The Glass Menagerie is a well-known Tennessee Williams’ play which partially relates to his bibliography. The audience thought it to be unusual because of the distorted depiction of reality and the widespread use of symbolism. Moreover, there were only four characters: Tom, Amanda, Laura, and Jim. One of the most striking heroes was Amanda, who was Tom and Laura’s mother and who preferred to live with illusions from the past. Her role is central as her delusive perspectives on life were disastrous to her family members. Hence, it is crucial to determine how she affected Laura’s world and why she imposed control on her.
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Amanda is represented as a person who often reminisces about her part in an attempt to avoid reality. She uses various escape mechanisms to sustain her current position in life. Living in a tenement becomes unbearable to her, and she decides to soothe present circumstances by recalling the days of her youth. In the first episodes, Amanda senses the ideality of what is happening as she exists in a realm of servants and visitors (Williams 4). Being a playful and outgoing lady, Amanda used to have many gentlemen callers in a day. She would enjoy their company and receive many compliments. Undoubtedly, Amanda might have enjoyed some popularity; yet, it is practically incredulous to think that she actually had precisely seventeen gentlemen who courted her. However, having told this story many times, it seemed real to her.
Considering her addiction to the past love affairs, it is evident that she became obsessed with the idea of finding a perfect match for Laura. Her imagination could create an image of an impeccable partner that would love Laura and be the family’s savior. Even though her daughter was a cripple, the mother refused to admit it and only claimed that Laura had a slight physical defect.
Subsequently, Amanda turned her attention from the reminiscences to the idea of marrying Laura off to a decent gentleman caller. She believed that Laura’s future husband could provide whatever support their family needed so that they could stop relying on Tom since he was the only man in the household. Amanda’s ambition for Laura showed the degree of isolation from real life and her dreams’ fragility. Although the daughter understood that the disability was an impediment to meeting a partner, Amanda rejected this claim and advised her to develop some aspects of her personality to compensate for the drawback. Even if Laura could find a husband, it was strange that Amanda believed so strongly that a spouse for Laura would mean safety for their family. It seems that the mother wanted a strong man and outer security to realize her own once unfulfilled dreams.
This behavior may be related to her past experiences, which she was very reluctant to pass on to her children. Amanda’s husband deserted the family, and her world became meaningless and tedious. Therefore, she decided to make fabrications to regain the sense of life. The desire to participate in the affairs of Tom and Laura was a consolation for her unfulfilled hopes. Despite the fact that her kids wanted to live differently, she still aimed to guide their minds and create the reality she desired for herself.
In addition, Amanda’s dedication to her children, determination, and strength make her an increasingly strong personality. Nonetheless, these attributes force Tom and Laura to submit to their mother, and while Tom may merely protest against her, Laura remains under manipulations. For instance, Amanda forced her daughter to attend Business College to become a secretary. Such an attempt to make Laura’s life better resulted in an escape from school. Since the young lady was tremendously shy and anxious, she felt like an outsider. In order to wander away from the real world, she resorted to collecting old phonographs, the glass menageries, and playing her victrola (Williams 2). Retreating was her protection from the outside world – the world that stares at her defect. Besides, a similar behavior was observed in the scene when Amanda asked Laura to go to the store, and she pretended to trip over the fire escape so as not to see the hostile external reality (Williams 22). As a result, she also refused to accept the truth, which was convenient to her mother as she could control Laura’s thoughts and actions.
In conclusion, it should be noted that the illusory and actual worlds are sometimes mixed, which makes a person live a fictional life. The attempts to escape from reality result in an addiction to devise nonexistent events and phenomena and impose them on others. In Amanda and Laura’s case, the mother’s noxious fallacies are used as manipulative mechanisms to control her daughter. Hence, disregarding Laura’s deformities, Amanda hopelessly believes in finding her a husband. Yet, Laura prefers her inner world, where she could collect phonographs, wipe her glass menagerie, and avoid other people. Even though the mother has some control over her daughter, they both end up living in delusion.
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Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie. Heinemann, 1996.