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Character analysis of Tom and Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menegarie

Laura is Tom's sister and the play's primary character. She is twenty-three years old and has a quiet demeanor. Laura is missing a limb, which has caused her to isolate herself from family and friends. Laura has a glass menagerie that she adores. Jim gave her the nickname Blue Rose, which reflects the odd images and character she portrays in her world. Roses are not naturally blue, which is an uncommon occurrence in the actual world. As a result, Laura has a distinct personality, which is reflected in the blue rose and the glass unicorn, which represent her fragile and sensitive character. Laura is an essential character in the play and has a critical role in bringing out the meaning of the title. The author uses symbols to help develop Laura’s character, and they are used to elaborate what she desires in life. The symbols are also fundamental in making the audience understand her personality. Laura relates to the blue rose and the glasses unicorn. The two represent her unusual qualities including her delicate nature. Jim and Tom recognize that Laura is unlike other individuals because she lives in her world and withdrawn from the others. Tom confirms that “A childhood illness has left [Laura] crippled . . . Stemming from this, Laura’s separation [from reality] increases till she is like a piece of her own glass collection, too exquisitely fragile to move from the shelf” (Williams 13).

The play presents Laura as a sensitive, shy and a nervous person. She is frightened when her brother Tom and her mother quarrel. Laura has the class of menagerie, and she carries it with great tenderness. She magnifies the physical defect, and the problem affects her entire personality. Notably, the limb is a symbolic nature of her inner nature, and even Tom says that “it's not just Laura's being crippled that makes her different, but she is just different. So she lives in a world of old phonograph records and glass animals” (Williams 45). The statement illustrates that Laura is affected both physically and emotionally. Besides, she internalizes every aspect and this aspect limits her character growth. Laura desires to be with Jim, and she fantasizes of their relationship together.

Tom Wingfield

Tom is Laura’s younger brother and the son to Amanda. He is materialistic, loves drinking and watching movies. He supports his family through working in a shoe warehouse. The nature of his job frustrates him and tries to accept the reality through engaging in drinking. Tom loves literature and he also spends his free time in writing poems. Tom recognizes the plight of her sister and more importantly, aspires to escape from his mother who restricts him what he should do. He opts to drink and watch movies in his attempts to fulfil his desire. Tom is a responsible person and he works hard to take care of his family.

Tom is forced to leave his sister and mother in order to get away and find a new life away from home. Tom says that "man is by instinct" and realizes the surrounding does not add value to his life. He understands that he had to act or rather end up suffering in regret and be unhappy for the rest of his life. The audience know that the act of rejecting the family is driven by the need to save himself from the limitation of the family. Notably, it is a means of fulfilling his aspiration of becoming a poetic artist. The underlining reason why he wants to escape from the family is that he wants to explore his artistic dream.

Tom is unlike Laura. He realizes that he is the only one who can make a difference in his life and stays positive. On the contrary, Laura allows the limb she has to drain him and feels that life is miserable. Tom dreams to adventure in the world and become an artist. She loves to adventure and he even says “I go to the movies because—I like adventure” (Williams 98). He is responsible and this character is manifested from the way he works hard at the warehouse in order to take care of his family. He also is also optimistic and knows that he can become a great poetic writer. Moreover, Tom is not discourages despite his sister having a limb and his mother telling him what to do in life. Tom continues to work hard and feed his family.

Conclusion

Laura and Tom are vital characters in Williams’ play and make it captivating through their outstanding characterization. Laura is a shy and a complex and the glass unicorn and the blue rose are used to make the audience understand her role in the play. She loves Jim but he is unable to satisfy Laura’s desires and bring her happiness. Tom, on the other hand is a responsible person and works hard for the family. However, he is obsessed with the plight to escape. He drinks, watch movies and aspires to write poems.

Work Cited

Williams Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie. New Directions Publishing, 17 Jun 199.

October 07, 2021

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