A miserable life vs. a fantasy life
Have you ever felt trapped within the confines of your own home, or as if your life is going nowhere? In Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie, this is Tom and Laura’s exact situation. Tom feels as if he is trapped in his own home while Laura’s life seems to be heading nowhere. In this play Tom is felt the most sympathy for due to his complicated predicament of not being able to leave his house, while Laura has the least amount of sympathy felt only because she seems to be doing nothing progressive to help move her life forward.
One of the many reason most of the sympathy is felt for Tom is the constant nagging exerted from his mother. It seems as if throughout the whole play Amanda is nothing but a continuous nuisance to him. One might even begin to say that Tom’s mother has an idea of the way she feels her son should behave, act, and live, however, since Tom and his mothers opinions apparently clash, this appears to all the more provoke Mrs. Wingfield to further mold her son in her own image. Coincidently agreeing, Preston Fambrough writes, “She labors grotesquely to mold the lives of her adult children into American success stories through nagging and moralizing, an attempt epitomized by the unendurable cheery ‘Rise and Shine!’” (par. 1). Having to constantly put up with the bothersome attitude Amanda exhibits could not only tire a person out but also slowly break them down as it shows to do with her son. There are many scenes where Williams portrays Amanda bothering Tom, one of which being when the family is at dinner and Mrs. Wingfield feels led to tell Tom how to eat his food. Williams writes, “I haven’t enjoyed one bite of this dinner because of your constant directions on how to eat it. It’s you that makes me rush through meals with your hawk-like attention to every bite I take” (1616). With Amanda constantly hovering over her son it comes as no surprise that he ups and leaves the house after she pushes him to far towards the end of the play.
Secondly, Williams depicts Tom as a character with an overbearing amount of weight on his shoulders. Not only is Tom currently the man of the family due to the death of their father, but he is also the family’s only source of income aside from his mother’s magazine sales which brings little to no money. Working painstaking hours, Tom continues to stay at a job he despises at the local warehouse only to help keep the family’s bills paid. The income he receives is quite small but nonetheless is better than nothing. Having said this, Amanda seems to assert no gratitude for the sacrifices he makes with little to nothing in return. Williams asserts, “Listen! You think I’m crazy about the warehouse? You think I’m in love with the Continental Shoemakers? You think I want to spend fifty-five years down there in that—celotex interior! I’d rather somebody picked up a crowbar and battered out my brains—than go back mornings” (1623)!...