Analysis “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams
In “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams, the theme of escape is commonly referred to and expressed throughout the play. The Wingfield’s all have different ways to escape whether its escaping reality into a world of memories and dreams or escaping a world of dreams and memories into reality. In scene 1, Amanda tells Laura to sit down and let her clean up so that she -Laura- could “stay fresh and pretty for gentleman callers,” even though none were coming for her. Amanda couldn’t face the fact that Laura wouldn’t have a gentleman caller due to her circumstances, and she couldn’t face the truth of the fact. Amanda keeps priding herself and telling her children about all of her gentleman callers.
Amanda told her children that her callers were very well known in the Mississippi Delta. Tom realizes that instead of thinking of the past and daydreaming of something different, they need to go out and put forth the effort towards the change and move forward with multiple plans in mind, not just live off of one thing. Tom Wingfield frequently escapes his life by the fire-escape, which is both his literal and temporary release. He often smokes on the fire-escape which shows his desire to have control over his life, instead of letting his family and his history control it for him. In scene 4, the “lights a cigarette and crosses back to the fire-escape door” to get away from the situation of his sister and his mother acting strangely because he brought Jim over to dinner.
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The foreshadowing of his frequent visits to the fire-escape shows that he will eventually leave the apartment. The significance that the fire-escape has on the whole play is the escape of the frustration and dysfunction of the Wingfield’s. Tom uses the fire-escape frequently, demonstrating his longing desire to leave. Tom at the end of the story showed that he was able to escape the life that he was living and that he could never forget his sister. Not everyone can escape their troubles as Tom could, Laura was going to the shop but she slipped and fell, “I slipped, but I’m alright.” This shows that she is unable to escape her situation. This symbol can be likened to the usage of an actual fire-escape. When a fire breaks out everyone runs towards the fire-escape, some are able to escape while others are not. So, like Tom, we need to know the reasons why we are leaving, not to run away from our problems, but because it is necessary for survival or success.