Mirroring, the social and economic despair of the thirties in the U.S, “The Glass Menagerie” in nostalgia for a past world and its evocation of loneliness and lost love celebrates, above all, the human need to dream. Amanda Wingfield resents the poverty – stricken neighborhood in which she lives, so much so that she needs to escape mentally from it by invented romance and self-deception.
Williams describes her as having “endurance and a kind of heroism, but she is also silly, snobbish, sometimes cruel and sometimes pathetic in her well-intentioned blundering. Her love for her children is exasperating and suffocating; her energetic gaiety can be nauseating. Abandoned by her husband, Amanda comforts herself with recollections of her earlier, more gracious, southern life in Blue Mountain, when she was pursued by ‘gentleman callers’. Amanda is desperate to find her daughter, Laura, a husband, the kind of gentleman caller that she herself longed for, who wouldn’t have deserted her.
She foists her illusions on her unwilling children, living in the past with pretensions to glory. “In the South we had so many servants. Gone. All vestige of gracious living! I wasn’t prepared for what the future brought me”. p.64. The glass menagerie represents an escape from reality for Laura. Tennessee Williams has said: Those little glass animals came to represent in my memory all the softest emotions that belong to the recollection of things past.
They stood for all the small and tender things that relieve
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