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Illusions of Escape in The Glass Menagerie

Illusions of Escape in The Glass Menagerie

Tennessee Williams’ play The Glass Menagerie gives readers a look into a truly dysfunctional family. At first it could seem as if their lives are anything but normal, but Amanda’s “impulse to preserve her single-parent family seems as familiar as the morning newspaper” (Presley 53). The Wingfield’s are a typical family just struggling to get by. Their problems, however, stem from their inability to effectively communicate with each other. Instead of talking out their differences, they resort to desperate acts. The desperation that the Wingfields embrace has led them to create illusions in their minds and in turn become deceptive. Amanda, Tom, and Laura are caught up in a web of desperation, denial, and deception, and it is this entrapment that prevents them, as it would any family, from living productive and emotionally fulfilling lives together.

Amanda Wingfield’s life has not ended up as she would have wished. She states, “I wasn’t prepared for what the future brought me” (Williams 720). According to Delma E. Presley, “If Amanda appears desperate, she certainly has a legitimate reason” (37). First of all, she has a daughter, Laura, that is dependent upon her for everything. She is afraid that Laura will end up a “little birdlike [woman] without any nest-eating the crust of humility” for the rest of her life (Williams 700). She also has a…

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…e and Literature 34.3 (Summer 1998): 250-272. ProQuest. Jacobs Library, Oglesby, IL. 11 July 2000. .

Jolemore, Nancy. “Lecture Notes and Study Guide Questions for Tennessee William’s The Glass Menagerie.” Old Dominion University. 18 January 2000. 29 June 2000. .

Keltner, Norman L., Lee Hilyard Schwecke, and Carol E. Bostrom. Psychiatric Nursing. 3rd ed. St. Louis: Mosby, 1999.

Presley, Delma E. An American Memory. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1990.

Reser, Rob. “A Touch of Glass.” 29 June 2000. .

Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie. Literature and The Writing Process. 5th ed. Elizabeth McMahan, Susan X. Day, and Robert Funk. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice, 1999. 693-734.

James Baldwin’s Visions Of America and Richard Rodriguez’s Hunger of Memory

James Baldwin’s Visions Of America and Richard Rodriguez’s Hunger of Memory

Many immigrant and minority narratives concentrate their efforts on the positive side of the American dream. These particular stories narrate a person’s struggle and rise through the ranks of the Am6rican hierarchy focusing on the opportunities that seem to abound in this country. While these stories are well and good. they do seem to soft peddle the flip side of this country’s attitude toward the immigrant and minority. America is a land of milk and honey and opportunity, but unfortunately most new officiates or unwilling participants in the American culture face an American nightmare that leaves its effects on the individuals, families and cultures for generations to come. America has its own deeply seated prejudices and stereotypes of people from outside its walI5 and these prejudices force some immigrants and minorities either to abandon former cultural ties in order to assimilate or to strap on the baldric of equality that changes their lives forever.

Two authors, in particular, will help explore this idea that an immigrant or minority experiencing the trauma of bigotry must in some way attempt to reconcile their own cultural heritage with the demands of a new society that objects to their very cultural difference. James Baldwin and Richard Rodriguez experienced this type of immigrant and minority angst regarding their own ties to their cultural and racial backgrounds. Baldwin struggled with the desire to be a writer, not just a black writer, amidst the chaos and protests of the 1960’s political movement and Richard Rodriguez battled between the pull of assimilation and the success it promised and his own feelings of familial betrayal…

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…d, for their very words echo the sounds of their communities’ cries for equal and peaceful co-existence. However, as both Baldwin and Rodriguez recognize and proclaim there will always be a need for their type of experiences because it is only through the loss of their cultural identity that they realized the precious gift it is.

Works Cited

Baldwin, James. “No Name In The Street”. Visions Of America. Ed. Wesley Brown and Amy Ling. Persea 116oks: New York, 1993. 284-290.

Harris, Trudier. New Essays On Go Tell It On The Mountain. Ed. Trudier Harris. Cambridge UP: New York, 1996. 1-28.

Leeming, David. James Baldwin: A Biography . Alfred A. Knopf. New York, 1994.

Porter, Horace. Stealing The Fire. Weslayan UP: Middletown, 1989.

Rodriguez, Richard. Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez: An Autobiographv. Bantam: New York, 1983.

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