The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
-Joseph K. Davis, " Landscapes of the Dislocated Mind in Williams'
'The Glass Menagerie'," in Tennessee Williams: A Tribute
Tom and his sister Laura is symbolically the actual glass menagerie, the play belongs to neither of them. The play belongs to their mother, Amanda, as substantiated by
the above quote from Joseph K. Davis. Amanda indulges herself in
memories of the past and refuses to accept the present. The play is
also hers because it is her "tragedy". It is about how she behaves
after her husband leaves her and her reaction when her son shows signs
of doing the same. She also controls the two conflicts of the play, as
well as the glass menagerie represents her fragile world of illusions
and memories of the past.
Amanda's control over the two conflicts of the play exists in the fact
that she creates them. She supplies the conflict between herself and
Tom as well as provides the conflict of having Laura marry. In the
case of Tom she constantly nags him and questions where is he.
Is going and then openly states her doubts of his truthfulness. Her
nagging starts in the beginning of the play in her conversation with
Tom, in which she tells him how to eat his food. Later she tells him
how costliness of his smoking habit, " You smoke too much. A pack a
day at fifteen cents a pack. How much would that amount to in a month?
". Later in the play she also manages to comment on Tom's appearance
and how she wished he would take better care of himself in that
respect. She also accuses Tom of lying about where he is going at
night. When he says that he is at the movies she states that he could
not possibly be going to the movies every night, " Nobody goes to the
movies as often as pretend to." She also calls him selfish, " Self,
self, self is all that you ever think of!
As for his sister, the conflict surrounding her marriage is constant.
Amanda does not want Laura to become an old maid, and attempts to send
Laura to a local business school to receive training as a secretary in
hopes that Laura will attract men. When Amanda discovers that Laura
has stopped attending school she is flabbergasted, more because Laura
did not tell her. Amanda finds out when she goes to the school to
collect make-up work for Laura because she was out sick for a few
days. Amanda is also angry because she does not want Laura to be
unmarried, " I know so well what becomes of unmarried women who aren't
prepared to occupy a position. I've such pitiful cases in the
South-barely tolerated spinsters ... eating the crust of humanity all
their life." To fix the situation, Amanda asks Tom to go and find a
man from work to date Laura. Amanda also starts to sale magazine
subscriptions to receive some more money to make the apartment a
little more showy and to also inquire about suitable bachelors.
Both of the conflicts are resolved more or less in one incident, Jim's
Announcement of his...