Illusions and Dreams in the Glass Menagerie

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Illusions and Dreams in the Glass Menagerie In the “Glass Menagerie”, Amanda tells Tom, “You live in a dream; you manufacture illusions!”. While that is ironic, there is also plenty of truth to her statement. The entire family lives in a world where dreams and illusions are used as a coping mechanism and help to create a happier place than they know in the real world. The irony in Amanda’s statement is obvious. Her character description states that she is “clinging frantically to another time and place” (1284). That other time and place was “The genteel, idealized world of the south during her youth” ( when she had so many gentleman callers. There are no more gentleman callers knocking on her door, but she regularly reminds Laura and everyone around her about the number and frequency of men who called on her. The character description also states that she “failed to establish contact with reality, and continues to live vitally in her illusions” (1284). Some of these illusions are about her, and some are of her children, but all are detrimental to the family’s’ stability. One of Amanda’s illusions is that Laura will start receiving gentleman callers, even though Laura says she is not expecting any. Amanda tells her, “It’s almost time for our gentleman callers to start arriving. How many do you suppose we’re going to entertain this afternoon” (1288). Finding a gentleman caller for Laura becomes Amanda’s driving force because she places too much importance on it “It’s terrible, dreadful, disgraceful that poor little sister has never received a gentleman caller” (1305). Amanda does not bother to ask Tom and Laura what they want out of life. Instead, she makes up her mind – her illusion - about what is best for them and then expects obedience. Laura never asks to go
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