Literature the Glass Menagerie Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1087 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Literature

¶ … Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. The story of the Wingfield family is tragic and without hope. Laura, the daughter, walks with a limp and is painfully shy and afraid of the "real" world. Her brother, Tom, only wants to leave the family behind, and the mother cannot forget her past to get on with her future. The family is tragic, and the most tragic figure is Laura, whose only real enjoyment is polishing the little glass animals she collects, the "glass menagerie." Williams wrote this play in 1944, and it won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award in 1945. Laura in "The Glass Menagerie" is a tragic figure because she is so dependent upon her family and because she is desperately afraid of the outside world.

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Laura is a tragic figure in this play because even her family admits she is flawed, but they do not help her deal with her fears and distress. Her brother Tom says, "Mother, you mustn't expect too much of Laura" (Williams PAGE #), which dooms her to failure and allows her to remain tragically alone throughout her life. Her family also never really faces her disability, which is the main reason she is fearful of the outside world. Her mother, Amanda, says, "Nonsense! Laura, I've told you never, never to use that word. Why, you're not crippled you just have a little defect - hardly noticeable, even!" (Williams PAGE #). These things combine to support Laura's fears and insecurities, rather than helping her to overcome them and live a full, rich life. Her family is flawed, as well, because they are so concerned with themselves, they cannot take the time to help Laura discover who she is and make a life of her own. Tom only wants to leave home to get out from under his controlling mother's thumb and the mother only wants to control her children's lives because she has no control over her own.

Term Paper on Literature the Glass Menagerie Assignment

Laura's life is especially tragic because she is so alone and so afraid of the outside world. Amanda forces her into uncomfortable situations and then watches her fail, such as the episode with the "gentleman caller" and the secretarial school that Laura simply could not attend. Her mother says, "Fifty dollars' tuition, all of our plans - my hopes and ambitions for you - just gone up the spout, just gone up the spout like that" (Williams PAGE #). Amanda thinks she is helping Laura, but in reality, she is just reinforcing her control over her daughter. She does not consult Laura, and when she does, she does not listen to her objections. She makes Laura even more dependent when she fails, because it proves that she cannot take care of herself or survive in the outside world. In effect, she is reinforcing Laura's disability and fears, and then dismissing them. Amanda is a big part of Laura's problems and insecurities, but she would never admit it. Instead, she sets her daughter up in impossible situations and then berates her when she fails. A literary critic notes, "She then tries to find Laura a protective corner of the business world. When this fails, she rallies for the valiant but hopeless attempt to marry the girl off. This… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Literature the Glass Menagerie" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Literature the Glass Menagerie.  (2007, March 29).  Retrieved October 24, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Literature the Glass Menagerie."  29 March 2007.  Web.  24 October 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Literature the Glass Menagerie."  March 29, 2007.  Accessed October 24, 2020.