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Word Count: 1,347
Tennessee Williams entire life was about escape and so it is not surprising that he should choose to emphasize this theme in many of his major works The Glass Menagerie is an autobiographical story about his life and the struggles that he faced with his family and himself The play mirrors many aspects of his young life and emphasizes the need for escape in order to survive The three main characters who illustrate this need most clearly are Amanda Laura and Tom Amanda Wingfield vividly depicts the likeness of Williams real mother Edwina Dakin Williams She was an overbearing manipulative hysterical woman who thrived on the memories of a better time much like Amanda Wingfield does Edwina was the puritanical daughter of an Episcopal rector and grew up in a comfortable luxurious wealthy southern lifestyle Her removal from this lifestyle had devastating effects on her and the upbringing of her children They fell into poverty and as a result of their financial strain and recent move to St Louis she became constantly ill After ongoing issues with abuse and neglect from her husband Edwina turned her back on him and placed her entire focus on her children She was very overprotective of them because she saw them as very fragile Williams seemed weak and different and at age 5 he contracted diphtheria leaving him in an even worsened condition His sister Rose represented by the character Laura Wingfield was also very sensitive and suffered from schizophrenia In the play Amanda sees similar weaknesses in her children and responds in a similar way She utilizes an almost hysterical mechanism of denial in order to cope Her method of escape is to fall deep into the past and reminisce about her glory days She surrounds her reality with images of the days when she saw herself as the southern belle and whenever she urges her family forward she inevitably retreats to a time when her chief
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