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In Scene 5 of The Glass Menagerie, Tom talks to the audience. In terms of meta-theatre,...

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kelvin1218548 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted December 24, 2010 at 2:47 AM via web

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In Scene 5 of The Glass Menagerie, Tom talks to the audience. In terms of meta-theatre, how does he acknowledge his need for change?

Across the alley from us was the Paradise Dance Hall. On evenings in spring the windows and doors were open and the music came outdoors. Sometimes the lights were turned out except for a large glass sphere that hung from the ceiling. It would turn slowly about and filter the dusk with delicate rainbow colours. Then the orchestra played a waltz or a tango, something that had a slow and sensuous rhythm. Couples would come outside, to the relative privacy of the alley. You could see them kissing behind ash-pits and telegraph poles.

This was the compensation for lives that passed like mine, without any change or adventure.

Adventure and change were imminent in this year. They were waiting around the corner for all these kids.

Suspended in the mist over Berchtesgaden, caught in the folds of Chamberlain's umbrella. In Spain there was Guernica!

But here there was only hot swing music and liquor, dance halls, ban, and movies, and sex that hung in the gloom like a chandelier and flooded the world with brief, deceptive rainbows. ...

All the world was waiting for bombardments !

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jseligmann | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted December 24, 2010 at 9:45 AM (Answer #1)

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Your original question suggested that Tom's desire for change was a flaw. I don't see as a flaw, nor does Tom. This is not the only time in the play that Tom expresses his restlessness and the weariness he feels about his present life:

• But I'm not patient. I don't want to wait till then. I'm tired of the movies and I am about to move!

• But the wonderfullest trick of all was the coffin trick. We nailed him into a coffin and he got out of the coffin without rernoving one nail, There is a trick that would come in handy for me - get me out of this 2 by 4 situation !

One could assume that if his mother and sister knew of his plans to abandon them for a life at sea, they would see it as a flaw in his character, but for Tom, this has long been a leading motif. The need for change, romance and adventure are hardly available to him while he's stuck stuck with Amanda and Laura. And it's not like Amanda is completely clueless:

AMANDA: But, why - why, Tom - am you always so restless? Where do you go to, nights?

TOM: I - go to the movies.

AMANDA: Why do you go to the movies so much, Tom?

TOM: I go to the movies because - I like adventure. Adventure is something I don't have much of at work, so I go to the movies.

AMANDA: But, Tom, you go to the movies entirely too much !

TOM: I like a lot of adventure.

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