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Tenessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie Essay

2718 words - 11 pages

TThis essay will discuss the metaphors associated with the characters in The Glass Menagerie and how each of these metaphors represents a fragment of the American Dream. She is like a piece of her glass collection, too fragile to be brought into the real world without being devastated. Because of her sensibility, she has avoided dealing with people for so long that when she finally tries to socialise with Jim, she fails to see that she is being manipulated. Amanda is a faded Southern belle who is trying to relive her past by using her daughter to mirror her former self. She represents nostalgia for the Old South in the play. Tom is a struggling poet who dreams of real adventures but has to provide support for his family. Jim, despite having been a High School Hero who has failed to live up to the expectations, remains a blind pursuer of the American Dream. He represents the broken promise of the next generation.

Amanda was raised in Blue Mountain, far away from the complexity and eccentricity of the 20th century. In her youth, Amanda was a beautiful lady who attracted gentlemen callers; she was what is called a Southern Belle. In narratives, Southern belle is an archetype for a beautiful young woman of the upper class in the Old South . As she longs for her past, she represents the embodiment of nostalgia for the Old South in the play. She ended up marrying a young Irish gentleman caller with whom she had two children, Tom and Laura. Unfortunately, Amanda’s husband kissed the family good bye not so long after, essentially leaving her with two children and no money. Even if she succeeded in raising her two children, she has never really accepted her new status in society and continues to idealize her former life. Amanda’s attitude toward the present is not dissimilar to the attitude she has toward science and technology: “Some people say that science clears up all the mysteries for us. In my opinion it only creates more!” Because it is not compatible with her vision of the world and can’t control it, she rejects it. Her nostalgia has a big impact on the attitude she has toward her children. Being dissatisfied with both of her son and daughter, she puts a lot of pressure on them. She constantly tries to make Tom by feels guilty for being selfish. As for her daughter, Amanda wants Laura to be successful but according to her own agenda. To this day, Amanda remains convinced that the only way for a young woman to be successful is to marry a handsome man. Ironically, she sometimes seems to forget the fact that she, herself, married a less than ideal man. She goes out of her way to recreate the conditions she deems ideal for her daughter to find a suitable husband. The problem is that none of those conditions can be recreated in the present time because they belong to an epoch that is long gone. Gentlemen callers are a thing of the past and have no place in a Saint Louis apartment. Yet, she stubbornly clings to her vision of...

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