The Glass Menagerie
by Tennessee Williams
The Glass Menagerie Freedom and Confinement Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Scene.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a big long monologue.
"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 uses hyperbole to emphasize the overwhelming sense of imprisonment he feels.
"Where have you been all this time?"
"I have been to the movies."
"All this time at the movies?"
"There was a very long program. There was a Garbo picture and a Mickey Mouse and a travelogue and a newsreel and a preview of coming attractions. And there was an organ solo and a collection for the Milk Fund—simultaneously—which ended up in a terrible fight between a fat lady and an usher!" (4.7).
Just as Laura uses the glass menagerie as a means of escape from reality, so Tom uses the movies.
"And, oh, I forgot! There was a big stage show! The headliner on this stage show was Malvolio the Magician…But the wonderfullest trick of all was the coffin trick. We nailed him into a coffin and hr got out of the coffin without removing one nail. There is trick that would come in handy for me—get me out of this two-by-four situation!
[…] "You know it don’t take much intelligence to get yourself into a nailed-up coffin, Laura. But who the hell ever got himself out of one without removing one nail?" (4.9, 4.13, Tom).
Tom recognizes that to escape from his own coffin of his job, apartment, and family obligations, he would have to upset his surroundings.