The Main Themes in “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams

In the The Glass Menagerie, two themes are used so that the characters can deal with their painful facts of life. Illusion and Escape are the two themes which all the characters use. Tom Wingfield uses both of these themes to try and live a good happy life. Tom is capable of maintaining a life outside of his home, at his job, and going out of town. Tom is not a business man, he prefers more of a literature and reading environment to sustain his fantasies. Amanda Wingfield is another character that uses illusion and escape to deal with the painful facts of life also.

The Wingfields are distinguished and tied together by their similarly weak relationships to reality. However, the illusions to which they concede are not exclusively a characteristic of theirs. The outside world is just as open to illusion. Tom also findsillusion in the movies he watches, Tom thinks that other viewers at the movies he attends are substituting on-screen adventure for real-life adventure, which fullfils hisillusion rather than real life.

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Amanda’s relationship to illusion is the most complicated in the play. Unlike her children, she is partial into the real world values and longs for social and financial success. Yet her attachment to these values is exactly what prevents her from perceiving a number of truths about her life. Amanda’s retreat into illusion is in many ways more pathetic than her children’s, because it is not a willful constructive imagination, but instead a wistful distortion of reality. Tom shows escape because of not having a father, In the beginning of the movie, The Merchant Marine Service and the fire escape outside the apartment, haunts Tom.

The play takes an unclear attitude toward the moral implications and even the effectiveness of Tom’s escape. As an able bodied young man, he is locked into his life not by outside factors but by emotional ones. By his loyalty to and maybe even love for Laura and Amanda. Escape for Tom means the restrain and denial of these emotions in himself, and it means doing great harm to his mother and sister. Tom’s escape leads him not to freedom but to the life of a fugitive. In conclusion, illusion and escape are the two most important themes that are used in the movie and book The Glass Menagerie.

However, people who want to use it, should be their problem and we should just analyze it as a human characteristic. The Glass Menagerie identifies the conquest of reality by illusion as a huge and growing aspect of the human condition in its time.

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The Main Themes in “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams. (2019, Feb 22). Retrieved from