"The Wingfields And Their Gentleman Caller Are All Dreamers." How Far Do You Agree With This Assessment Of The Characters In "The Glass Menagerie"?

1263 words - 5 pages

At the very beginning of the play, Tom (as the narrator) describes to the audience that it is a "memory play", hence it has:"...dimly lighted, it is sentimental, it is not realistic."These features prove to the audience and reader that dreams often have to do with illusions and the lack of reality, which is a central theme in "The Glass Menagerie".TOM: "I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion."Also, what is very evident while analyzing the characters is how their dreams often distort the reality around them. They use their dreams as tools to soothe the frustrations of their lives in the present. The character Amanda, Tom's mother, constantly brings up her past, for it is something that comforts her from the harsh realities she faces in the present. The word "dreamer" in regards to the character of Amanda can signify different things. In relation to her past and how:"One Sunday afternoon in Blue Mountain, your mother received- seventeen!- gentleman callers."The word "dreamer" in this instance implied that she regularly "dreams" about her past in order to escape the reality of her financial situation and her frustration with Laura. Therefore, in this context, Amanda is a "dreamer". On the other hand, in regards to Amanda wanting Laura to get married, is not quite a dream, but more of an "obsession", as Tom calls it. Since Laura is "crippled", realistically it would be difficult to find her a suitor and this is why Amanda "obsesses" over this. The last thing Amanda wants her daughter's destiny to be is:"…eating the crumbs of humanity."Through this, it is clear to the reader and audience that Amanda's "dreams" and "obsessions" blind her from reality: that maybe that kind of life might be more suitable for Laura. In the last scene of the play, Amanda accuses Tom of being a "selfish dreamer", which to a certain extent is true. But, one must consider Tom's situation and how his dream is very simple, he wants to be able to live a freer and adventurous life away from home, but the aspects that make him stay are the only things that are complex. Since Tom's father:"Fell in love with long distances."implying that he was able to successfully leave home. Tom, therefore, was stuck with al the responsibilities of the family, taking the role of the father and also Amanda's "obsession" of arranging Laura a husband. Tom is not as selfish as he is a simple dreamer and it is those exact dreams that pull him away from his home and family.Tom: "If self was all I thought about, Mother, I'd be like him- GONE!" Although, in the end, Tom does leave home, it can be argued that is was his father who was a "selfish dreamer", not Tom, but without a doubt, Tom too is a dreamer. Jim id the character in "The Glass Menagerie" that represents "the common man" and therefore, symbolizing the "real world" outside of the Wingfield nucleus. At the beginning of the play Tom (as the narrator) describes Jim (or the gentleman...

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