The American dream is notably embedded in the state’s pronouncement of independence. Moreover, this is a national philosophy which identifies freedom as the opening for prosperity and accomplishment as well as a rising mobility attained via hard work. The American dream notably advocates for a better and more affluent life for every citizen in the United States. In his writing, William conveys the message about the American dream as the need for making sacrifices and pursuing one’s desires. He portrays the achievement of this dream as an illusion whereby the Wingfield family appears to struggle much to live comfortably and to achieve the American dream of being able to meet their basic needs (Wise n.pag.).
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The Wingfield family consists of three members, and all of them are in pursuit of the American dream. Mrs. Wingfield believes that hard work is the only way of achieving their dreams. She encourages her son Tom to keep working hard if he wants to realize his potential in life. Tom on the other hand desires adventures, whereas his sister Laura forfeits her studies at the business college and does not attempt to find another way to attain the American dream. However, despite these mishaps, the Wingfield family appears to be in a position that would enable each of them to attain this dream. For instance, Mrs. Wingfield stands a chance of living the American dream through the efforts made by her son. She depends on the efforts of her younger child who is working at a warehouse to provide for their family’s needs. This is evidenced by the way she keeps encouraging Tom to work harder to live a comfortable life. As for Laura, her only ability to attain the same dream is through her men callers. Following her accident that left her crippled, Laura is afraid of socializing with other people as her condition makes her feel self-conscious. The only possible way for her to lead a comfortable life is to find a husband. Thus, it makes her mother put much effort trying to make this dream a reality for her eldest child. Tom on the other hand has lived the American dream through his ability to follow his dreams. Being the breadwinner, Tom can be considered as a hard worker, and this is a vital aspect for attaining the American dream.
William chooses to tell his story from the memory perspective of one character instead of allowing the story reveal itself through a life performance, because it mostly tends to reflect his personal life. Thus, it can be appropriate to say that the major reason for his approach to the “Glass Menagerie” is a perfect reflection of his thoughts and feelings concerning his personal life. For instance, similarities between the story and William’s personal existence appear to be so vivid. First is the use of the name Tom, which appears to be deducted from his real name Thomas. The imagery of Amanda and Laura in the story also relate to his mother and sister who had a medical condition. Thus, the story seems to be a reflection of things that happened in his life and thus the use of memory as a style of narration.
The use of an individual’s memory to reveal the happenings of the story appears to have dictated the staging of the story in a number of ways. First of all, speaking from a memory helps the audience to understand the play as originating from an experience. Additionally, the use of the memory in the narration has made the play simple in casting; that is, a number of people have been left out allowing the play to focus on major aspects of the story. For instance, the omission of Mr. Wingfield helps the audience to focus on the life of the family and the adverse effects caused by the absence of the father. In his attempt to escape, Tom looks back at the time when his father left them to follow his dreams, which enabled him to lead a comfortable life, and thus decides to do so as well.
A visit of a man caller appears to be of much importance to Amanda, and this is evidenced by the way she prepares for the visit. Moreover, she is looking forward to the visit, as this has always been a lifetime dream for her daughter to get a suitor that would marry her. However, Laura does not seem to be enthusiastic about the visit. She even becomes nervous on learning the name of the expected visitor and attempts to escape the dinner by asking to be excused from the table by her mother (Williams n.pag.).
The visit shows a distinctive relationship, which exists between Amanda and her children. Amanda seems to have a close tie with her children because of the way they share their thoughts and feelings freely; Laura reveals to her mother about the feelings she used to have for Jim during their high school life. She does it in an attempt to try to excuse her from the dinner table. However, her mother does not let her off easily; she sees this as an opportunity for her daughter to attract the attention of the caller. The visit appears to be a long awaited break for Laura where she can get married and find someone to provide for her needs.
The “Glass Menagerie” is both a symbolic and literal title in its meaning. William appears to have used this title as a symbol which refers to the experiences of his own life. The title in itself appears to symbolize the illusive way in which people view certain aspects of life which enable them get through. For instance, Laura uses her collection of glass animals to reveal the way she views herself and the world around her (Williams 8). Among her collection, she has a unicorn, which acts as the best resemblance of her life. It provides an escape from the cruel reality of her condition and offers her comfort.
Literally, the title “Glass Menagerie” reflects a major aspect of the story as it seems to appear everywhere in the story. In its literality, the title refers to Laura and her glass collection that is a major component of the play and a central reflection of its major theme. In essence, the title reveals the expressive attachment Laura has with her collection and the comfort she gets when she is showing it off or spending time with it.
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