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Glass Menagerie - world of illusion

Uploaded by nevvyk on Mar 31, 2004

The illusion in the play starts in scene even before the stage direction “at the beginning” one where it is clear that Amanda peruses illusions from the very first moment we meet her. “Being a memory play, it is dimly lighted, it is sentimental, it is not realistic” page 3. The fact that Tom acts as both narrator and as a character in the play immediately suggests the transitory and illusory nature of memory. Indeed Roger Boxill, in his book “Tennessee Williams” says “the play is cradled in the play wright’s recall of the Depression years”, perhaps suggesting another layer of illusion - the playwright’s own memory. Perhaps it is significant that “The Glass Menagerie” was originally written as a movie screenplay- as movies are perhaps the ultimate illusion, light shining through celluloid to create two-dimensional images. Indeed, Hollywood was known as “The Dream Factory.” Memories are not necessarily real or truthful, memory can be selective and it seems that Williams may well have been trying like Tom to present “truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.” C.W.E.Bigsby suggests in his essay “Entering the Glass Menagerie” that “Williams was concerned with exploiting precisely this internal truth, a world of private need beneath the routines of social performance.” Amanda is expecting “gentlemen callers” for her daughter Laura when we know that Laura doesn’t socialise outside of their home, so how Amanda is expecting gentlemen callers for her daughter is beyond the reader. Later on in the play we find out that Laura is not only crippled but also has no confidence in herself, while we don’t find this out yet it is obvious that her own mother would know about it. We can take this “energetic but misguided” approach of finding Laura not just a gentleman caller but gentlemen callers (more than 1) as Amanda trying to live Laura’s life for her and to make sure she didn’t make the mistakes herself made, marrying a man who would run away and leave a women with a son and a crippled daughter. We might also surmise that Amanda prefers the illusion that Laura’s “little defect” is barely noticeable to the reality which Tom forces her to accept in Scene 5, “face the facts she is”, Tom tries to open up Amanda’s eyes to the fact that Laura is crippled and always will be. Amanda likes to delude herself into thinking that...

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Uploaded by:   nevvyk

Date:   03/31/2004

Category:   Literature

Length:   9 pages (1,933 words)

Views:   1219

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