How does each character in "The Glass Menagerie" cling to illusions/deception in order to survive harsh reality?

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parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Amanda revels in her past. She forever relives the visit of 'seventeen gentlemen callers.' She also lives in a past which wasn't, musing on the life she would have had being married to a wealthier man. She daydreams to the point of being half-transported to the time when she was young and desirable.

Jim is also nostalgic. He misses the by-gone days of high school when he was successful and popular. He is disappointed about his present life but has great plans for the future, taking night courses in both public speaking and electricity. He forsees a great career awaiting him in television. He naively thinks he has stumbled upon an automatic formula for success.

Tom goes to the movies as his means of escape, projecting himself into a world beyond his reach. He smokes and sometimes drinks, and he hides D.H. Lawrence novels under his bed. But Tom also writes poetry. The "Shakespeare" side to him longs for something other than his grindstone routine at the warehouse. Tom is impatient to move on. He even used money set aside for the electric bill to pay dues at the Merchant Marines. To him even going off to war would be better than staying stuck at home.

Finally, Laura also lives in a world of her own. She skips school because the stress of it makes her sick, wandering around town to kill time. Then she goes home and spends hours playing with her glass menagerie and victrola.  Perhaps she even uses her handicap as an excuse for withdrawal from life's challenges.

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The Glass Menagerie

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