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Escape from Reality
Transcript of Escape from Reality
People often have unique ways of escaping reality
The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams, is a memory play about the Wingfield's in St. Louis, Missouri, during the 1930's. Amanda Wingfield is the mother of her two children, Tom and Laura. Each of these main characters mentally escape the hardships of reality.
Escape from Reality
From The Glass Menagerie
Play by: Tennessee Williams
Prezi by: Juliana Sharp
The Wingfield's are coping with stress and sadness. They are living during the Great Depression and Amanda's husband, (Laura and Tom's father) abandons the family before the start of the play. These events may have sparked the characters' desires to escape reality and conform in their own worlds .
Amanda escapes reality by envisioning herself as a popular person who everyone admires. She forgets the troubles of the world around her and tries to push her children into becoming who she wants them to be.
Amanda does love her children, but she tries to push them into becoming people they are not, and this ends up with negative consequences. She enrolls her handicapped and introverted daughter in a business college and sells magazine subscriptions, hoping that more money would attract "gentlemen callers" for Laura. However, Laura stops attending business college and feels upset when she discovers that Jim is engaged to another woman. Therefore, Amanda's vision for Laura's future backfired.
Amanda and Laura
Amanda and Tom
Throughout the play there is evident tension between Amanda and her son, and in the end of the play, Tom's annoyance and anger with his mother causes him to abandon his family like his father did sixteen years ago. Amanda's vision for her children to succeed and be "perfect" in her ideal world manifests. She insists to Tom that he stop smoking, and tells him how to properly eat his food at the beginning of the play. Amanda is too caught up in her own world and retreat from reality that she never realizes just how unhappy her son is until he leaves.
Amanda's Theme-related Quotes
"No, dear, you go in front and study your typewriter chart. Or practice your shorthand a little. Stay fresh and pretty!-It's almost time for our gentlemen callers to start arriving. [...] How many do you suppose we are going to entertain this afternoon?" (Williams 10).
"So what are we going to do the rest of our lives? Stay home and watch the parades go by? Amuse ourselves with the glass menagerie, darling? Eternally play those worn out phonograph records your father left as a painful reminder of him? We won't have a business career-we've given that up because it gave us nervous indigestion!" (Williams 16).
"One Sunday afternoon in Blue Mountain- your mother received-seventeen!-gentlemen callers! Why, sometimes there weren't chairs enough to accommodate them all" (Williams 8).
Tom's Escape from Reality
Tom is constantly angry and upset with Amanda, who bugs him about being a proper gentlemen and man of the household. Tom also works at a job he hates just to earn money to support the family. Tom often goes to the movies, writes poetry, and smokes to clear his mind from troubles at home and in the world around him.
Tom's Theme-related Quotes
"I haven't enjoyed one bite of this dinner because of your constant directions on how to eat it. It's you that make me rush through meals with your hawklike attention to every bite I take" (Williams 6).
'Listen! You think I'm crazy about the warehouse? [...] Look! I'd rather somebody picked up a crowbar and battered out my brains-than go back mornings! I go! Every time you come in yelling that God-damn "Rise and Shine!" "Rise and Shine!" I say to myself, "How lucky dead people are!" But I get up. I go! For sixty-five dollars a month I give up all that I dream of doing and being ever!' (Williams 23)
Amanda: "You live in a dream! You manufacture illusions!" (Williams 95).
Laura's Escape from Reality
Laura is a very shy and quiet character. She feels unpleasant around others, especially when faced with an uncomfortable situation. Her shyness causes her to stop attending business college and she is frightened when Jim comes to her house. Laura also has a physical defect where one leg is shorter than the other. Instead of finishing high school, continuing business college, or getting a job, Laura blocks out the real world by playing records and spending time with her glass menagerie.
Laura's Theme-related Quotes
"I reach for a cigarette, I cross the street, I run into the movies or a bar, I buy a drink, I speak to the nearest stranger-anything that can blow your candles out!" (Williams 97).
"There was a Jim O'Connor we both knew in high school-If that is the one that Tom is bringing to dinner-you'll have to excuse me, I won't come to the table" (Williams 55).
Jim: "Unicorns-aren't they extinct in the modern world?"
Laura: "I know"
Jim: "Poor little fellow, he must feel sort of lonesome" (Williams 83).
"She lives in a world of her own-a world of little glass ornaments,, Mother...She plays old phonograph records and-that's about all-" (Williams 48).
"I'll just imagine he had an operation. The horn was removed to make him feel less - freakish! Now he will feel more at home with the other horses, the ones that don't have horns" (Williams 86).
This is an unexpected quote from Laura. Maybe she is just being polite and reassuring Tom that everything is fine, but according to my interpretation, this quote shows a change in her characterization. The unicorn represents Laura as they are both always in their own unique worlds, separate from reality. The unicorn's horn breaks, thus becoming like normal horse. To Laura, the parallel to this would be forcing her to go back out in society and taking away her glass menagerie and records. However, Laura tells Jim that now the unicorn will feel accepted by the other horses and less like a freak. She is essentially calling herself "freakish" and unaccepted, meaning that now she would now be happy with her horn removed, too.
Other Symbols-Blue Roses
Blue Roses- Like the glass unicorn, Jim's nickname for Laura symbolizes her, as well as this theme in the play. Roses are naturally red, and blue roses are seen as different, strange, and unique.
The Fire Escape
Although the fire escape appears to be a fairly insignificant part of scenery, it actually has importance as it is a bridge connecting the real world and the Wingfield's residence, where the characters are in their own worlds escaping reality.
The Works Cited page is attached on the paper copy since it would not format correctly in Prezi.