"The Glass Menagerie" and the Theme of Deception: A Character Analysis Example

Published: 2023-11-07
"The Glass Menagerie" and the Theme of Deception: A Character Analysis Example
Essay type:  Analytical essays
Categories:  Relationship Character analysis
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 559 words
5 min read

"The Glass Menagerie" is a play from the memory of the narrator Tom. He comes off as the aspiring poet who works in a warehouse making shoes so that he can support his mother, Amanda, as well as his sister Laura. The reason he has to support them is that their father ran off years ago and they have never heard of him since except for one postcard sent. The play reveals the theme of deceit and lies as revealed through characters deceiving others, characters deceiving themselves, and societal ideals being the cause of deception.

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In the case of Amanda, she pretends and acts like she is still young and popular. She calls Laura “sister,” yet she is the daughter. Amanda’s relationship with reality is complicated because she is partial to the values in the real world and seeks to have social and financial success. Amanda shows denial by deliberately deluding herself as the true nature of things as they are. She does not want to accept that Laura is disabled or that Tom is a writer who likes to drink. She tells Tom “You are the only young man that I know of who ignores the fact that the future becomes the present, the present the past, and the past turns into everlasting regret if you don’t plan for it” (Williams). Amanda raises the notion that parents only like to see the good qualities of their children.

The attachment to the values created for herself prevents her from seeing the truths about her life. Amanda is deceitful and will not accept that her life could be something else apart from what she wants, which is a pampered belle that she was brought up to be. Even though Amanda admits to being old, she still references herself to be the pretty girl from the South and condemns behaviors that do not relate to those of the South. As she tells stories, she says that “in the South, we had so many servants, all vestige of gracious living. I wasn’t prepared for what the future brought me” (Williams).

The case of Laura also shows deceit and society playing a role in reality. She is in self-deception because of her disability. Society has excluded her such that shyness, as well as her disability, has deprived her of confidence, and she does not have good social skills. This way, she is unable to apply herself to any particular work of her liking. What she does to escape such idealities is she watches movies and goes to zoos and art galleries. Laura says “I went to the art museum and the bird-houses at the zoo. I visited the penguins every day!” (Williams). She says that such pleasures get her past the illusions.

Tom also shows deceit through his escape because it means the suppression of his emotions, and it means doing great harm to his sister and also the mother. Even though he manages to escape, it does not lead him to freedom but to a fugitive life. In general, deception within the play tends to build fragile relationships within the characters.

Works Cited

Williams, Tennessee. The glass menagerie. New Directions Publishing, 2011. https://www.pval.org/cms/lib/NY19000481/Centricity/Domain/105/the_glass_menagerie_messy_full_text.pdf

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