Events of Progress

“You are the only young man that I know of who ignores the fact that the future becomes the present, the present the past, and the past turns into everlasting regret if you don’t plan for it.”  -The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

Time is defined as a non-spatial continuum measured in terms of events which succeed one another from past through present to the future. The fundamental entity of the observed physical reality is represented by a point designated by three coordinates of place and one designated by time. In order to move forward and proceed to develop a higher, better or more advanced future these events of progress must take place.  The wave of the future represents forces that will inevitably prevail.  The expectation of this progressive development of time is dependent upon a principal of a greater occurrence taking place. This break in uniformity is incapable of being avoided, some will be unable to cope with the rapidity of social and technological changes, but this period of time is critical to the progression of a nation.

“The scene is memory and is therefore nonrealistic. Memory takes a lot of poetic license. It omits some details; others are exaggerated, according to the emotional value of the articles it touches, for memory is seated predominantly in the heart.” -The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

As stated by the narrator Tom Wingfield in the opening description of the play The Glass Menagerie is a memory play, and therefore its action is drawn from the memories of its narrator. Tom the main character of the play is set in St. Louis in 1937. He is an aspiring poet who toils in a shoe warehouse to support his mother, Amanda, and sister, Laura. Among the most prominent and urgent themes of The Glass Menagerie is the difficulty the characters have in accepting and relating to reality. Each member of the Wingfield family is unable to overcome this difficulty, and each, as a result, withdraws into a private world of illusion where he or she finds the comfort and meaning that the real world does not seem to offer. The Glass Menagerie identifies the conquest of reality by illusion as a huge and growing aspect of the human condition in its time.

“Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.” 

Tom as the narrator makes this statement as part of the beginning introduction to the play, this statement sets the stage and tone for the major themes of the play.  As Tom is describing himself as being the opposite of a magician, instead of a modern magician who tries disguising fiction with the act of an illusion, Tom states that he shows the world the truth disguised as an illusion. This statement written by Williams reveals the underlying theme of the play of a set group of characters who struggle with how they perceive their own reality.  Tom sees himself as an illusionist, who goes through his life disguising the truth for others, while he is the only one who sees his life’s true meaning.


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