The Glass Menagerie Escape Essay

Essay On The Theme Of Escape In The Glass Menagerie

The Theme of Escape in The Glass Menagerie

The Glass Menagerie, a play by Tennessee Williams, is set in the apartment of the Wingfield family, housing Amanda Wingfield and her two children Tom and Laura. The father left many years ago, and is only represented by a picture on the living-room wall. The small, dingy apartment creates a desperate, monotonous feeling in the reader. None of the Wingfields has any desire to stay in the apartment, but their lack of finances makes it impossible to move. Escape from this monotonous and desperate life is the main theme throughout the play.

The different characters in 'The Glass Menagerie' have their own individual ways of escaping from their realities. Tom Wingfield, the main character and narrator, probably has the one that most clearly relates to what we usually call escaping. His dream is to get away from the entire place in which he is currently living. He is tired of supplying his mother and sister without getting anything but remorse in return. Early in the play we can see this urge to get away through his frequent visits to the movie theatre. To him the movies serve as windows into another world, an exiting world filled with fun and challenges. Another thing that it is worth mentioning when speaking about this is Amanda's attitude towards the movies. She thinks that he spends too much time on the movies, and she keeps haunting him for it. I believe that this is supposed to tell the reader that Amanda has some kind of feeling that Tom sometime will follow in his fathers footsteps, and that she is trying to prevent this from happening. For Amanda this is a very natural reaction; with Tom out of the apartment there would be nothing left for her and her daughter to feed from.

However, as time goes by the realities of life is getting closer and closer on Tom, and it's getting increasingly difficult to escape. He tries, for example through drinking, but it's clear that the moment where the only possible escape is the drastic option of actually leaving his current way of life. But when he actually goes through with this, after being pushed over the edge by Amanda, it turns out to be nothing like he had expected it to be. Instead of starting a new life on his own he is haunted with guilt from abandoning his sister.

Laura's escape is a bit subtler. She does not want to do anything drastic to change her life. In fact, it seems that all she wants is to keep inside her own world, without having to deal with the decisions and demands of the real world. This can be seen through her attempt to attend Business College, in which she fails quite dramatically when her skills are to be tested. This leads to her quitting school, but without telling her mother. From this we can see that Laura is extremely afraid of confrontations and situations where somebody is expecting something from her. This makes her spend most her time inside, playing about with her...

Loading: Checking Spelling


Read more

Essay on Escape Mechanisms in The Glass Menagerie

506 words - 2 pages Escape Mechanisms in The Glass Menagerie      In Tennessee Williams' play, The Glass Menagerie, each character attempts to escape the real world by creating their own “reality”. Laura hides from the world by magnifying her illness. Tom convinces himself that his needs supersede the needs of his family. Amanda focuses almost exclusively on the past - when she saw herself as a desirable southern belle. Even Jim focus his hopes on recapturing...

Dreams of Escape in The Glass Menagerie

2309 words - 9 pages Dreams of Escape in The Glass Menagerie   "Anyone can handle a crisis, but day-to-day living is the most trying aspect of life" (Jackson 19). This is especially true in the drama The Glass Menagerie. None of the characters in this tale is willing to or capable of living in the present. Everyday life becomes so mindless and oppressive that each character's dreams and fantasies become more important than reality itself. Through their dreams,...

Illusions of Escape in The Glass Menagerie

3178 words - 13 pages Illusions of Escape in The Glass Menagerie       Tennessee Williams' play The Glass Menagerie gives readers a look into a truly dysfunctional family.  At first it could seem as if their lives are anything but normal, but Amanda's "impulse to preserve her single-parent family seems as familiar as the morning newspaper" (Presley 53).  The Wingfield's are a typical family just struggling to get by.  Their problems, however, stem from their...

Dreams and Escape in The Glass Menagerie

2286 words - 9 pages Dreams and Escape in The Glass Menagerie   None of the characters in The Glass Menagerie is capable of living in the present. Everyday life is so oppressive that each character, through their dreams, retreats into a fantasy world. This essay will examine the reality faced by Amanda, Tom, Laura and Jim and probe how, through their dreams, each character attempts to transcend reality. Amanda, having "lost" her husband and having...

