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Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie Essay

1102 words - 5 pages

In the Glass Menagerie by Tennessee William’s, Tom narrates the story through his memories. Tom resided in a small tenement with his older, slightly crippled sister, Laura and his overbearing, audacious mother, Amanda. Tom is a young man in his mid-twenties who has had to assume the role as provider for the household. His and Laura’s father left them and their mother years ago. Their father was an alcoholic with adulterous tendencies. That left Tom no choice, but to be the man of the house. His mother though filled with good intentions, created strife among the family. Amanda nagged and harped on her children about everything, to no bitter end. Amanda entwined every aspect of her children’s life into her own, she relied on them for assurance, and to keep what little material values that she had. She was living through them in a sense. Tom wanted so much more from life, but has stuck around for the sake of his sister. Laura is a slightly crippled young woman in her mid-twenties, shy to a fault, and consumed by self-doubt and fear. Her mother constantly berates her about the lack of gentleman callers. Amanda says exasperatedly, “What right have you got to jeopardize your job - jeopardize the security of us all?” What she doesn’t notice is that everything is weighing heavy upon Tom’s shoulders; he is almost to the end of his rope. His father left him, his mother degrades and devalues all that he contributes to the family and his poor sister, and he fears she will be alone forever, stuck with their controlling, monster of a mother. It all becomes too much for him and he goes out drinking almost every night. Slowly becoming an alcoholic like his father; at least that’s the fear of his mother. Ann M. Easterbrook researched the correlates between emotional support or neglect by a mother and the developmental and psychological impacts it has on an individual. Ann M. Easterbrook states, “We found developmental coherence in maternal interactive behavior, and in the relations between maternal emotional availability and children's functioning.” She goes on to explain the importance of adequate emotional interactions between mother and child. Easterbrook also describes the psychological, emotional and social strain that can result from inadequate maternal interactions.
Although, the divorce between Amanda and Tom’s father was never fully discussed in the play, it was all too relevant to the emotional, psychological and social impacts of both Tom and Laura. The infidelities and alcoholic tendencies by Tom’s father left Amanda, bitter, needy and controlling. Out of fear, anger or solemnness, it led Amanda to replace the void left by her husband with every aspect of her children’s lives. The departure of their father also directly impacted Laura’s views on relationships, it caused her to feel that no one can be trusted and might leave her, the way her father did. The impact it had on Tom was much more taxing. It caused Tom to have to be the emotional and...

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