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"The Glass Menagerie" By Tennessee Williams.

1048 words - 4 pages

Walk Away A Winner.In the play "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams, Amanda appears to be entirely devoted to living in her past, causing her to relive her former glory. She imposes her old customs and bygone attitude on her children. Amanda's attempts at controlling the lives of Tom and Laura contribute to the demise of the family and ultimately lead to Tom's departure from the family.One example of Laura's control is displayed in scene one, when Tom walks in for dinner and begins to eat. The first thing Amanda says to him is "Honey, don't push with your fingers. If you have to push with something, the thing to push is the crust of bread. And chew--chew!" (644). She constantly criticizes Tom and tries to make him into someone he is not. Amanda, constantly, wants to create a life that she does not have. She wants things to be the way they used to be when Tom's father was home. Amanda says things like "What right have you got to jeopardize your job? Jeopardize the security of us all? How do you think we'd manage--" (650). Amanda wants Tom, who craved the life of a young, single man, to have the responsibility that a husband and a father should have. She tells Tom that she wants him to look like his father by never letting himself look "untidy." On the other hand, she wants to make sure he is not like his father in other ways. Amanda does not want Tom to be a "drunkard" (654). She tells him "Son, will you do me a favor?" "What mother?" Tom asks. "Promise, son, you will never be a drunkard!"(654). These are examples of how Laura tries to control Tom and mold him into being someone she wants him to be rather then who is really is.Tom hates to be compared to his father which is apparent when he leaves the room to go have a "smoke", as soon as Amanda explains she want him to comb his hair and tidy up. Smoking is Tom's means of eescape in the play and he uses it to get away from Amanda's constant nagging. Williams uses Tom's smoking as a symbol of Tom's release of stress and the freedom that comes with floating high in the air like smoke. He says "I'm getting a cigarette." Amanda replies "You smoke too much. A pack a day at fifteen cents a pack. How much would that amount to in a month?" (657). This short passage demonstrates Amanda's need to be in control of Tom, but, as always, Tom ignores what Amanda wants and does what he likes, smokes.The final encounter between Amanda and Tom is a summation of their relationship. Amanda tries to control, and Tom tries to avoid Amanda's controlling behavior. The argument begins when Amanda assumes that Tom tried to play a trick on her and Laura by setting Laura up with an already engaged "gentleman caller". Amanda displays her anger to Tom by stating, "The gentleman caller has made an early departure. What a wonderful joke you played on us!" (680) Amanda continues to make accusations that Tom knew of the engagement by stating,...

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