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Tom’s Closing Speech In The Glass Menagerie

921 words - 4 pages

Tom’s closing speech in The Glass Menagerie

Tom’s closing speech in The Glass Menagerie is very emotional and
ironic. However, this monologue is somewhat ambiguous and doesn’t
implicitly state whether Tom found the adventure he sought. It seems
as though he never returned to St. Louis, and spent the remainder of
his life wandering from place to place. This is inferred when he
says,” I didn’t go to the moon, I went much further-for time is the
longest distance between two places…”

Throughout the play, the fire escape has been a symbol of Tom’s
entrance and exit into both his reality and his dream world. He tells
us that his departure marked the last time he “descended the steps of
this fire-escape”, thus permanently embarking on his journey of
solitude into what was once only a part of his dream world. From the
statement, “(I) followed, from then on, in my father’s footsteps..”
the reader can see that Tom acknowledges that he has chosen a path
which is very similar to that of his father’s. In recognising this
fact, Tom also admits that he abandoned his family just like Mr.
Wingfield did.

Tom’s journey does not seem to bring the escape and excitement that he
had always longed for. He says, “The cities swept about me like dead
leaves..” This description does not sound as though it comes from a
traveller who is ecstatic about visiting different parts of the world.
Cities are anything but dead; on the contrary, they are vibrant and
full of life, and persons who are artistically inclined tend to be
attracted to bustling cities. By categorising all the cities as dead
leaves, Tom classifies them as similar entities in which he notices no
individuality, uniqueness or excitement. He cannot relish in the
beauty of these cities because of the circumstances surrounding it.
Indeed, Tom does not relay any feelings of pleasure or satisfaction
with respect to his travels. The main reason for his disillusionment
is because of the regret and remorse he feels for leaving his family,
but especially for abandoning Laura. He says, “..I was pursued by
something.” This statement is definitely ironic as he initially
embarked on this journey in an effort to pursue his own dreams. Now,
however, he cannot do so with the peace of mind and clear conscience
he had hoped for, and must instead live daily with memories of his
beloved sister and feelings of regret for leaving her. This torment
overshadows any measure of freedom he could have gained as a result of
leaving his home.

Tom also mentions two elements that are associated with his sister
throughout the play. In his speech, he tries to identify things that
would remind him of Laura: “Perhaps it was a familiar bit of music,
Perhaps it was only a transparent piece of glass..” Laura would always
play old records on her victrola, and she lovingly cherished her

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