In Tennessee Williams's play The Glass Menagerie, Amanda, Tom, and Laura are all avoiding reality, and each of them chooses a fantasy to put in its place. Amanda escapes into a semi-imaginary past in which she was a beautiful, popular young belle with hordes of "gentleman callers" dancing attendance on her. Tom goes to the movies, where he surrenders his dreams into the hands of screenwriters and actors, sitting and watching life rather than living it. Laura's alternative to reality gives the play its title, as she turns away from the world and loses herself in the contemplation of her shining glass animals.
These three fantasies are entirely separate and are not even of the same type. The three family members come together in reality, a dingy apartment in St. Louis which they all want to escape. Tom, who is clearly a representative and spokesman for the playwright, is the only one who is able to do so. He was always the most realistic of the three, since he was well aware that his nights at the movies were only a temporary escape and avoidance. Both Amanda and Laura are only able to react to the harshness of reality, represented by the clumsiness and selfishness of Jim, by rejecting its crudeness altogether and withdrawing even further into their respective fantasy lives.