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In the First Three Scenes in ‘the Glass Menagerie’, in What Ways Does Williams Portray Tom as Being Trapped?

In: English and Literature

Submitted By maddiethomas143
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In the first scene of ‘The Glass Menagerie’ Williams paints the scene from the outset to his audience that Tom feels trapped by his Mother. This particular arrises in the conversation between Amanda and Tom at the dinner table: “honey don't push with your fingers” “chew - chew” “eat food leisurely”. Which evokes the reaction in tom “I haven't enjoyed one bite of this dinner because of your constant directions on how to eat it”. This could indicate, for reasons unclear at this time in the play, that Tom feels trapped by the constant nagging he receives from his mother and as a result, has no time to think, or do things for himself. This, perhaps is due to the fact that Amanda of an affluent decent and so such things as table manners when she was growing up, would have been of more importance than perhaps to Tom and his current financial situation.

Tom does not appear in the second scene and so this could elude to the idea that Tom is trapped by financial burden. As we have discovered from Toms opening monologue, his father disappeared leaving Tom to be the sole provider for the family. This could perhaps suggest, through the theme of being male, that Tom is perhaps trapped by his gender, as in 1937 it was the role of the man in of the house to provide for the women. As a result of this societal norm, tom had to take work wherever he could find it, and so works in a low paid, low skilled job in a shoe factory. Perhaps the shoes are a metaphor to the running he is so longing to do away from his family, but more specifically, Amanda due to the burden of expectations she places on his shoulders to be the perfect gentlemen in a social class where, perhaps such thing does not exist.

It could be argued that in scene three, the pivotal moment is not in the monologue when Tom breaks Laura’s glass menagerie, but the prior conversation he has with Amanda. Tom confirms the idea in the audiences head that he is just not happy. He even goes as far as saying to his mother “I’d rather somebody picked up a crowbar and batter our my brains” than work as a shoemaker. This suggests the idea that Tom is, maybe not too skilled for his current job as it is unclear due to their financial situation whether Tom has any qualifications, but certainly, too intelligent to be working a job with as little skill as he does. He also indicates that he feels trapped from as early as the beginning of his day when Amanda comes into his room “yelling that God damn ‘rise and shine!’ suggesting that he doesn't even get a moments peace to just be, but instead, his thoughts are polluted with the idea of his dire situation from the get go. This is furthered by the statement “I say to myself how lucky dead people are! but I get up. I go!”. It could be suggested that the underling feelings Tom is experiencing is due to the fact “I give up all that I dream of doing and being ever!” giving the impression that tom feels not just trapped in his current situation, but also in his future, or the ideals that he cannot seem to let go of that he once held for it, due to the fact his father left selfishly resulting in Tom hafting to then step into his place and provide for his family.

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