This world doesn’t offer a perfect life. As a person’s age increases he learns that not everything that he like to happen will happen and not everything that he want to have will ever be his. No wonder there are moments that people tend to run away from reality and subsequently choose to live in their own world where everything seems perfect for them and where reality can’t hurt them.
The play of Tennessee Williams “Glass Menagerie” portrays characters that have difficulty in accepting reality. These characters have private world of illusion where they find the comfort and meaning which the real world doesn’t offer.
Laura Wingfield who significantly exhibits this situation is not just physically crippled but also emotionally. Her physical incapability made her ostracized herself from the social world and preferred to stay in her own world. She even dropped out from her classes because of her crippling shyness and chose instead to spend her days wandering alone.
Her mother, Amanda, on the other hand has no physical flaw but her past and current life also made her run away from reality. Being abandoned by her husband, she is fond of reminiscing her idyllic youth where she had 17 gentlemen callers. She even wanted her daughter to live a life that she had dreamed of but unluckily Laura is painfully shy to attract suitors.
Her son, Tom seems to be the one who is living in reality, but even he wanted to escape it. The suffocation Tom feels because of Amanda’s chagrin also causes him to have his own illusion that can be found in liquors, literature and movie theatres.
Nevertheless, these three characters have their own conflicts in reality which make them find their own escape.
Sometimes a person’s own world of fantasy and escape doesn’t lead him to freedom but to the life of a fugitive. Laura tried to live in her own world and even make it tangible through the glass menagerie. She was able to pass her life to the glass unicorn which is excluded from other glass animals. At times, she will let that unicorn be included with the other animals as she wished herself to be able to be a part of the social world. Thus, in that glass menagerie, she can create a world in which she is the prime manager who can let things happen the way she wanted to.
Furthermore, her physical isolation from the public let her built walls and even pampered her shyness. However, inside that world she created is not freedom but a temporary escape of a fugitive. Laura was able to get away from reality temporarily but she was still caught by it in the arrival of Jim O’Conner who awakens Laura from her illusion.
Hence, this emphasizes that people can travel as far as they want or even ostracized themselves as long as they can, but they can’t go away from reality because no matter how hard they try, it is still the world they live in.
A person’s uniqueness may either be an asset or disadvantage. Laura being physically crippled also became emotionally disabled. The presence of the braces she wears in her legs maybe make her feel it as a burden. Thus, she had pampered her weakness instead of living with it. On the other hand, Jim O’Conner was able to make Laura consider her flaw as a positive feature. He treated her as a person that is as important as other people. The fact that Jim calls her as “Blue Rose” emphasizes how uniqueness is praised. However, Jim was also the reason why the horn of Laura’s favorite unicorn was removed. In contrary to the Blue Rose, this action emphasizes that Laura’s uniqueness must not be the reason of isolating herself from other people. The moment that the horn of the glass unicorn was removed, it was then similar to that of the horses. Hence, Jim wants Laura to appreciate her exceptionality like that of a blue rose but she must not also let this uniqueness hinder her from mingling with other people as symbolized by the removal of the unicorn’s horn.
Actions speak louder than words but sometimes actions without words are confusing. The kiss and all the admirations done and spoken by Jim to Laura may have convinced the latter to fancy the possibility of romance. Well, most of girls would think the same especially if they also want the guy. However, being too clouded with assumptions will make someone get dismayed in the end.
Assumptions are not always true. They are only the thoughts that a person wants to entertain. And the moment that these thoughts are proven wrong, someone’s world might tremble, as the truth flashes in front of him. On the other hand, this disappointment can also awaken a person from her slumber. Laura was one of these people who made a mistake when she thought that Jim had a purpose of a romantic relationship to her. Her world might have crashed upon knowing that Jim was already engaged. And it’s her fault because she let herself nurture meanings of Jim’s action.
Well, it is also a fault of Jim that he wasn’t able to tell Laura his pure purpose in the first place. Laura’s world might have its crash on that moment but she was able to look at the brighter side and accept reality that Jim wants her to do.
Nevertheless, this world is full of imperfections; people may either be physically, emotionally, psychologically or even spiritually crippled. We needed crutches to still continue to walk and live. We might view these crutches as advantage and help or we may look at it as a curse. In the end, it’s how we view things that matters. Life, hence, is a matter of how we make the best from being the “blue rose” in our own way and while carrying the horns we have in this glass menagerie called Earth owned by God.
Original Title: Thorns And Horns