The Glass Menagerie By Tennessee Williams Essay

1885 Words Dec 23rd, 2016 8 Pages
The Search for Identity
An absence of both individualism and faith coated the American psyche during Great Depression. Living in conservative Missouri, Tennessee Williams was not only disgusted by the lack of creativity present in the urban atmosphere, but also the lack of freedom due to his homosexuality ("About Tennessee Williams"). In an effort to liberate himself both spiritually and financially, Williams began writing plays, many of which have a crafted resemblance to his own childhood (Bray). The Glass Menagerie, an expressionist play set during the Great Depression, underscores the emotional tension existing between the three members of the Wingfield Family: the mother Amanda, daughter Laura, and son Tom. Amanda, due to her obsession with her past, latches onto the emotionally and physically handicapped Laura and subsequently forces Tom to find Laura a suitor. Although Laura perceives her mother’s effort to be useless, Tom does bring home a suitor named Jim who removes Laura from the tedium of her life for a short time. Through juxtaposition, pronounced symbolism, and a monotonous structure, Williams showcases the lack of individuality present in the Wingfield Family; in doing so, Williams prompts the reader to understand both the debilitating nature of the past and the importance of identity.
Williams initially contrasts Laura to Amanda in order to emphasize how the past ultimately prevents each member of the Winfield Family from reaching happiness. Back in her…

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