A Path Out Of Hell
Is there such thing as destiny in life? In the play The Glass Menagerie written by Tennessee Williams is a play about a mother named Amanda and her two kids Laura and Tom Wingfield. The mother wants her son and daughter to help earn money, since it's only them three after their father left and the only thing they got from him is a postcard from Mexico. Throughout the play the symbol of fire escape is displayed repeatedly, and by doing this the author is trying to portray that there are humans discontent with the life they have and they try to find things to help them escape the from the fire of misery that they live in.
During the first scene the author presents Tom's getaway place. “The apartment...is entered by a fire escape, a structure whose name is a touch of accidental poetic truth, for all of these huge buildings are always burning with the slow and implacable fires of human desperation” (Williams ). The fire escape is the only way out of the building's full of desperate feeling. It's leading on to how it's going to be used by the characters in the play. The one person who will go to this place for peace is Tom Wingfield. He wishes to make his own destiny, not be placed somewhere he doesn't desire.
Later on in scene five, Amanda shows that she is not content with the life she is currently living. “What shall I wish for, Mother? Happiness! Good fortune!” (Williams ). Amanda wishes to have a happy life in which she could be proud of and not make her have pity upon herself. She does not however escape her reality the same way that Tom does when he goes to the fire escape. The glass menagerie that Laura holds very dearly is her fire escape. From Laura's description on the unicorn which becomes “less-freakish” (Williams ). The readers can see that Laura has subconsciously likened and linked herself to her glass collection. This way Laura escapes from her fire.
Later on in the play Amanda's fire escape is displayed, however her fire escape is different to that of Tom and Amanda. The fire that Amanda has to go through is based on the reality of being a single mother in the thirties that is grilling Amanda's. She is constantly worried about the new fiances of the family ever since her husband left without a notice. She still loves her husband but the only thing that she can't accept is his sudden departure that is “painful” (Williams ) to them. She confesses to Tom after their reconciliation, “I've never told you but I- loved your father” (Williams ). She is very terrified because she sees Tom taking after his father's way. Besides, the worry that Laura “just drifts along doing nothing” (Williams ) for she is worried about her marriage and independence.
Amanda's fire escape is into her glorious past as a Southern belle in the Blue Mountain. Reminiscence as such can temporarily bring her out of the fire as she travels back in time far away from the agonizing now.
The fire escape symbol has different meanings in this play due to the different background stories of each character. Tennessee Williams depicts the way humans naturally reminisce about the good times or find a way to have a good time to get away from all the bad. They tend to escape their reality if they don't feel good by focusing on something that makes them feel at ease. Everyone has their own unique fire escape because everyone has gone through something tough in their lives at least once.