CRIPPLED DREAMS The great play of its time, ‘The Glass Menagerie’ portrays the story of four key characters- Amanda Wingfield, Laura Wingfield, Tom Wingfield and Jim O’Connor. The narrator William Tennessee powered his imagination with acute care for animating his favorite characters in it. This memory play is brought to audience as Tom Winglfield’s memory about his sister Laura and mother Amanda, a lady who always worried about her absentee husband. The mother is obsessed with making a match for Laura who spends most of her time with her collection of small glass animals. That is how the play gets its name “The Glass Menagerie”. Beyond every sentimental elements found in this play, its theme circles around the two characters, Laura and Jim.
Jim O’ Connor in the play is portrayed as a hero in his high school age itself. He mastered everything he did and convinced others that he could go farther than they would expect him to. In his teen days, he would sing well and make a circle of fans around him with his wits. He is a pleasing personality that can easily gain room in anybody’s heart. Although he does nothing that impresses others, the conviction in his words leaves an unshakable trust among his listeners. An adventure loving man he is, he changes his life style time to time and searches the new entertaining things to enthrall himself. When Tom meets him at the work place, Jim is an absolute movie fan. Loneliness and youthful inspirations drive his way from one spot to another in search of joy.
Jim has been introduced as “a nice, ordinary, young man” (p. XIII) but his nature is rather skeptical as the way he meets Laura and recollects his past in the play. Jim never seems to be concerned about Laura except for the little love he has for her from the memories. Altogether, his character in the play is nurtured with ambiguity that of a man who willfully conceals his desire to escape situations for better choices with unwillingness to leave his little old love. He poses a role for self deceit when he leaves Laura for Betty, his fiancée.
Jim’s character in the play grows rather displeasing to normal audience at the end of the tale because of his ill motivated school days and the loneliness he chose to grow with. As the way his days with Tom’s family grow affectionate, he regains everything he wanted to have right from his teenage. Though he loves Laura, his insider always suggests him a way out- a way that meets his desires at reality. Laura-though is very beautiful like a glass toy, is very fragile towards social challenges. Jim helps Laura come a lot out of her inhibitions. Jim feels it like heaven when he was with Laura, but at the same time, he can not ignore the fact that he is engaged with another girl for marriage. Jim’s nature worsens in the later part of the play as he starts to behave as he likes. He spends much of his time watching movies and moving around aimlessly. His escaping nature develops and he initiates discussions about his fiancée with Laura. She finally concedes to her bad luck with a stoic passion when she realizes that she is to miss him forever.
Regardless of how greatly Tom cared for him, Jim has no regret about what he has done to Laura. Jim being a man of ultimate desire for exploring treasures of fun finds no meaning in staying long for mere cause of gratitude or love. His ultimate aim is to marry Betty, his fiancée and it becomes his need to avoid personal sentiments for Tom and his family. Losing Laura is never his intension but as his marriage approaches, he finds no other go. He finally leaves her half way breaking the glass cascades she makes for him in her dreams about her future life with him. Thus Jim’s treatment towards her may be considered cruel, as she is so said, ‘a cute, cripple and fragile’ maid (p. 39).
Works Cited
William T. The Glass Menagerie. Heinemann. 1996.

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