Posted in An Authors Thoughts

The Fragility of Being Human

It had been years since I’d seen Tennessee Williams’ play, The Glass Menagerie when I saw it was about to air on Turner Classic Movies. I think when I was younger, I didn’t have the patience to watch the play for its subtleties, nor understand its remarkable beauty. I didn’t care for the turned-in and frail nature of the character, Laura Wingfield. I found her brother, Tom, to be wilful, too impatient and rude to his mother, Amanda Wingfield, to like him. I’m an old-fashioned Southern gal, and I deplore rudeness to parents, so, I did understand the mother’s motivations, her understanding of how necessary it was for Laura to be taken care of. I also understand how much hope she had for her own life when she first married, and the constant day-to-day reminder that her life was to be something other than what she was experiencing. When she married her wayward husband, that hope was fresh and raw, filled with visions of love, children, and growing old together. Tom, unfortunately, was just like his father, ready to bolt because he itched to be “long distance”, always somewhere else. Time and age has brought it back to me to see it with wiser eyes. What I have learned in the ensuing years is that everyone is breakable, fragile, and the concern that the mother had for both her children is well-founded. Kirk Douglas as Jim, and Jane Wyman as LauraFor those of you who don’t know the story, Laura is a cripple who collects glass animals, and cleans them daily, living her life with the shiny objects as an escape from herself, her predicament, her disability. She can’t handle living in the world, in fact she feigns illness in order to hide from people and situations she can’t emotionally handle. Her glass menagerie is her entire world, the only world where she is comfortable. Tom, her brother, is her opposite. He longs to escape out into the world, detesting his home life so much he leaves every night to go to the movies, or so he claims, and returns drunk and crashes into his bed on the sofa.  The brittle and delicate nature of Laura’s cherished items is a microcosm of the family: each hardened into their ways, cold and indifferent to each other. Her favourite is a unicorn. The creature is at once unique, and yet one small fracture knocking the horn off makes him the same as the rest of the horses in her collection. So how unique is he, really? Television production of The Glass Menagerie starring Shirley Booth and Hal Holbrook.Perhaps we’re all unicorns, and to stand out with a difference is at once wonderful and painful. There isn’t a human alive who doesn’t want to be loved, to have friends, to be a part of a family and community. And to have a secure future. Even Laura dreams of love, hanging on to a silly nickname, “Blue Roses”, given to her by Jim, a young man in her High School class.  She had been at home ill, with Pleurosis. The well-meaning Jim christened her “Blue Roses” — which she has never forgotten– only to let her know that it wasn’t as devastating as she believed. And yet, he promptly forgot her, not even recognizing her years later when her brother Tom brings him to her home for dinner.Jim is the detached conscience of the play. He’s the levelling force to counteract Laura’s melancho

Source: The Fragility of Being Human



NOIRE MYSTERIES of Chéri Vausé - Chéri Vausé begins all her stories with just one dangerous word. She writes Noir. After teaching theology for more than 25 years, she retired to write full-time. Her genre? Everything from crime fiction to horror. She's even working on several SF stories. Cheri lives in Central Texas on a small ranch with her husband, two dogs, and four ducks.

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