Hanging On To Illusions Is Beneficial

1317 words - 6 pages

In order for people to function in life and have hope they create illusions. These illusions make people view life differently from others. In works of literature, writers use various themes that are introduced and examined. In the play The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, the theme of one hanging on to illusions as one might need them is expressed in different ways. In this play the characters are all connected to the theme, there are critical symbols that relate to the theme, and the theme is ultimately crucial to the work as a whole.
Several characters in this play are connected to the theme of hanging on to illusions in their daily life. Amanda Wingfield hangs on to illusion by ...view middle of the document...

They all like a change of scenery once in a while” (84). This reveals that Laura’s reality consists of mainly her glass ornaments, which she thinks are living things not inanimate objects. Her illusion is so powerful that she forgets her glass ornament is not a living thing and has no emotions. However, Laura needs her illusion as without it she has nothing to motivate her and make her want to live. Thus, Amanda, Tom, and Laura are all linked to the theme of hanging on to their illusions as without them they would not be able to function.
Several symbols in this play are crucial as they tie in to the theme of hanging on to illusions as one might need them. Amanda’s clothes from the past symbolize the past Amanda is not willing to let go and Amanda creates an illusion for herself when wearing them. For instance, before Jim comes to visit Amanda wears her clothes from when she was young in order to make the best impression. This shows that Amanda prefers to live in the past over the present. The old clothes tie in to the theme as they are used as an illusion by Amanda so she won’t have to face reality. Amanda denies reality in her life including her daughter, Laura being crippled, which makes her cling to the past to find comfort. The yearbook is an illusion that Jim, the gentleman caller, constantly hangs on to in order to not pay attention to his life in the present. For example, when Jim is talking to Laura he repeatedly mentions the yearbook and talks about his high school years as that is when he was most content; during his high school years Jim was “a star in basketball, captain of the debating club, president of the senior class and the glee club and he sang the male lead in the annual light operas"(50). This reveals that Jim holds on to his illusion through the yearbook because he does not want to face reality and the fact that he is not as successful in life as he was in high school. Jim needs this illusion to make himself feel content. The glass unicorn is a significant symbol that ties into the theme of illusion while acting as a metaphor to Laura as well. To illustrate, the glass unicorn is identified as being delicate and different as the unicorn is a horse with a horn. Laura is different as well as she is extremely shy and she isolates herself from the real world and creates her own private world with her glass ornaments. The glass unicorn ties in to the theme of hanging on to illusions because Laura denies what reality really is and makes up her own reality consisting of glass ornaments in order to remain sane. To sum up, several symbols in this...

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