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The Glass Menagerie: The Loss Of Hope

1000 words - 4 pages

We live in a world where millions of people live their daily lives relying on their family, friends, and education. But most importantly, people tend to rely on their hopes and dreams of achieving a better life for themselves and/or for their families. Hope is what drives people to obtain a better life, but sometimes this “light,” or hope, can be put out by obstacles as it was done in Tennessee Williams’ play, The Glass Menagerie. Williams characterizes Tom Wingfield as the narrator, as well as an actor of the play in order to assist in the transition of the tone throughout the play. Tom’s narration at the beginning is characterized with nostalgic regret and tender memory, which then transitions to irony and bitter sarcasm. This shift of ambivalence serves to give the audience a sense of realization that dreams cannot always be relied on hope for hope can be put out by overwhelming obstacles, which may include family matters or moral values.
Tom opens the play as the narrator in a nostalgic mood. The play takes place in the thirties in the city of Saint Louis, Chicago where Tom had grown up most of his life, as well as Williams. Tom sets up the social background of the play by mentioning that “in Spain, there was Guernica…, [and in America] there were disturbances of labor, sometimes pretty violent, in otherwise peaceful cities such as Chicago, Cleveland, [and] Saint Louis.” In these times, Americans were just recovering from the Great Depression which had occurred in 1929. This reveals that people of these times were struggling to maintain their families and even keep a job, but working hard to provide a better future for them themselves and their families. Tom also revealed some memories such as those of his father, which in truth are not very tender since he had abandoned him and his family. His father would be considered as an example of the few people who were able to get by past the Great Depression since he was able to follow his dreams by moving to Mexico, far away from those obstacles that may have prevented him from moving forward in his life. He also touches on how this play is fully based on his memories, becoming the man of the house and providing for his sister Laura and his mother Amanda. Although he has dreams of his own, he cannot pursue them since he has the obligation to continue taking care of his family. Tom’s dilemma is very similar to those who have high hopes of becoming something more in the world, but when reality kicks in, their high hopes come crashing down taking all their dreams along with it.
As the play progresses, Tom shifts the mood into a more bitterly sarcastic manner. He begins to mention how his life has been filled with nothing but boredom...

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