Essay on Tom in The Glass Menagerie

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The Character of Tom in The Glass Menagerie

Tom Wingfield has a dual role in The Glass Menagerie. The first Tom is the narrator, who introduces his second self, the character. In his fifth soliloquy, Tom the narrator indicates that time has detached him from the drama, "for time is the longest distance between two places" (Williams 1568). In the closing soliloquy Tom recounts how he lives and re-lives the story in his memory, though he is detached from the participants in the original affair. Like his father, "a telephone man who fell in love with long distances," (Williams 1523), Tom has fallen in love with the long distance that is time.


Tom is a sensitive, artistic man who is forced by circumstances into a phenomenological situation. He is compelled to live and re-live the situation of the play, in which he sought for and found what he believed to be freedom. Although he escapes the situation, he does not find freedom; his consciousness forces him to dwell upon the situation until he finds meaning in it. Because Mr. Wingfield, Laura, Amanda, and Jim are parts of ...

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