This essay studies Williams's heroines who are unable to face their reality so they retreat into illusionary worlds created by themselves. Laura in The Glass Menagerie and Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire are the most outstanding examples. They are so fragile that facing reality will destroy them. Their creation of illusions makes them feel safe away from the real world they cannot cope with, and the harsh realities that destroy both their dreams and hopes.
In the Wingfields, Laura is the lost child. Because of being crippled, she cannot face the outside world. She is always afraid of relationships and is terribly shy. In addition, she always feels rejected and inadequate. In short, she has an inferiority complex. Her only way out is to retreat into a world of her own creation. Living in a world of tiny glass animals is her way of escape. "They are her escape mechanism as the movies are Tom's and the past is Amanda's" (Griffin 29). Those glass animals stand as a symbol of Laura herself. They are so fragile, and even unique. Her separation gradually increases till she becomes like a piece of her glass collection.
" she lives in a world of her own- a world of- little glass ornaments, she plays old phonograph records and-that's about all- (scene five).
Laura is totally unable to bear the group contact in the business school, so she drops out. She prefers just walking, because as she tells her mother "It was the lesser of two evils, mother . I threw up-on the floor ! " (scene two). She spends hours everyday, for six weeks, just to go to the zoo and watch the glass house, so that her mother cannot discover her withdrawl from school. Her memories lock her in the world of the past. She reveals that she has liked one of her colleagues, Jim O'cconner, who has never noticed her presence. The deadening clumping of the brass she has used to wear echoes loudly in her memory, preventing the expressing of her feelings towards him, burying her self-confidence and limiting her chances for a meaningful present activity.