In Tennessee William’s play The Glass Menagerie escape is a very prominent theme to me it seems as though every character in the story is trying to run away or hide from something, none of them seem truly happy. This is most obvious with the narrator Tom Wingfield, after the argument with his mother at the end of scene three it becomes very clear that he is not happy with the direction his life is taking, he hates the job he is working and yearns for adventure telling his mother that “I go to the movies because I like adventure. Adventure is something I don’t have much of at work” (Williams, 1945, p.715) in that line I think Tom is trying to say that he uses the movies to escape from reality.
Tom’s mother Amanda is also trying to escape reality, I think that’s why she is always going on and on about her days as a southern belle and all of her “gentlemen callers”. Her life didn’t turn out the way she thought it would be, she’s living in poverty and her husband has left her. She struggles with this so she lives in the past and tries to live through her daughter that’s why she is so obsessed with finding Laura a husband. I think that Jim and Amanda are alike in some ways because Jim lives in the past also, he isn’t satisfied with how his life turned out and coming over to the Wingfield’s for dinner was his escape for a night because it reminded him of his glory days back in high school and Laura made him feel like that high school hero again.
Laura’s escape is her glass menagerie I think to her the collection represents her own little private world apart from reality where she can hide and be safe. Of all the characters in The Glass Menagerie I identify with Laura the most she is painfully shy and self-conscious because of her crippled leg. But I think her shyness and fear of people is more crippling than her leg because of it she misses many opportunities. But I understand how she feels when she escapes to the park every day to avoid going to school, I also struggled with shyness growing up so I know exactly how that feels. I used to hide in the house and read or play video games all day but I’ve learned that there is no true escape from reality once that book or movie or video game is over everything is still going to be the same. You can’t run away from your problems the only way to truly escape them is to face them and deal with them head on. I think this was the message The Glass Menagerie was trying to convey.
Williams, T. (1945). The glass menagerie.