Drama Essay: Tennessee Williams -The Glass Menagerie

Tennessee Williams -The Glass Menagerie

Jim as a representative of the American dream, optimism and progressivism

The Glass Menagerie is a memory play by Tennessee Williams authored in 1944. It features robust autobiographical elements with the characters being Amanda Wingfield, Tom Wingfield, Laura Wingfield, Jim O’Connor, and Mr. Wingfield. It is introduced by Tom, the narrator as a play based on memory on his recollection of his mother Amanda and sister Laura (Williams and Tony). This essay will describe the role of Jim in the play that is an acquaintance of Tom and Laura. He was an athlete and works as a shipping clerk at a similar warehouse shop as Tom. He longs to shine again and this reflected by his public speaking studying and ideas of improving himself. He presents an American dream, with both optimism and progressivism.

In the play, Jim is the most realistic human being as he is a representative from a world of reality that the audience is alienated. Although he is perceived as “the long-delayed,” he always anticipates for something that we live. For the family of Wingfield, this young man is recognized to be the symbolization of the American Dream and a mode to overcome their ineffectiveness. In the continuity of the play, he influences every member of the Wingfield family.

Jim has a firm belief in evolvement and optimism and at the start of the narration; Tom introduces and admits that Jim always moved in a continual spotlight. He is identified as a star in high school, more so in sports activities (Davis). However, Tom later gives insight that the success story of Jim is stagnating. He attends college for radio engineering and public speaking, but he is more interested in the affairs of intellect. However, Jim still chooses the pages on sports when handed a newspaper. He lost his shine and admitted to Laura that the life he is living is not the one he was dreaming. He hoped that he would go further than he was at that time.

Nevertheless, he is optimistic about life, and the fire of the American Dream is still burning in his heart. He genuinely adores the elements of progress with advanced technology and enthuses about the future of television (Davis). He even visits the town of Chicago for a World’s Fair programme and is flabbergasted by the massive Wrigley Building. This building is known to symbolize success and business. He studied at night in school to prepare for his future success which he is vividly convinced of achieving. While Jim is so focused on the future, Amanda is stuck in her past with a traditional American Dream. Amanda was forced to give up everything and dedicate towards her marriage instead of fulfilling her dreams. The appearance of Jim creates an effect and re-inflames her traditional dream. Jim has the role of enabling Amanda to gain at least part of her dream. Jim has an effect on the world that is vast and his first comment on Tom’s sister being “unusual to meet a shy girl nowadays… (Williams and Tony)” He gives Laura a lecture on her lack of confidence, enters her world and turns it upside down. The long talk on self-esteem changes Laura for the better.

In conclusion, Jim is seen to be full of positivism, optimism, and progressivism in his life since he was in high school. He has a thirst for improvement regarding technology and has hopefulness, as well as confidence about the success of his future. He works hard to reach his full potential and become successful. His real physiognomies also impact the other characters in the play positively such as Amanda Wingfield. For this reason, he is seen as a representative of the America Dream.

Works Cited

Williams, Tennessee, and Tony Kushner. The glass menagerie. New Directions Publishing, 2011.

Davis, Timothy Mark. A Directorial Investigation of The Glass Menagerie. Diss. Regent University, 2017.

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