The Illusion of Reality and the Theme of Abandonment in ‘The Glass Menagerie’

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Updated: Sep 06, 2023
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What did I think the play “The Glass Menagerie” is about? One of the themes that stands out the most is the characters obstacle in accepting reality. The play focuses on each member of the Wingfield family as they place themselves in their own world of illusion. This illusion seems to be an escape mechanism from the reality of the real world.

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As Laura is so far out of touch with reality that she can not function in the real world. For instance, in her private life, she is surrounded by glass animals, which represents Laura’s life as it is dangerously delicate just like the animals. But as for Tom he holds down a full-time job and is capable of conversing with strangers and carrying on friendships. But even for Tom, his dedication to having a different life than his mom and sister ends up being destroyed. As he loses all motivation and stops pursuing romantic relationships, even everyday friendships, and turns into a drunk. Amanda longs for the real world. She wants financial success and to have the same life that she was brought up in. She has yet to accept that her children are not an aspiring businessman or a girl in love with a wealthy man. But a man that works in a factory and a girl that is handicapped and single. The entire family all seem to have the same problem with reality and that they all live within their own bubble.

The entire plot in “The Glass Menagerie” is focused on abandonment. Each desertion has a huge impact or more so role in how the story is told. In the beginning, Mr. Wingfield deserts his family which truly allows this scenario to turn into a play. “To vary that old, old saying a bit—I married no planter! I married a man who worked for the telephone company! A telephone man who fell in love with long-distance!” Mr. Wingfield absence is a huge cause in Tom’s departure towards the end. In the end, Tom leaves his family behind in order to find adventure. The fire escape that is spoken about many times throughout the play represents escape from reality or an escape from the chaos. But what does the title “The Glass Menagerie” mean? As shown in the play Laura has a collection of glass animals which actually helps describe Laura. But when watching and understanding the play it stands out the hidden message and description of Laura. As Laura is very shy and reserved but with friends and family, she is different and more carefree. Just as glass changes from different views or different light that shines on it.

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The Illusion of Reality and the Theme of Abandonment in 'The Glass Menagerie'. (2021, Jul 05). Retrieved from