RD3_ZHANG - ZHANG Page 1 of 7 Chiyu ZHANG Professor Jutta...

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Chiyu ZHANG Professor Jutta Schamp English 2 Monday, June 6, 2011 Shall the Reality be faced: An Analyze of Main Characters’ Actions and Philosophy in The Glass Menagerie Introduction “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams is a drama which reflects the life of America’s middle class in the decade of the Great Depression. The story is setting in 1930s * . Amanda Wingfield, the mistress of the apartment, and her children, son Tom and daughter Laura, are beset with grievous financial difficulty due to the absent of Mr.Wingfield, the spouse of Mrs.Amanda as well as the only source of income of this family. According to “A History of American Life Volume XIII: The Age of the Great Depression”, overexpansion caused the unimaginable economy recession. Ways and means for living could no longer be found, the distressing livelihood pushes people insane, or even to suicide. “the annual national rate [of suicides], [. ..] rose steadily to a record high of 17.4 [per hundred thousand] in 1932” (Wecter pp.40). Poor Wingfields couldn’t dispose of the disaster. They seem to live in normally, yet contradictions, escapism, together with other emotions are expending rapidly in each of their mind. Escapism, a common philosophy then, as New Oxford American Dictionary defines, is “the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, esp. By seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy.” Every character in this play has a piece of dream, ZHANG Page 1 of 7 * Bluefarb pp.514 “The immediate time-scheme is the 1930’s.” Wecter pp.6 “The overexpansion of credit was a prime cause of the disasters that followed 1929.”
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memory or affections. The misfortunes are that their fantasies are nowhere near actuality. As Sigmude Freud stated, if unconscious impulses is forced to differ from conscious life, people start to feel depression. This melancholy makes Wingfields cannot deal with the actuality. They commence seeking and living in dreams, thus the idea of escaping from the unsatisfied, boring, tragic life is created. These representative mental contradictions and escapist behaviors of those years as well as the method to solve the issue can be recognized by interpreting and analyzing Amanda, Laura, Jim and Tom’s ideas, actions and choices. Amanda: From the Past I Come Amanda Wingfield is definitely living in the her memory, in which she is famous and enjoys herself by entertaining gentleman callers. The setting of the drama makes Amanda distasteful yet ill-fated. Chasm between reality and her past is huge as the heaven and hell, nevertheless, as a mother she still devotes to her children, in improperly and persecution ways as “She is not paranoiac, but her life is paranoia.”(Williams pp.5) though. Life, family and the world are driving her crazy. The brilliant yet vanished ages are like a tantalizing girl that captivates but also a
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This note was uploaded on 06/10/2011 for the course ENGLISH 1 taught by Professor Meyer during the Spring '11 term at UCSB.

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RD3_ZHANG - ZHANG Page 1 of 7 Chiyu ZHANG Professor Jutta...

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