The Glass Menagerie Analysis
The Drama, ‘The Glass Menagerie’, has four playable characters. Amanda Wingfield, Laura Wingfield, Tom Wingfield, and Jim O’Connor represent the main drama characters. Amanda, the mother of Laura and Tom and the wife to Mr. Wingfield whose photo appears in the drama. Laura being her firstborn child has come of age to get married. Amanda believes that it was not possible because she did not socialize with others. Tom, a son, being the second and last born of the family becomes the breadwinner of the family. Tom becomes the breadwinner because he was the only man in the family. Tom’s limitations and inability to obtain his heart’s desires result from the internal and external pressures of his mother, his elder sister and himself (Williams, 1945).
The drama The Glass Menagerie
Amanda makes her son, Tom, believe that he was their only hope to survive. Tom had to work so hard to provide for their family. Most especially he had to work very hard to provide for his partially crippled sister Laura. Whenever Tom did something wrong Amanda would point at Mr. Wingfield’s photograph and say that he was becoming like his estranged father who abandoned them when they were young. The comparison hurt Tom so much because he disliked how his father left them. Tom desires to have peace and to provide for his family. Tom’s mother makes it almost impossible for him to attain his goals. He loves his mother and sister hence, he finds a job in a warehouse, where he earns very little, sixty-five dollars in a month (Williams, 1945).
His being a good son and brother makes his mother take advantage of his weaknesses. She blackmails him to stay with them until Laura finds a husband. He lets his mother make many decisions for him. One day, his mother makes him leave late for work because she had something to discuss with him. Although most of his mother’s talk was not as urgent as his getting to work in time, he kept listening to her until the talk became disrespectful to him. The story organization makes the audience realize Tom’s dissatisfaction with his various soliloquies. The constant conflicts of the Wingfield’s ideas and beliefs leave the audience in suspense. The suspense from the initial incidents and the preliminary events makes one anticipate the actions that would raise in the process.
The language Tom uses when he gets home drunk towards his sister reflects his drunk state. When closely considered one would realize his dissatisfaction and disappointment most especially towards his mother who keeps holding him back. In scene IV, his mother makes a plan for him that he must remain to provide for his sister’s needs until she gets a husband to marry. The plan does not favor him because both he and his mother realize that it will take a very long time for Laura to get a husband. The act features a monologue by a melancholic Tom (Williams, 1945).
The act’s style makes one wonder about Tom’s free will. His character, mainly motivated by his mother’s sentiments exposes his weaknesses towards making his decisions. Most of the time we find his actions advised by the demands of his mother or his sister. His behavior makes him look like he represents one of his sister’s glass menagerie. He has a very soft spot for his partially crippled sister and his paranoid mother. His refusal to do as commanded would get viewed as breaking of his sister’s glass menagerie.
The composition resolves the conflict between the realities and desires of Tom when the family members argue after O’Connor leaves after calling. Amanda gets disappointed after learning that O’Connor was engaged to get married. The rising action disappoints Amanda, and she asks Tom to leave for the movies. Amanda no longer cared about what would happen next since she had so much hoped that Laura and O’Connor would fall in love during the call. Amanda’s disappointment was more beneficial than harmful to Tom. His long time plans for independence and leaves the warehouse job was possible. The falling action was Tom going out to the movies, drinking and leaving his home town for good. Tom’s satisfaction arose from being away from his paranoid mother and crippled sister (Williams, 1945).
Tom always did everything to please his mother and elder sister Laura. Even after spending most of his time fending for them, a minor mistake from him made his mother extremely disappointed. If only he had known before the encounter how he could have done it so that he could be sent away by his mother in a similar manner so that he would pursue his individual goal. The drama’s climax makes one realize that Tom had so much interest in poetry and paid less attention to other people’s business. The patience Tom exercised at last yielded results, and he obtained what he had for a long time desired, his freedom and peace of mind.
Reference: Williams, Tennessee. (1945). The Glass Menagerie. New York: Random House.