to the life of Tennessee Williams, (in contrast to Laura's strong connection), have a very realistic basis in Tom's life. Tom's father was quite obviously not conceived of his memory but very much a part of reality.

  2. Important Symbols and Themes of The Glass Menagerie

    shell, if she would come out of her world of glass, if she would come into reality. She is completely changed. But this is not enough. For when Jim breaks the news that he is engaged Laura looks in her hand at the broken piece of glass and then slips

  1. Relationships in The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams.

    "I'm going to the movies" Tom is escaping, can't stand the arguments and the exasperations of his mother that he has to run away again. From these examples above we can clearly see that Tom is really fed up with Amanda interfering in his life and telling him off all the time, criticizing him.

  2. In the memory play "The Glass Menagerie", by Tennessee Williams, the author is giving ...

    This shock causes her to immerse in her own unrealistic world. She was always talking of her youth and telling Laura and Tom stories of her seventeen gentlemen callers and of her privileged life at the plantation. She didn't attempt to do actions in order to help the family to

  1. Explore the treatment of deception in "The Glass Menagerie" ...

    Tom also deceives his mother for this very reason. His Mother cannot accept his ambitions and he ends up using money kept aside for lighting bills to pay for his enrollment in the marines. When Jim returns home drunk and is said to look like a spasm of a man in contrast to the sustained power and dignity of

  2. tConsidering the opening two scenes of 'The Glass Menagerie', how effectively does Tennessee Williams ...

    The picture gives us an impression of a 'gallant' man with admiral qualities yet throughout the play the father is seen as evil, and his first positive qualities are seen as negative. The 'larger-than-life-size photograph' is mentioned by Tom is his opening speech where Tom remembers his fathers departure and memory.

  1. What Do We Learn About The Characters And Relationships Of Tom, Amanda and Laura ...

    Laura is introduced to us when she interrupts Amanda and Tom's potential argument. This shows the timid nature of her and that she dislikes confrontation and is prepared to distract them to prevent the possible argument. The first page of dialect is a very good example of each character's tendencies.

  2. 'Explore the ways in which Tennessee Williams presents the character of Amanda in scenes ...

    The way she treats Laura, calling her 'sister' and saying 'I want you to stay fresh and pretty' pre empts her story of her 'seventeen! - gentlemen callers!' The nostalgic way she speaks stating they 'Had to send the nigger over to bring in folding chairs,' links her past to

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work