English 3 Red 1
20 April 2010
Dreams play vastly different roles in numerous peoples lives, and it is these complex dreams that are sometimes beneficial, and sometimes they can completely consume the dreamer’s life, combining reality and dream into one, making one not able to distinguish between what is real and what is fake. In the play “ A Street Car Name Desire” by Tennessee Williams, the movie The Glass Menajerie by Tennesee Williams, and the story “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck, select characters in all of these stories successfully use dreaming to on a day to day basis. The common tie between Elisa Allen, Amanda, and Blanch DuBois is that they all use dreaming as a tool to escape their everyday lives that they truly hate. In the movie The Glass Menajerie by Tennesee Williams, Amanda Wingfield is Laura and Tom’s mother who was left by her husband. She all too often nags upon Tom, and she also refuses to accept the fact that Laura has a disability in her leg. Due to the fact that Laura is not only socially awkward, and also not keen at attracting young men, it upsets Amanda, resulting in her escaping to when she was a young girl and all the gentleman callers that she would receive. Numerous times in the story does she recall all of the men that tried to pursue her, “ One Sunday afternoon in Blue Mountain, your mother received seventeen gentleman callers! Why sometimes there weren’t enough chairs to accommodate them all” (Williams 10). Amanda rants on and on about all the men that craved for her, just to mask her own disappointment that Laura was getting no gentleman callers at all. She continues to live vicariously through her young self, due to the fact that her own daughter is not good enough for her.
It is once again evident that Amanda’s continuous dreaming completely dulls her sense of reality when she finds out that Laura has not been attending secretary school like she should have been. “ I went to the typing instructor and introduced myself as your mother. She didn’t know who you were “Wingfield,” she said. “ We don’t have any such student at the school!” I assured her she did, that you have been going to classes since early January...I still said, “ There must be some type of mistake!”(Williams 20-40). Until she is shown solid evidence that Laura had not been in class since the first day. If Amanda hadn’t been escaping to her fantasy world of when she was Laura’s age, she most likely would have noticed that Laura wasn’t attending school like she was supposed to. Her life was simply not enough to satisfy her, so she successfully escaped it by dreaming of when she was a girl and all the men flocked to her.
In The story “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck, the main character Elisa Allen is an avid chrysanthemum gardener that is said to raise them bigger than anyone around her. When she is alone in her gardening tending to her plants, she is able to enter into this dream state that helps her escape from a life that she truly dreads. The way she escapes is through her planters hands which she begins to explain to the vagabond man, “Well, I can only tell you what it feels like. It's when you're picking off the buds you don't want. Everything goes right down into your fingertips. You watch your fingers work. They do it themselves. You can feel how it is. They pick and pick the buds. They never make a mistake. They're with the plant. Do you see? Your fingers and the plant. You can feel that, right up your arm.…