The Glass Menagerie

Entrapment in The Glass Menagerie

"The Glass Menagerie" is fundamentally a memory play, in that both it's style and content are shaped and inspired by memory. The lighting effects emphasise these incessant reminiscences, as do the unique stage directions and screens, which appear regularly, accentuating key themes and motifs that recur throughout the play. As Tom himself states clearly, the play's lack of realism, its high drama, its exaggerated symbolism, and even its frequent use of music are all due to its origins in remembrance, yet underlying this theme of the inexorable power of memory is the idea of entrapment, and the impossibility of true escape.

At the beginning of Scene Four, Tom regales Laura with an account of a magic show in which the magician managed to escape from a nailed-up coffin:

"We nailed him into a coffin and he got out of the coffin without removing one nail. There is a trick that would come in handy for me - get me out of this 2 by 4 situation".

Evidently, Tom views his life with his family and at the warehouse as a type of coffin, cramped, suffocating, and morbid, in which he is unfairly confined. "The Glass Menagerie" takes an ambiguous attitude toward the moral implications and even the effectiveness of Tom's entrapment and escape....

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