Living Unpleasant Reality Relaying on Escapism
“During the Great Depression, the movie industry boomed as people craved escapism
and had time to burn.” (Nemko)
Under the severe circumstance which the Great Depression
brought, it is reasonable to think that many people refused to face the reality and somehow tried
to enrich their lives barely relying on escapism. According to Oxford English Dictionary,
escapism means “the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially
by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.”
In the Glass Menagerie, a play which is set
during the Great Depression, Tennessee Williams reflects escapism in Wingfield family,
Amanda, Laura, and Tom, who live in poverty, and also in Jim, who is a caller to the family.
Williams explores the tragic situation of Wingfield family and Jim, who live in poverty and can
not adapt to the mainstream of society but are trying to live fully through escapism; the mother,
Amanda, holds to her glory days in the past, Tom, the son, reads, watches, and writes fictions,
the daughter, Laura, replaces her reality with the world of glass menagerie, and Jim, a caller to
the family, goes to night school to prepare for the future.
Through Escapism of characters,
Williams implies that people in severe situation tend to escape into the dream world avoiding
reality but it only makes the situation worse unless they face reality and resolve the obstacles.
Amanda evades to her brilliant days she spent in order to live in the situation of which
she had no idea when she was young.
On the contrary to the fact that Amanda used to be a
southern belle, she lives in poor circumstances; she sells subscriptions and supports her family as
single mother according to her failed marriage.
She loves talking about her brilliant days in Blue
Mountain as if she still lives in those days and repeats her story that she was visited by seventeen