In The Glass Menagerie, it is very clear that there is a major struggle between all of the characters and reality. Amanda, Laura, and Tom are the three main characters that had this struggle. Tennessee Williams did a wonderful job describing scenes and using symbolism throughout the story to stress this struggle.
First, Amanda clearly struggles with the thought of facing reality for a couple of reasons. Amanda seemed like she was always living in the past. She always referred back to her days at “Blue Mountain.” That was her little fantasy world. It was her escape from reality. She always told the story of her seventeen gentlemen callers, dragging her children into her fantasy world as well. She also tried to blind everyone from the fact that her children were not perfect, especially the fact that her daughter was cripple. For example, the word crippled was not allowed in the house. Those are really the two ways that Amanda escaped form reality.
Next, is Laura. Laura was an odd character. The author even expresses symbolism towards her as being different. For example, Jim O’Connor calling her “blue roses.” Another example is the glass unicorn. Those are both very symbolic of Laura’s peculiar manner. It’s clear that blue roses or unicorns are not something that you see everyday. Laura knew she was different, mostly because of her disability. She didn’t feel like she fit in with everyone else. An example of this is the fact that she dropped out of college after only a day. She didn’t have any self-confidence and was far too shy to meet any friends. That is why she seemed to lose herself in her glass collection. The private little world that she lived in was surrounded by glass animals. She even brought up her glass collection when she was nervous with Jim. Her mind was really the only thing keeping her out of the real world, and from meting people, as well as her not going to school. In the end, her mind was her only disability.
Tom’s escape from reality revolved around the movies. All we learn about Tom is what he thinks about his mother, his sister, and his job. Those are precisely the things in which he wanted to escape. Tom went to the movies to escape from Amanda and Laura, but also for that missing piece of his life. He said that there was no adventure in working at a warehouse and there clearly was none in the Wingfield house. He also hated his mother nagging him all the time, but that was his life. He escaped it, night after night, by going to the movies. That was Tom’s way of escaping from reality.
In conclusion, it is very clear that there is a major struggle between all of the main characters and reality. Amanda’s main obsession was living in the past. Laura was too afraid or just too shy to even step out into the real world. Her distortion of reality was found in her glass collection. Finally, Tom escaped from reality at the movies. He had absolutely no adventure in his life, so he would pretend to be the characters in the movies. That was Tom’s only sense of adventure. Those were the main points that were stressed throughout the story to show the character’s struggle with reality.