Literary realism is the trend, beginning with mid nineteenth-century French literature and extending to late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century authors, toward depictions of contemporary life and society as it was, or is. In the spirit of general "realism," realist authors opted for depictions of everyday and banal activities and experiences, instead of a romanticized or similarly stylized presentation. (Wikipedia, Literary Realism)
Realism, a style of writing that gives the impression of recording or ‘reflecting’ faithfully an actual way of life. The term refers, sometimes confusingly, both to a literary method based on detailed accuracy of description and to a more general attitude ...view middle of the document...
We had to send the nigger over to bring in folding chairs from the parish house (ch1, p4)."
Amanda believes that as men have duties of supporting and taking care of the family's needs, also women have duties of getting married and taking care of her house and her family.
Amanda "They knew how to entertain their gentlemen callers. It wasn't enough for a girl to be possessed of a pretty face and a graceful figure - although I wasn't slighted in either respect. She also needed to have a nimble wit and a tongue to meet all occasions." (1, 5)
That is way she keeps recalling her past, when she was young and beautiful, and had so many gentlemen callers. Amanda keeps recalling her past to escape from the reality in her life. Her husband abandoned her and left her with two children, whom she took care of them by herself. Also, she tries to escape from her daughter's situation. Amanda's daughter, Laura, is very shy and isolated girl, who has a physical disability. Laura left school, sat alone in her house and received no gentlemen callers. Amanda's son, Tom, is a dreamer and ambition man but he is tied by his family's duties as the supporting man of the family. Amanda always nagging on him about his responsibilities towards his family because she is afraid he will leave them just like his father, which he did at the end. Amanda's constant recalling of the past is her own way to escape from all these facts about her; Laura, and Tom.
Shih Ching-liang mention at her study that, as a mother figure, Amanda is quite distinctive from those in conventional drama. With the father absent for years, Amanda takes on not only maternal nurturing responsibilities but also the paternal disciplinary role. She is a breadwinner (though partly) as well as a caretaker. Yet in her attempt to fulfill this double-sided role, she actually encounters a series of frustrations and repressions, which provoke her to escape into the retreat of past. (Ching-liang, " Representing Repression: A Psychological Reading of The Glass Menagerie", 1)
Majda Sojtaric wrote in her thesis "The Past Becomes an Everlasting Regret" that, Amanda is undoubtedly the character of the play struggling the most with her illusions. She has become completely unable to keep the past apart from the present, and tends to vacillate between them. Once known as a great Southern belle, she has, as mentioned earlier, problems with adapting to her current situation. Her illusions appear to function as subconscious wish fulfillments; at times it seems as if she does not even control them or know where they start or end. (Sojtaric, "The Past Becomes an Everlasting Regret", 31)
On the other hand Laura's way to escape reality is by collecting a little fragile glass animals, which her mother called glass menagerie. These little fragile animals symbolizes Laura herself, they are fragile, breakable and transparent just like Laura. She is so shy and with weak, fragile personality. She even left school, "I couldn’t go...