Glass Menagerie by T. Williams Dysfunction Essay

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Glass Menagerie by T. Williams

Dysfunction in the Wingfield Family: Escapism and Illusion in the Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

In the play "The Glass Menagerie," Tennessee Williams' characterization and portrayal of the Wingfields showed them as having aspirations and dreams in life that clashed with their realities. Williams' characterization of the Wingfield family is that, they are a dysfunctional family that created an illusion wherein they nurtured the idea that they are not poor, reflecting their unwillingness to accept their status in life. Interestingly, despite this denial, the Wingfield family tried to reinforce this unwillingness by creating a world of illusion around them, wherein each family member can achieve his or her dreams and aspirations in life. Sadly, though, the creation of this illusion further hindered them to put illusion into action and (ultimately) succeed in life.

This is the state of family affairs Williams presented in Glass Menagerie. Being a dysfunctional family, each Wingfield family member has his or her own role in 'contributing' to this dysfunction -- that is, the creation of illusion and reinforcement of escape from reality. The trio of Tom, Laura, and Amanda demonstrated the typical yet still dysfunctional nature of American families. Tom assumed the role of the breadwinner, well-aware of his potentials in life but emotionally chained to the family primarily because of his sister, Laura; Laura, a cripple whose inferiority mirrored the hopelessness she felt in life; and Amanda, the nagging mother who wished her daughter and son would have a better life, but did nothing to make this possible for her family.

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Escapism and illusion are the dominant themes in the play, as each character sought to find a way out of their plight without actually addressing this need to escape. And because each sought his or her own way of escaping reality, each has contributed to the downward spiral to dysfunction (and eventually, breaking up), of the Wingfield family.

Essay on Glass Menagerie by T. Williams Dysfunction in Assignment

As the main character of the play, Tom became the primary subject who demonstrated the complexity and difficulty entailed in creating a balance between his needs and wants in life -- that is, by creating two selves, one that creates a different world or illusion of invincibility and carefree approach to life, and one that is in touch with the reality, of the responsibilities that he must accomplish for him and his family to survive.

The state of Tom's life is, indeed, one that requires subsistence to illusion. He does not only need to earn for the family, but he must also deal with the pressure and tension among them (Tom, Amanda, and Laura). Both Amanda and Laura needed Tom, as he served as the women's 'emotional crutch' whenever they felt alone and desperate in life. The greatest source of frustration and pain in Tom's life is Laura, who he cared for deeply, but felt compelled to leave behind because he needed to fulfill his… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Glass Menagerie by T. Williams Dysfunction" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Glass Menagerie by T. Williams Dysfunction.  (2009, March 22).  Retrieved October 26, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Glass Menagerie by T. Williams Dysfunction."  22 March 2009.  Web.  26 October 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Glass Menagerie by T. Williams Dysfunction."  March 22, 2009.  Accessed October 26, 2020.