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Tennessee Williams' main concern is to show that in this world escape is impossible. Is this a fair comment on the play, ' The Glass Menagerie'?

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Introduction

Tennessee Williams' main concern is to show that in this world escape is impossible. Is this a fair comment on the play, ' The Glass Menagerie'? The main theme in 'The Glass Menagerie' is escapism. It is a dominant motif, revealed through characters expression and plot. In, 'The Glass Menagerie,' many of the characters do not manage to efficiently escape life of the Wingfield apartment, consequently the statement of escape being impossible, is a just statement. The incapability to 'escape' from their microcosm is visible throughout the scenes. The father, Mr Wingfield, shows our first sense of escapism. A blown up picture of him still hangs on the Wingfield apartments' living room wall. Sixteen years after he had left. His symbolism associates with Tom, because the photograph can be a persistent reminder to Tom. Mr Wingfield got away, leaving Tom to fill his shoes, and to act as the 'stable father' in the Wingfield family. What Tom desires is; adventure and a career, by keeping Tom at the factory, he is contributing to his deprivation of his dreams and ambition. I think the picture of the father can show the potentiality of escaping the world of poverty, the symbol of the 'American Dream,' it is just a choice of when and how to escape. ...read more.

Middle

It is inevitable that what Tom resents most from his father is escape, which in the end, manages to achieve. The coffin trick is also completely ironic because Tom has escaped, from the apartment, to see the show, and he observes a nailed in coffin, which depicts that Tom cannot escape, and is trapped in his own life. The fire escape is a key symbol. It is the entrance to their apartment, and where Tom stands to smoke. Tom also uses the fire escape at the end of,' The Glass Menagerie,' when he is speaking in soliloquy, after arguing with Amanda. This is to be Tom's final departure, following, "in my fathers footsteps." 'The Glass Menagerie' is a 'memory play', in my opinion, Tom's character smoking symbolises this. It shows his unclear memories and the dreamy atmosphere, also shown to us through stage direction, "...dimly lighted, it is sentimental..." Laura slips on the fire escape in scene 4. It causes slight disruption in the apartment. Some critics would argue that the fire escape accident illustrates Laura's lack of ability to manage on her own, in the outside world, her flaw of insecurity. ...read more.

Conclusion

By offering Jim this souvenir, she is offering Jim an,' escape' from his life, into her dream existence. The ending of the play, Tom leaves to join the Merchant Navy, though is still unable to completely escape, as there are constant reminders of Laura. "I pass the lighted window of a shop...pieces of coloured glass..." The glass in shop windows remind Tom of Laura and her secure surroundings with her glass menagerie. The majority of characters are unable to escape completely from the real world, as they are still tied to their microcosm, the Wingfield apartment. Mr Wingfield has managed to escape from the hopeless situation the family are in. He has managed to escape possibly through envisaging the position the family will adhere to, so if he doesn't escape to pursue a career, he will be burdened with supporting the family, missing out on his adventure. Jim escapes from the potential relations with Laura, as he is already engaged to Betty, but in a sense Jim is also minimising his escape, as marriage could be seen as tying himself down. Even when Tom is physically free from the apartment, he is not mentally free, and can never escapes for a life of adventure like he saw in the movies because he will always have the thoughts of Laura. ...read more.

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