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The Glass Menagerie: Character Contrasts and Comparisons

Tennessee Williams presents the persona of interesting characters in his play, The Glass Menagerie. Two of the most striking characters to compare and contrast are the mother, Amanda and her daughter Laura. Through the theme of escape and the reality versus unreality of life these characters each display their own ways of portraying their role in the past, present, and dreams of a future. Amanda lives mostly in two of these areas, constantly reminding her children of her past and referencing the father, Mr.

Wingfield and his abandonment of the family. More often, Amanda speaks of her gentleman callers and how many callers came to see her on a particular night, proving that she was an extremely desirable woman. She lives clearly in the present, as well, by vicariously living through her daughter and demanding the same desirability from her. Though, Amanda does not seem to be as concerned with the future as she appears on the surface.

It seems plausible that her constant escape via living in her past and living through her daughter might unconsciously be leading her to prevent her daughter from ever leaving. If Laura left, Amanda would have no one to speak with about the past she holds so dear and no one to live through in the vicarious and overbearing manner in which she does. Laura, on the other hand, escapes more into the future that she dreams of having, an unreality that she finds to be true once a gentleman does visit her and disappoints.

The dream world that she lives in is shattered by this as she hangs in the balance of the world she wants and the world as it is. Similarly, due to her escape into fantasy she is less rooted in the present as her mother is and her past has been shaped by her mother, making it impossible for her to live in a healthy and real present tense. References Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie. (1944).

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