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The Father As The Most Important Character In The Glass Menagerie By Tennessee Williams

1192 words - 5 pages

The Father As The Most Important Character In The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

In "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams the father is not a
proper character, he is instead, portrayed by a '
larger-than-life-size photograph over the mantel' in the Wingfield
household. Even though he is not a real character, he still has an
influence on the other characters in the play because of the actions
he had taken in the past. He is mentioned very little in the play yet
his presence can still be felt in the actions and words of some
characters. The play is a memory play and memory is an imaginative
tool, which can be used to express the truth. Things in this play, may
be exaggerated in order to put the message across.

In the beginning of the play, Williams shows Amanda as being bitter
about the fathers abandonment when she says 'I could have been Mrs.
Duncan J. Fitzhugh, mind you! But-I picked your father!' this also
shows that Amanda's character is stuck in the past and she regrets
choosing the father in the first place because she believes that she
could have done better. She also doesn't seem to want to talk about Mr
Wingfield much because every reference she does make to him is
punctuated by an exclamation mark - 'One thing your father had plenty
of - was charm!' - or trails off - 'And then I - (she stops in front
of the picture) met your father! Malaria fever and jonquils and then -
this - boy…' the brevity of the recollections suggests strong emotion.
An extended, realistic assessment of Mr Wingfield's character would be
too painful for Amanda. Also, some of Amanda's biggest character
traits, like her constant nagging of Tom, and her obsession with Laura
getting a gentleman caller may be partly due to the abandonment that
the family experienced with the departure of Mr Wingfield. She fights
to keep her family together driven by worthy motives. She doesn't want
Tom to end up like his father, and, believing that her children are
'unusual' she wants Tom to make a success of his career and so she
continues to pick on Tom about his bad habits and gets him up early
enough for work. She also doesn't want Laura to be alone for the rest
of her life, living off her brother, 'mothers afraid I'm going to be
an old maid' so she tried getting Tom to bring home men from the
factory for Laura to meet and enrolled Laura into business college.
When she realises that Laura hasn't been going to her lessons she says
' so what are we going to do the rest of our lives? Stay home and
watch the parades go by?…we won't have a business career… what is
there left but dependency all our lives? I know so well what becomes
of unmarried women who aren't prepared to occupy a position…' she
understands that if Laura doesn't get a husband or a job then she
doesn't...

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