The Glass Menagerie
How we cite our quotes:
"A blown-up photograph of the father hangs on the wall of the living room, to the left of the archway. It is the face of a very handsome young man in a doughboy's First World War cap. He is gallantly smiling, ineluctably smiling, as if to say "I will be smiling forever." (stage directions, Scene One).
Tom’s father seems to show no regret at having abandoned his family.
There is a fifth character in the play who doesn't appear except in this larger-than-life-size photograph over the mantel. This is our father who left us a long time ago. He was a telephone man who fell in love with long distances; he gave up his job with the telephone company and skipped the light fantastic out of town…
The last we heard of him was a picture postcard from Mazatlan, on the Pacific coast of Mexico, containing a message of two words: "Hello - Goodbye!" and no address. (1.1, Tom).
Tom’s desire to leave the Wingfield apartment originally emulates that of his father. Yet, later, unlike is father, Tom is not able to make a clean break.
"Listen! You think I'm crazy about the warehouse? [He bends fiercely toward her slight figure.] You think I'm in love with Continental Shoemakers? You think that I want to spend fifty-five years down there in that - celotex interior! with-fluorescent-tubes! Look! I'd rather somebody packed up a crowbar and battered out my brains-than go back mornings! I go! Every time you come in yelling that Goddamn 'Rise and Shine! Rise and Shine!' I say to myself, 'How lucky dead people are!' But I get up. I go! For sixty-five dollars a month I give up all that I dream of doing and being ever! And you say self-self's all I ever think of! Why, listen, if self is what I thought of, Mother, I'd be where he is-GONE! [He points to his father's picture.] As far as the system of transportation reaches!" (3.34, Tom).
Tom makes it clear that the only reason he has not left home is that he does not value the self over the family enough to abandon his mom and sister.