The Glass Menagerie is an autobiographical
story. All the characters have some relation in the real-life family of
Tennessee Williams. The author of The Glass Menagerie tries to tell us the story throughout
one of the characters memory. The scenes of The Glass
Menagerie do not function nor try to give us a traditional plot but instead
they give us a piece of line or timeline that the author once lived through.
Laura one of the characters in The Glass Menagerie owns a glass
menagerie, which she cares for with great passion and tenderness. Laura has a
slight physical defect, which was a limp, but she was confortable with this
limp until it has affected her entire personality. Laura has a huge fear for
facing the real world alone and independently. Laura is so scared and nervous
about what will other people think about her that she cannot enroll in business
school without overthinking and becoming sick. Laura’s oversensitive
personality makes her think that everyone notices her limp and it becomes for
her a huge stumbling block to normal living. Laura has a hard time accepting
her disability. Laura’s struggle to accept her limp causes her to fall into
what we start to see as her world of illusion. Laura lives in a world of glass animals and old phonograph records. The glass menagerie
is a symbol for Laura because it shows beauty and fragility. Laura is very beautiful and like her pieces of glass,
easy to destroy. Laura arranges her collection of glass figure in sections or
different ways according to level of importance to her. Laura has the same
delicate exterior and beauty as her glass figures. We can easily compare Laura
to her figures because she is easily breakable. When I say that Laura is easily
breakable I mean in a sense that she is constantly overthinking and running
away from her social responsibilities. I find it so cool how fragility and
beauty go along and complement each other. Like her brother and mother Laura
avoids and retreats from reality. Laura cannot acknowledge reality and
everything that surrounds her anymore. Most of Laura’s days consist of her polishing
her collection of figures, playing old records or sometimes even spending time
in the zoo. Laura does not even interact with her own brother. Laura lacks
every sort of social interaction until she opens up to Jim. Even though she
does not interact with her brother he still cares a lot for her.
Why is “The Glass
Menagerie” a good title?
I think The Glass Menagerie is a good title for this story
because it leaves us with some kind of mystery to the story. I also think that
the purpose of the mysterious tittle is to intrigue people to read the story
about this unique family. For someone to understand and interpret the tittle it
suggests a deep study of the characters in relation to life, plus the tittle
also adds some depth to the characters at the same time.
The title “The Glass
Menagerie” is definitely trying to tell and also show us fragility,
special care and attention, and definitely some transparency. All of those
things describe exactly what the family in The Glass Menagerie needs and is.
gender role is a set of behavioral and social norms. Gender roles are generally
considered appropriate for either a man or women in a social or interpersonal
relation. In the 1930’s guys were socially built to be the suppliers for their
families, while females were developed to be simply housewives. The Glass Menagerie
is a play that demonstrates these sexual orientation parts that were socially
developed during that time period. Ladies in that era got little power in the
public eye in this way, Amanda needs to rely upon her son, Tom who is the
supplier of their family. Amanda has exclusive requirements for her little
girl, Laura, as she needs to see her prevail in life, however when Laura can’t
meet those desires she has a feeling that she has failed.
In The Glass Menagerie, gender roles play a large part in trying to tell
us what the future plans of each character are. Laura needs to get married
because that is women should do when they grow up; Tom should take business
classes since he is a man. Gender roles appear to emerge from convention, as
Amanda examines what ladies should do and what men should do as indicated by
her Southern childhood. In those days gender roles used to dictate values and
how men or women should be judged differently. Amanda places awesome
significance on Laura’s staying ‘fresh and lovely,’ while she trusts that
‘character’ is the most essential thing for a man. The
women in the play are portrayed as mentally and physically inferior to the men. One of the problems the person who is
reading the play must consider is the path in which gender roles impacts the
identities and practices of the characters. A significant number of the ladies
in “The Glass Menagerie”, for instance, seem to be powerless. One is
physically disabled and very shy; the other is mentally debilitated by her refusal
to manage her conditions. Tom is introduced to us as the individual who is
relied upon to provide for his the family, however his capacity to do as such
is limited. Jim is shown to us as a respectable man who could possibly be a
good husband for Laura.
also known as “The Provider”
is forced to take on the role of the male provider since Mr. Wingfield
abandoned his family. Throughout the story Amanda is the one who majorly
emphasizes Tom’s gender role. “What right have you got to jeopardize your job?
Jeopardize the security of us all? How do you think we’d manage if you were”
(23) What Amanda tried to say here is that if Tom decides to abandon them, who
is going to take care of the family and be in front of everything that happens.
High Expectations for Laura
female Amanda has high expectations for Laura because when she was younger she
was very popular and known by almost everyone around school and neighborhood.
