The Glass Menagerie By Tennessee Williams

914 WordsJul 13, 20154 Pages
Various psychological frameworks can be applied to analyze the problems of literary characters, as well as those of real people. One such framework is Buddhism with its analysis of suffering and its causes. Noted Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh states that "Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free" (78). More specifically, Nhat Hanh and many other Buddhists recommend that letting go of greed, aversion and delusion, referred to by Buddhist as the Three Poisons (or Kilesas), in order to be gain the greatest happiness. According to Theravada Buddhist teacher Nyanatiloka Mahathera delusion (also referred to as ignorance) is the worst of these three dysfunctions because, “If there is no more ignorance, there will be no more greed and hatred, no more rebirth, no more suffering” (O’Brien). The three main characters of Tennessee Williams’ play The Glass Menagerie exhibit these dysfunctional states of mind to varying degrees. The play effectively explores various motifs including various examples of escapism, economic anxiety and generally dysfunctional ways of relating to others to illustrate the convergence or interplay of dysfunctions that a family can have. Due to the precarious economic situation of the central characters, including Amanda Wingfield, an overbearing mother figure, escapism is a dominant theme in this drama. Her daughter Laura
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