Glass Menagerie What Was the American Dream Essay

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Glass Menagerie

What was the American Dream in the 1940's? What message does Williams convey about the American Dream, and what are the possibilities that each member of the Wingfield family will realize the dream?

Tennessee Williams challenges the traditional concept of the American dream in The Glass Menagerie. The Windfield family is experiencing a significant level of economic frustration. Although the concept of the American dream might be suitable for some, such as Jim, it certainly doesn't apply to everyone. Jim believes that with hard work and dedication that he can push his life on an upward trajectory. He believes in self-help, education, and the promise of technology. He also believes that if he gives his full effort that he can go as far as he wants with his career.

However, the other characters do not share in Jim's sentiments. In fact, the pressures of the so-called "American Dream" have led many of the characters to try to escape from reality. Tom escapes reality with poetry and movies. Laura has no desire for life outside the apartment and spends her time collecting tiny little glass animals. These characters prefer an imaginary world than the inadequacies they have found in the real world and the real world breaks them in the end.

2. Discuss Williams' choice to tell this story from the memory of one character, rather than have the action take place "live" on stage. How does this affect the staging of the play, and what does it tell us about Tom's attempt to escape.

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William's uses extensive stage directions to describe the scene. He describes the scene outside the Wingfield apartment as a small space within a crowded urban area of St. Louis. It is next to a fire escape which plays into the story and it is surrounded by narrow alleys that also have subtle meaning to help describe the story. Tom's dress is unrealistic as well as much of the set. It is described as "truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion."

Essay on Glass Menagerie What Was the American Dream Assignment

Williams uses the opportunity in the elaborate stage directions to hint that the idea… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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