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How often are we able to accept our relatives and significant others without changing them? How prepared are we to restrain ourselves from the so natural desire to adjust their characters to our needs and individual standards? Finally, why are we so ruthless and senseless in everything that makes people who are dear to us so happy and natural? These are the questions that Tennessee Williams seeks to explain and discuss in his The Glass Menagerie. True, the play is filled with a whole set of moral and spiritual controversies, but what it teaches us is that we have not a single right to intervene and interrupt with the lives of those, who live next to us. The play reflects the growing society's desire to shape people and individuals in a way that would make them fit into the set of predetermined social standards, but which will never make them happier. Thesis Williams portrays that false values and ideals imposed by Amanda on her children result in loosing hopes and desperation.
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In terms of psychoanalytic criticism, Tom, Laura, and Amanda are tied to one and the same reality, but their visions of reality are dramatically different. Where Laura devotes herself to the world of dreaming and is unable to overcome her shyness, Tom looks further ahead into his prominent poetic future, while Amanda finds comfort in her memories. Laura does not seem able to escape her loneliness; moreover her mother and brother do not seem to have learned that intruding with someone else's life and trying to change it does not lead to any positive results. To a large extent, for Tom to change Laura is similar to a coffin trick, which has magic consequences and is expected to provide Laura with a chance for self-realization. "There is a trick that would come in handy for me - get me out of this two-by-four situation! ... You know it don't take much intelligence to get yourself into a nailed-up coffin, Laura" (Williams). Unfortunatel, Tom does not also possess enough intelligence as to restrain himself from trying to change Laura's life, and is just another reflection of the broader social desire to change Laura.
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Laura is too shy to ever cross the boundaries of her imagination. Her memories and dreams shape an atmosphere of complete abandonment, and simultaneously, give Laura a sense of harmony. Psychoanalytic criticism allows to say that Her Glass Menagerie is the expression of her attitudes toward the world around her - old-fashioned, never changing, conservative, and rather strange. "Little articles of glass, they're ornaments mostly! Most of them are little animals made out of glass, the tiniest little animals in the world. Mother calls them a glass menagerie!" (Williams). To a large extent, Laura herself is the tiniest creature, who would hardly be able to live through another personal failure, and in this play she appears the only one to have learnt the major lesson of her life: hurting someone can never be a source of one's personal happiness. Unfortunately, her society is not willing to accept her the way she is.
In his play, Williams teaches the critical truth of life: people are not made of glass, and they cannot take any form other people try to give them. In terms of psychoanalytic criticism,, society to which Laura belongs tries to change her in a way that would help her fit into the traditional set of moral values and standards, to which this society adheres. Nevertheless, her increasing shyness does not give her family members the right to manipulate her loneliness. The broken horn of a glass unicorn signifies Laura's spiritual and moral change, which for her family members goes unnoticed. "Not it is just like all the other horses" (Williams). This change not only reveals her hidden will, but shows that society often deprives people of a chance and the right for socialization due to the distorted attitudes and perceptions with which shyness, loneliness, dreaming, and abandonment are usually associated. Neither Tom, nor Amanda can learn that life neever gave them the right to rule Laura's life.
Through the failure with Jim Laura will finally realize her self-worthiness, but will never forget the feeling of tragedy she was compelled to experience. The remarkable feature of Williams' style is that he depicts situations and events metaphorically using symbols and imagery as the main literary tools. Imagery allows the author to depict inner psychological state of the characters, their desires and hopes. All characters in the play are partly the victims of self-destruction. In the play, morality sees itself as the only dominated institution which affects life of a common person through popular culture. Throughout the play, Williams discusses up questions concerning formation of self and self-identity. This process is loosely connected with maturity and adolescence which means liberty, absence of restrictions and compulsions, and in correlation with the idea of will, it is the opportunity to act as would be desirable.
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Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie teaches us several essential moral truths. Psychoanalytic criticism suggests that First, humans have the right to choose between socialization and abandonment. Second, as humans we do not have any right to intrude with the lives of our significant others. Finally, we often confuse people with objects that can be redesigned and reshaped in ways that are desirable for us. Laura is primarily a human being, and behind her shyness there is strong will and desire to be independent in her decisions; unfortunately, society's "best intentions" do not bring anything into Laura's life except for the feeling of tragedy, abandonment, and loneliness. All symbols describe deep personal feelings and life experience of a human. The author gives only some hints to readers to interpret the meaning and consequences of human actions. Williams vividly portrays hopes and despair which marked relations between the characters and the outside world. By constructing stereotypes of humans.
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