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Tennessee Williams’ the Glass Menagerie

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Essay title: Tennessee Williams’ the Glass Menagerie

In Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, Amanda is constantly adding pressure to the lives of her children. Her children, Laura and Tom, have to find ways to escape the pressure. Laura uses her glass menagerie as an escape from this pressure brought on by her mother. Amanda insists Laura goes to business school and finds a husband. Tom works at a warehouse. During his time off, he attends movies and uses alcohol to escape reality. His mother expects him to fulfill the role of his absent father. Through Laura and Tom, Williams proves that excessive pressure on an individual can have negative effects on a person’s ability to function in society.

The pressure is first revealed when Amanda decides to go to Rubicam’s Business College to converse with Laura’s professors. Amanda’s intentions are to see if Laura is doing well and inform the professors that Laura is ill. When the professor remembers Laura, she tells Amanda about the first exam. “She broke down completely-was sick at the stomach” (2.1786). Ashamed of getting sick and terrified of disappointing Amanda, Laura pretends she is still attending school. Amanda can not understand why Laura is not honest with her. Laura responds, “It was the lesser of two evils” (2.1786). Laura chooses pneumonia over disappointing her mother. Laura’s incapability to continue her schooling is brought on by the pressure she is under.

At this moment, Amanda is also disgusted with Tom. Although Amanda claims she is not criticizing Tom, she complains about him going to the movies. Tom explains to her that this is where he finds his adventure. Amanda believes that if Tom can not find adventure in the

warehouse he can learn to live without it. Tom shares his feelings with his mother. “Man is by instinct a lover, a hunter, a fighter and none of these instincts are given much play at the warehouse” (4.1796). “Only animals have to satisfy instincts” (4.1797). Amanda continues to condemn Tom. She expects Tom to replace his father. Instead of Tom moving out and beginning his own family, his mother has given him the responsibility of supporting her and his sister, Laura. It does not satisfy Amanda for Tom to support the family financially. She expects him to live exactly as she wants. These expectations cause Tom to portray a lack of responsibility throughout

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