“Resume you seat, little sister – I want you to stay fresh and pretty for
gentlemen callers! (7) Amanda is trying to change Laura’s whole personality and
who she really because she wants her to be like her when she was her age.
Feels Like a Failure
Since Amanda had many expectations for Laura
that she was unable to fulfill, it made Laura feel like she has failed in life
and has disappointed her mother in what it means to be a woman. Women those
days and still now are still looked like trophies. Women are supposed to be
beautiful and fragile like the glass menagerie. “It isn’t a flood, it’s not a
tornado, Mother. I’m just not popular like you were in Blue Mountain. (10) When
Laura tells her mother this she feels like she has not filled and gotten even
close to the high expectations to what it means and takes to be seen as normal
or even as a real woman. Laura accepts
the reality that she will never be like her mother.
In The Glass Menagerie, weakness is
connected to delicacy, which comes to mean both beauty and fragility. While Laura’s
shyness and delicacy keep her in her own little universe of similarly delicate
glass figures. Something Jim gets on with the nickname “Blue Roses”
and finds incredibly attractive. Fragility additionally implies reliance, as
Laura needs Tom exactly because of her delicacy and shyness. We observe the
connection between physical and mental delicacy, as it appears that Laura’s
shyness emerges from a physical deformity: her injured leg. “Laura is seated in
the delicate ivory chair at the small claw foot table. She wears a dress of
soft violet material for a Kimono- her hair is tied back from her forehead with
a ribbon. She is washing and polishing her reflection of glass.” (25) For me
this quote is emphasizing Laura’s fragility. Throughout the story Laura is
surrounded by breakable and delicate objects, some of those objects include:
clothing and furniture.
The Glass Menagerie love is tricky. We will never understand if love was made
to be convenient or simply genuine, advantageous, if it’s truly love, or whether
it is simply fixation. The nearest thing there is to honesty and love happens
amongst Laura and Jim, and depends on a shared comprehension of each other’s
distinction and uniqueness. There is likewise the issue of familial love, and
how to accommodate the outrage and disappointment we may feel with relatives
with our inborn love for them. Especially shown here is the idea of love among
siblings who support each other when on rough ground with their mom. “He used
to call me –Blue Roses” (scene two) Laura’s feelings for Jim do not match from
his ability to recognize her as someone unique from others. The strength of
Laura’s feelings towards Jim are at first unclear. Laura does not know if she
likes him or if she only thinks he is good looking.
REALITY VS. FANTASY:
Each of the characters in The
Glass Menagerie lives in a fantasy world in which he or she fails
to either see or accept reality. While each of the characters employs a
different means of escapism, the effect is the same: disconnection from the
outside world and an inability to live life on its own terms, causing constant
frustration and disappointment among family members. Laura spent most of her
time in a fantasy world throughout the story because she was afraid of the real
world, she was afraid of what might people about her limp, but I think she was
mostly afraid of becoming an independent woman.
is presented throughout the story as an extremely shy and sensitive person.
Being compared with Amanda’s beautiful and almost perfect life emphasizes her
shyness even more. We are aware almost immediately of Laura’s sensitive
personality while we read The Glass Menagerie.
“Glass breaks so easily. No matter how careful
you are.” (86)
AS A TRAGIC FIGURE
Laura is a tragic figure.
This is not just because she is unmarried and painfully shy, but also because
she is actually physically crippled and must wear a brace on her leg—a physical
outward sign to all that she is different. Still, even a physical handicap and
social awkwardness are not enough to qualify her as tragic—her situation itself
contains tragedy. Laura is never an antagonistic character in “The Glass
Menagerie”, yet dramatic confrontations between her brother and mother have a
great effect on her. In many ways, she is tragic because she seems to feel so
much. Furthermore, the boy she was in love with throughout high school kisses
her and then tells her that he is engaged to be married, thus by the end we are
convinced that she is doomed to live out her life as the “old maid” or
“spinster” her mother always feared she would become. For Laura in “The
Glass Menagerie”, escape is impossible and it is tragic that in the end she is
not even a beautiful rare glass figurine, but a unicorn with a broken horn, a
“normal horse” or the mythic “Blue Rose” that is pretty, but unreal.
By the end of “The Glass Menagerie”, Laura is most tragic because she has
almost become a glass figurine. Just as her brother says, Laura lives in “a
world of her own—a world of little glass ornaments.”
it is clear that Laura has no
place in the “modern world” and that she is like the unicorn, both before
and after the horn is broken off. The horn, however, symbolizes her heart while
the unicorn itself is her detachment from the real world. She should not be
touched, since she breaks so easily. Even she seems to realize this when she
tells Jim, “if you breathe…it breaks.” It is tragic that her once chance
at being handled (emotionally, that is) is shattered and impossible.