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The pressure of reality can impinge too much at times. Everyone has some means of escape. Consider those escape avenues used by the characters in The Glass Menagerie. Why are they important and what reality is each character running from?

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Yr 11 English Lit. Long Essay Emma Bright The Glass Menagerie The pressure of reality can impinge too much at times. Everyone has some means of escape. Consider those escape avenues used by the characters in The Glass Menagerie. Why are they important and what reality is each character running from? The characters in The Glass Menagerie are all attempting to escape the reality that is their depressing and non-existent lives. The lower-middle class Wingfield family is living in the American city of Saint Louis, where each of them is faced by the unwanted actuality of their existence. As a result, Amanda and her children Tom and Laura, each in their own way endeavour to break free from the anguish and confinement that they are faced with. Although each character is running from a different aspect of their live, they are all trying to escape from the same thing; the harsh reality of their existence. The character of Tom Wingfield is faced with the pressures and responsibilities of supporting Amanda and Laura after his father, Mr Wingfield left. Tom is left having to work making cardboard boxes in a shoebox factory and having to deal with a nagging, overbearing mother and a terribly shy, crippled sister with an inferiority complex. Amanda, although simply wanting the best for her children, is driven so forcefully by this that she cannot let Laura and Tom live ...read more.


"Her hands shook so she couldn't hit the right keys! The first time we gave a speed-test, she broke down completely - was sick at the stomach and almost had to be carried away to the wash-room!" (Scene 2 Pg. 243) Laura is so afraid of life she tries to hide away from it. That is why the fire escape, which Tom uses to escape, is exactly the opposite for Laura. Laura's escape of the real world is hiding inside the apartment, not out. When Laura does attempt to go outside into real life she slips, evident of her inability to progress into the normal world. "[Rushing out] Going - going! [A second later she cries out...] I'm all right, I slipped but I'm all right." (Scene 4 Pg. 247) Laura's fears of the world and life result in her escape of hiding, both in the apartment and in her own world. It is in this world, which comes in the symbolic form of her glass menagerie, to which she attempts to escape the expectations of her mother. Due to the fact that Laura suffers from this inferiority complex and is crippled, Amanda comes to the conclusion that she won't have an academic future. In order to secure her daughters future, she believes the only way to do that is find her a husband. ...read more.


Laura also tries to escape the pressures that her mother has forced upon her, and also life and reality itself, by her withdrawal into the apartment and her world of the glass menagerie. Their mother Amanda, although seemingly happy and bright, tries to escape from the harsh reality of a crippled, shy daughter with the prospect of no future, a husband who left her and a son, who works in a shoe factory for whom she is dependant on. Through her memories of her youth and trying to relive it herself and through Laura, Amanda attempts in escaping from the actuality of her dismal life. Although all three of the characters attempt eluding the reality of their lives, neither of them is able to do so. Laura world is broken by the gentlemen caller, but then withdraws into it yet again when she learns of his engagement. Amanda's hopes for the gentleman caller and the future of her daughter are also shattered by this news, and she is left without Tom's support, with no apparent future for her daughter. Although Tom leaves his problem's physically behind, he is unable to emotionally as he is haunted by the guilt of leaving Laura. The characters within The Glass Menagerie all try to break free of the reality of their dismal and non-existent lives, however, all find they cannot escape. ...read more.

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