Analysis Of The Glass Menagerie

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After Tom escapes from the Wingfield apartment and into the real world he is immersed in the reality around him, a world now ‘lit by lightning.’ Long gone is his life of escaping to the movies, instead replaced by the waging reality of life, still relevant to us as it was 70 years ago. Unsettled by the demands of the Great Depression, the Spanish Civil War and underlying tensions of World War II, the ‘quaint period, the thirties’ was a time of ‘tumultuous change.’ Tom, doubling as the narrator of The Glass Menagerie begins by saying, ‘in Spain there was revolution. Here there was only shouting and confusion. In Spain there was Guernica. Here there were disturbances of labour…this is the social background of the play.’ Tom’s flippant comments …show more content…
After the Wall Street Crash known as “Black Tuesday” occurred on October 1929, America and most of the world was plunged into a decade long economic struggle. A personal account from the era describes that ‘food and jobs were hard to get and many people stood in lines for government hand-outs. A lot of people lived on powdered milk, dried beans, and potatoes.’ This devastating event took its toll on St Louis, Missouri where families struggled to make ends meet, lived in poor apartment housing and brought strong men weak to their knees. This is clearly represented by the lives of the Wingfield’s, living in their dilapidated and run-down apartment in St Louis, frantically trying to make it by. In turn, the taxing effects of the great depression caused many Americans to focus on escaping the harsh reality of their lives and many, much like Tom, chose to escape to the movies. This is because ‘the movies offered a chance to escape, the cold, the heat, and the loneliness’ and it was a social event which brought strangers together and was available to everyone. Therefore, Tom used the movies as a means of escaping the reality of working monotonously at the warehouse, allowing him the chance to dream of future adventure, and not the squalid …show more content…
As a result it can be said that neither the Wingfield family, the youth from the dance hall, or the American people themselves had any intention of focusing on the reality of their lives during this time. ‘Their eyes had failed them, or they had failed their eyes’ and the only choice they had was to attempt to liberate themselves from their rapidly dissolving

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