Fantasy Worlds and Their Symbolism
Everyone has their own little world in which they indulge themselves in whether it be real or just a fantasy. In The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, everyone in the play experiences their own little world, and the shock it is to be thrown from it. Tom supports his family despite his unhappiness. He tries to please Amanda by being the sole supporter of the family, but only gets rewarded by Amanda's constant nagging and suspicion. Eventually he finds himself more like his father as he seeks adventure in the movies and in drinking. Tom hangs out on the fire escape to avoid suffocation (in the made-up worlds of the women) and desperately seeks the life he always desired – the life of adventure.
By hanging out on the fire escape, Tom finds a temporary safe haven from Amanda. With Amanda faultfinding Tom about every minute action, Tom needed to find somewhere to escape. Since Amanda and Laura have their fantasy worlds inside, Tom can easily escape them by going out on the fire escape. Perhaps, even more, the fire escape shows various things about Tom's personality. He does not desire to be part of any fanciful worlds, which only prove to be the downfall of Amanda and Laura. He realizes that the world is not what Amanda has made it seem inside the house. However, during his internal reflections on the fire escape, he is not really separating himself from the imaginary world because that metal frame is still attached to the apartment wall. Therefore, he is still “attached” to the fantasy domains. This shows that no matter how hard Tom tries to escape he will always be “attached”, or bounded, to the apartment. His emotional attachments to Laura would permanently keep him there no matter what method of escaping he had attempted.
With such a dull and stressful life, Tom was constantly looking for adventure like his father. Although this is only referred to a couple of times, I feel as though the portrait of Tom's father is one of the most important symbols representing Tom. In the play, the portrait is a constant reminder to Amanda of the past she once knew and cherished. Also, it represents an option of Tom: running away. A long time ago, Amanda's husband abandoned her and her children because of his unhappy home life. Tom, like his father, felt that his home life was suppressing his true desires for adventure. It became...