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

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?

Extracts from this document...


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.

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. Marked by a teacher

    Discuss the extent to which language creativity can be identified in everyday interaction in ...

    4 star(s)

    This is nevertheless a contemporary part of language creativity, whereas the language play between the two girls has been around for a long time. However, the art of play will quite possibly still be around many years into the future.

  2. Theme of Escape in the Glass Menagerie

    Laura escapes the tension of life with Amanda and her fears of the outside world by retreating to the Victrola to comfort herself with memories of her childhood and her father. Another escape for Laura is her Glass Menagerie; her collection represents the private world that she turns to where she feels safe, comforted and hidden from the world.

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

    However, it is possible to suggest such a relationship, especially through the way it is performed on stage. The last relationship I'm going to discuss is Jim's and Laura's. Jim, throughout the whole play almost, was known to us as Laura's high school crush and as the gentleman caller, especially according to Amanda.

  2. Important Symbols and Themes of The Glass Menagerie

    Then he asks her to blow out her candles (Kirszner and Mandell 1854). When he does this he is asking her to forgive him so that he can finally be set free from his memory, for there is no escape there is only, freedom which must be given by forgiveness.

  1. The Glass Menagerie - Symbols used to describe the characters

    Amanda tries to cover up by telling the gentleman caller that she got ill from standing over the hot stove. Amanda just could not face the fact that Laura was indeed very different from other girls. In scene seven, Laura explains the significance of her glass managerie to the gentleman caller, Jim O'conner.

  2. The Glass Menagerie

    Another example of the projector being used occurs on the first time a 'gentleman caller' is mentioned. Obviously to Williams, it was clear that many readers may not have been aware of the term 'gentlemen caller'. In response to this, a silhouette of a suited man, waiting at a door

  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. Your Shoes - analyse four of the main characters; the Narrator, the Narrator's ...

    We see both men as patriarchal characters who seem to be typical mid 20th century males, and think it is the woman's' job to do all the work etc. She defends her husband over her daughter because her husband reminds her of her father who she worshipped.

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