Dreams of Escape in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

2196 words - 9 pages      In The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams presents us with four characters whose lives seem to consist in avoiding reality more than facing it. Amanda lives her life through her children and clings to her lost youthfulness. Tom retreats into movie theaters and into his dream of joining the merchant seamen and some day becoming a published poet. Laura resorts to her Victrola and collection of glass ornaments to help sustain her world of...

The Glass Menagerie Theme of Abandonment

683 words - 3 pages The role of abandonment in The Glass Menagerie can best be described as the plot element that underlies the overall tone of despondence in the play because it emphasizes the continuous cycle of destruction and hardship that the Wingfield family experiences; indeed, abandonment in the play is a reiterative element that strips the excesses from the three main characters in the play and leaves them in their barest forms, united by a sorrowful...

Research Analysis of Theme in Tennessee Williams The Glass Menagerie

1947 words - 8 pages The Reality of Illusions: Research Analysis of Theme in Tennessee Williams The Glass Menagerie Reflective of the depressed age it was written in, Tennessee Williams play, The Glass Menagerie, reveals a host of antisocial personalities, each with their own psychosis and methodology of self-medicating. This glimpse into the lives of the Wingfield family’s dysfunction is both sobering and memorable. When brought to the stage as was originally...

Escape from Reality in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

918 words - 4 pages Escape from Reality in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams The Characters' Escape From Reality in The Glass Menagerie The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams centers around a dream of escape. Although everyone wants to escape from a different reality, they all feel that need to get away. The father is the most successful in his escape because he never has to deal with anything at home. He actually leaves and doesn't look back. As for...

All of the characters in "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams have their own methods of escape. Explain.

1052 words - 4 pages Sometimes the world can really wear you down. The stressors of the real world can sometimes erode even the most dedicated person. Sometime the only option is to escape, which can be a good idea in stressful situations. One play that typifies this behaviour is The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams. In this play, the main characters all have means of...

Glass Menagerie-escape From Reality

775 words - 3 pages Question: Amanda tells Tom that he lives in dream world and manufactures illusions. To what extent do Amanda, Tom and Laura try to escape an unpleasant reality? Escape is a very real aspect of the Wingfield family. The first escapee was Mr.Wingfield, the man in the picture. He left the family sixteen years ago and has sent only one very brief post card...

Dreams vs. Reality: The play "The Glass Menagerie" written by Thomas Lanier Williams, posses different aspects of how the Wingfields escape into their own little happy place.

738 words - 3 pages Dreams vs. RealityAs the world turns, some people look around and imagine life as a dream world. Others look at the world as it is....the world of reality. The imagination allows people to find an escape from reality to cope with the problems faced each day. The play "The Glass Menagerie" written by

Escape in the play operate in two directions: from the real world into the world of memory and dreams, as Amanda and Laura demonstrate; or from the world of memory and dreams into the real world, as Tom desires. Amanda and Laura escape reality by retreating into dream worlds. Amanda refuses to see things as they are, insisting on seeing what she wants to see. Amanda still lives as a past version of herself, even as she projects ambitions onto Laura. Rather than accepting Laura’s peculiarities or Tom’s unhappiness, she escapes into her fantasy version of the world as she thinks it should be.

Laura escapes from the imposing structures of reality into worlds she can control and keep perfect: her memories, the glass menagerie, the freedom of walking through the park. When Amanda confronts Laura, she tries to escape by playing music loudly enough to block out the argument. However, both Amanda and Laura can see their present situations, and they do try to make their realities better. Amanda raises subscriptions for magazines to earn money. Instead of escaping the fighting, Laura serves as peacemaker between Amanda and Tom.

Tom does not want to escape into dreams or other fantasy worlds—he wants to physically escape, to leave. And even when he can't bring himself to actually leave, he is constantly escaping from something: he escapes from the apartment onto the fire escape; he escapes from the coffin in the magic show; and he sneaks away at the warehouse to write poetry, a mental and physical escape from a menial job. He fantasizes about joining the merchant marines and escaping from not only his claustrophobic life but also the landlocked Midwest. Tom goes to the movies every night to watch an escapist fantasy on the screen. He also uses alcohol to escape reality: we see bottles in his pockets, and “going to the movies” is a euphemism for getting drunk. Yet all of Tom’s escape mechanisms are cyclical: while they offer the promise of freedom, they also trap him. “I’m leading a double life,” Tom shouts at Amanda at the end of Scene Three. He intends to hurt her so that he might break free of her power over him, but ultimately, he can’t escape his love for his family.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *