The Portrait Characteristics Of The Family Members In The Glass Menagerie

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The play is set during the nineteen-thirties, it appears to be nothing out of the ordinary, even now to modern perspectives. The Southern setting supplements more to the storyline of the conflicts arising in the play. The Glass Menagerie written by Tennesse Williams displays the Wingfield’s family with an innocent mask, through this memory play numerous conflicts happen to the family from the beginning. Within the play, each of the Wingfield family members interiorly grows as each conflict collides by the end. They each affect one character to another and how the story is portrait. Through his writing, the author, Tennesse William, illustrates that each member of the Wingfield family is subtly “crippled” throughout the play.

Though Mr.Wingfield is not a character that is briefly spoken about and the audience does not discover or know a lot about, his departure from his own family displays that he was fatigued with them and decided to leave. Mr.Wingfield discloses by his actions that he is fantasized about traveling rather than being with a father figure. In the Glass Menagerie, it states, “He was a telephone man who fell in love with long distances; he gave up his job with the telephone company and skipped the light fantastic out of town… a message of two words: Hello - Goodbye!” ( William 1397). Amanda covers her husband’s departure by stating that he has simply found a new hobby and interest in long distance. The father can be considered to be “crippled” due to his disappearance of the family. He decided to leave his wife, son, and his daughter who has a disability. Disconnecting from his children and Amanda without justification can be considered he was not and did not want to understand the concept of responsibility and taking care of others.

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Amanda Wingfield, the mother, desires for her daughter to have a man to that purely takes care of her. She carries out a planned future she wants Laura to have and is motivated to do everything in order for her handicapped daughter to have a happy life. “They knew how to entertain their gentlemen callers. It wasn’t enough for a girl to be possessed of a pretty face and a graceful figure...I mean that as soon as Laura has got somebody to take care of her, married, a home of her own...” ( Williams 1398, 1409). Amanda recites about her young life to her son and daughter, mostly targeted towards Laura as for her mission is to get her a husband. She wants Laura to be like her but obtain a man that is better than her own father. Because she believes Laura is in need of one because she is going to need some to protect her. Therefore, she gives Laura her role as a woman that she needs to achieve in order to get someone in the future. Amanda pressures Laura to find a man and get married, as Laura neglects her decision, she takes it upon herself to scout her a gentleman caller to love Laura without thinking of the consequences. Her motive is seen to take over her, not allowing her to realize certain things that occur right in front of her eyes that cause tension among herself and her son.

Tom Wingfield, the breadwinner of the family, attains great eagerness to do as his father did and leave his home. From the burden that he believed he had mostly from his mother about his sister, he wished to leave and have the liberty to do as he pleased. “I don’t want to hear any more!... Yes, movies! Look at them- All those glamorous people-having adventures-hogging it all, gobbling the whole thing up!” (Williams 1403, 1419). Tom has viewed multiple movies that he now observes them as an escape that he is fascinated with, he is envious of them along with what his father was capable of doing. Tom can also be viewed as “crippled” by the situation he is in, cornered in his own home with no escape. Taking care of his mother and most importantly his sister became the priorities for him. One can say that his anger caused him to be jealous of how easily his father was able to leave his family and he is not.

Laura appears to be the only normal one within the Wingfield family but is viewed weirdly within the whole play by her mother and brother. Laura avoids interacting with others and tends to be more on the fragile side. “It isn’t a flood, it’s not a tornado, Mother. I’m just not popular like you were in Blue Mountain. . . . [Tom utters another groan. Laura glances at him with a faint, apologetic smile. Her voice catches a little.] Mother’s afraid I’m going to be an old maid...The horn was removed to make him feel less-freakish ” (William 1399, 1430). Laura understands that she cannot be like her mother and is trying to prove to her that they are not alike. She collects animal glass ornaments to which she has conceived a small world of her own. Apart from being handicapped from her legs, she is stuck with the illusion and tension from her mother to get a gentleman caller. The glass collection displays how delicate she is, but how she views herself as well, strange and unloveable. Blinding her worth causes her to be easily hold backed by her own mother. She traps herself in her fantasy avoiding to make any self-growth throughout the story. Laura has to go through the struggle of living with her physical crippleness and deliberate imagination neglecting the outside world.

Through other perspectives, the manner of some of the members of the Wingfield family has a different meaning behind them. For instance, a few speculate that Amanda was simply trying to help her daughter like any mother would in any situation. Some suggest that Tom’s real problem or intentions were to be a trader that was overly desperate for freedom. Laura is viewed as the normal one and that her only issue was her physical one. However, the mother caused pressure and no support towards her son, Tom, therefore he began to fantasies about his own escape and took over his mindset. As well as causing her own daughter, Laura, to create her own abstract world. The mother has created almost a domino effect on her family, adding up to her husband leaving her and then in the future her son. Contradicts the views of the other people in virtue of her actions caused her family to disfunction through the play.

The Wingfield family members are very distinct in their own aspects they all displayed their “crippled” personality in the play. Each member portraits that the characteristics within them are the same, a desire and need. All throughout the story, each character odd passion towards something is discovered. Laura, herself and Amanda both proceed to be delusional about Laura’s future life. While resulting in Tom’s wish to escape through the fire escape in the household. Each member’s “crippleness” contributes to generating a flawed family. Tennesse Williams has brought in small elements through the storyline, applying them hard to or faintly to be discovered by covering them with a problem that is usually within a family. Though they are not physically crippled such as Laura, all still take in that aspect of having a disability of some sort within their own world and mindset.

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The Portrait Characteristics Of The Family Members In The Glass Menagerie. (2021, August 26). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from
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