'The Glass Menagerie' by Tennessee Williams is a play in which Tom, the narrator and protagonist, has to deal with the idea of delusion. The play – which explores the themes of abandonment and the impossibility of true escape - is set in St Louis in the late 1930s. After his father abandoned his family, Tom Wingfield is left to support his overbearing mother, Amanda, and his painfully shy sister, Laura. Tom is a dreamer who is desperate to change his circumstances: he struggles to live with his domineering mother and he longs to quit his mundane job at the shoe factory. Yet Tom's love for his 'crippled' sister means that he cannot follow his dreams guilt free. The fantasy Amanda lives in gives us a greater insight into how delusion revolves around the Wingfield family and how it is a central concern in the play and contributes highly to Tom's decision to leave. Williams used various ways such as imageries, exaggerations to convey the delusions to the audience.
From the outset, Williams shows that Tom and Laura have to deal with a deluded Amanda on a daily basis. Amanda is depicted as to have a deluded mind-set from one of the very first lines of dialogue spoken, she says to Laura: ' I want you to stay fresh and pretty – for the gentlemen callers!'. Amanda, upon half-realzsing that there are not any coming, reassures herself with the pitiful excuse of; 'There must be flood, there must have been a tornado!'. Williams demonstrates Amanda's delusion vividly and shows us Amanda completely caught-up in her own world and she disregards any form of reality thrown at her. Her language suggests another time and place. When it is convenient to her, Amanda simply closes her eyes to the brutal, realistic world. She uses various escape mechanisms in order to endure her present position in life. When life in this tenement world becomes unbearable, she recalls the days of her youth when she lived at Blue Mountain and had seventeen gentlemen callers in one Sunday afternoon.