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Williams' Play, "The Glass Menagerie" Essay

1627 words - 7 pages

Leaving the NestIn Tennessee Williams' play, "The Glass Menagerie", the narrator, Tom, speaks from both first person and second person point of view. Tom is a major character in the play, and he is also the narrator. Amanda, Tom's mother, is a nag that is constantly picking Tom apart. Laura, Tom's sister, is very shy, but she is the only one of the family who appears content with her life. During the first couple of scenes the author is trying to familiarize the reader with the relationships between the characters. In the final scenes, the play revolves around Laura and her gentlemen caller. From the different points of view in which the play is told, the audience is guided through a memory. The shifts between first and second point of view show how the emotional situations change the lives of all the characters involved.Tom is a character in the play as he speaks from first person point of view. While a character in the play, the audience has a chance to evaluate Tom's reliability. His actions and speeches define him as a person. Using the first person point of view, Tom is free to express the aggravations that arguing with his mother causes. Amanda is constantly fussing at Tom about something. For instance, Amanda scolds Tom for having an inappropriate book in his possession. They are both angry and bickering when Tom shouts, "Yesterday you confiscated my books! You had the nerve to -- " (1591; scene 3) Amanda confesses in an angry tone,I took that horrible novel back to the library--yes! That hideous book by that insane Mr. Lawrence. I cannot control the output of diseased minds or people who cater to them--BUT I WON'T ALLOW SUCH FILTH BROUGHT INTO MY HOUSE (1591; scene 3)!From Tom's point of view his mother has no right to call it her house because he pays the rent. Laura is affected by the constant quarreling. Tom storms out mad, and when he returns Laura meets him at the door. Tom is obviously drunk as he rambles on about his adventurous evening. Although Laura usually stays out of their quarrels, the next morning she confronts Tom about the argument. She goes into his bedroom to wake him up and she pleads, "Tom, speak to mother this morning. Make up with her, apologize, and speak to her" (1595; scene 4)! From Tom's point of view he did not owe his mother an apology, but he did owe it to Laura to keep the peace. Tom does apologize to his mother.Speaking from the first person point of view, Tom attempts to explain the series of emotional events that push him to leave. Amanda agitates Tom by making accusations that he will end up like his father. She tries to reason with Tom, "And you - when I see you taking after his ways! Staying out late - and - well, you had been drinking the night you were in that terrifying condition" (1597; scene 4)! She is only trying to protect him, but from his point of view she is criticizing him. He tries so hard not to earn the same reputation as his father does. Tom also has an ever-growing lust to be...

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