However, the past no longer exists, causing them distress in their journey through life.
The Glass Menagerie
Tom is unsuccessful with his job at the warehouse and Laura cannot seem to fit in with the outside world. These personal downfalls in life drive Tom into a life of poetry and movies, and Laura into a world of glass figurines. Tom is unsatisfied with his work at the warehouse and feels his life lacks adventure. Therefore, he finds it through writing poetry and watching movies.
When business is slow at the shoe warehouse, Tom goes to the washroom to work on his poetry. Tom finds adventure in poetry because he is able to create and control his own world. Along with poetry, Tom retreats to the movies every evening to fulfill his adventurous nature. Amanda questions Tom, "why do you go to the movies so much, Tom? Therefore, he leaves Amanda and Laura for the Merchant Marines, a place where he can live out his dreams for adventure.
However, he cannot forget Laura, "I tried to leave you behind me, but I am more faithful than I intended to be! However, she finds confidence in the old records she plays on the victrola and in her glass menagerie. For example, she resorts to the victrola when Amanda finds out she has not been attending business school. In addition, when Jim informs Laura that he is engaged, she retreats to the victrola again.
Having nothing to do at home, Laura takes care of her glass ornaments. She can manipulate the glass figurines any way she desires, thereby fulfilling her "inferiority complex" However, her dependency on Tom and Amanda, leave her tragically unfit to survive in this brutal world.
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Being unaware of the present, Amanda, Tom, and Laura, live in worlds far from reality. Amanda dwells in her past, a past filled with popularity and success. The prime example of this is the father, Amanda's husband, who left his job with the telephone company and deserted his family. Interestingly, Amanda, far from despising him, seems to retain much affection for him, since she displays his over-sized portrait prominently on the mantel and points it out to Jim with some pride. If she feels any anger toward her husband, she does not show it.
Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie Essay - Words | Bartleby
She lives in a world where it seems accepted that men will behave in this way, and there is little women can do about it. Tom follows in his father's footsteps. He is prepared to be ruthless in planning his escape, paying his union dues with the money that should have paid the electricity bill. He has a freedom that Amanda and Laura can never have, simply because he is a man. The world depicted in the play, of strictly segregated roles for men and women, typifies pre-World War II America. After the war, as more women remained in the workforce, roles and expectations based on gender gradually began to change.
By the s, the world depicted in The Glass Menagerie was rapidly becoming out of date. What role does religious symbolism play in The Glass Menagerie? Religious symbols and allusions hover in the background of the play and contribute to its meaning. Amanda regards herself as a Christian. When she sympathizes with the women she talks to about her subscription drive, she calls them "Christian martyrs," which may give a clue to how Amanda sees herself.
Laura tells her that when she is disappointed she gets that "awful suffering look on [her] face, like the picture of Jesus' mother in the museum. Scene 5, in which Tom breaks the news that Jim is coming for dinner, begins with the legend "Annunciation," a term which refers to the message brought by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary. The person to be redeemed is of course Laura. She is also described in religious terms. According to Williams's production notes, the light that shines on her during the play should have "a peculiar pristine clarity, such as light used in the early religious portraits of female saints and madonnas.
When he and Laura are alone together he offers her not the wine and bread of the holy sacraments, but wine and chewing gum. And he preaches only a secular gospel of self-help rather than salvation through divine grace. Whereas Christ the savior is presented in Christian scriptures as the light of the world, in The Glass Menagerie, the lights are always going out.
When it transpires that Jim is unavailable for Laura, the "holy candles in the altar of Laura's face have been snuffed out. Tom's final speech ends with candles being blown out. The only light now in the world is that of lightning, not the divine light.
The Failure of Amanda in The Glass Menagerie Essay
The religious symbols and allusions therefore serve to give only false hope. They enhance the pessimism of the play.
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The Glass Menagerie
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