Tennessee Williams creates an atmosphere of depression, gloom, and at the same time, magic and love in The Glass Menagerie. The plot of the play in based on the three characters of a family: Amanda, Tom, and Laura. Jim is the supposed suitor who makes an entrance at the end of the play, yet leaves significant marks on the lives and events of all three family members. …
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For example, the glass menagerie, the urge of the protagonist to forget her sister, and the blowing out of the candles at the end of the play all employ a deeper layer of meaning. Williams employed the use of symbolism to introduce themes, characters, morals and values, and then to link them all together. Being a memory play, the glass menagerie allows not only for the director but also the reader of the play “to be presented with unusual freedom of convention” (Williams, ‘production notes, the Glass Menagerie’750). The nature and material of the play allow the employment of “unconventional techniques” like “expressionism” (Williams, ‘production notes, the Glass Menagerie’ 750). However, as Williams puts it, he does not allow for the plot to waver away from the truth, rather it is used only as a tool to bring the experience closer to “reality” (Williams, ‘production notes, the Glass Menagerie’ 750). Since the play is based in memory, the use of such techniques makes it more realistic rather than unreal. Williams considered symbolism an important technique in play writing. According to him, “Art is made out of symbols the way your body is made out of vital tissues” (cited in Barnard 1). Symbolism acts as a binding force in the play and links all the characters, themes and environments together. Symbolism is such a vital part of the glass menagerie that critics, and even Williams himself, have often referred to it as an allegory (Barnard 7). The Glass Menagerie is considered a personal account from Williams’s life. The play is autobiographical in nature, with the characters of the play symbolising the true family of Williams and his experiences. Even the objects in the play, like the glass menagerie, belong to the real life of Williams (Barnard 6). For example, in the opening scene of the play Tom indicates that he is, “The opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion” (Williams, ‘the Glass Menagerie’). He points out that this is not an unrealistic story; rather, beneath the layers are found real characters, experiences, and relations. It is believed that when Williams’s sister Rose was treated with a prefrontal lobotomy for schizophrenia, which debilitated her for life, the experience resulted in the writing of this play (Bard 6). Rose and her memories are unarguably central to, and an inspiration of, many of Williams’s plays and characters (Southeastern). Amanda is symbolic of her mother, and the character Tom symbolizes Williams in actuality, as Tom is Williams’s legal name (Barnard 2). Williams and Tom both lived in a St. Louis apartment, and Tom, at the end of the play, becomes a wanderer like Williams (Barnard 3). However, some critics believe that Williams is represented in the play not by Tom, but by the character of Laura (Bard 6). Due to his effeminacy during childhood, his father called Williams ‘Miss Nancy’ because he was like a little girl (Bard 6). According to Gross, Williams was very shy as a boy and did not like to socialize, causing him to be teased by his peers (cited in Bard 6). It can be assumed that Williams does identify himself with the character of
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The moving theme of the play is that of escape – the father from his family, the wife to past memories, the daughter to a fantasy world of glass animals, and Tom to the life of a merchant seaman. Many of these symbols are conveyed through Christian imagery, and appear to suggest that religion is just another means of escape.
Considering such, it is interesting to study the characterizations exposed in the play entitled “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams because the three main characters reflect common personalities. They are like a collection of glasses that are fragile but still have to be strong enough in order to survive the cruelties of life.
Summary of the Play: Set in St. Louis in the mid-1930s, 'Glass Menagerie' is described as a 'memory' play, that is, the writer has created the work from memories of his life; it truly replicates Williams' own experiences. There is no doubt as to its autobiographical nature, as the three main characters, Tom, Amanda and Laura Wingfield represent himself, his mother Edwina, and his sister Rose, and some of the events in their lives, using Tom Wingfield as narrator.
This intense drama ventures into familial relationships, societal situations, and the nature of memory. “The Glass Menagerie” opened in the mid-1940s in Chicago, and instantly became a mainstay in modern short fiction and continues to influence playwrights and authors of all genres.
Jim O'Connor, the gentleman caller, bears the same name as the young man who called on Rose Williams, before her descent into insanity. The action takes place in a small apartment in a poor district of the city, crowded outside and in, surrounded by many dark alleys and fire escapes.
“The Glass Menagerie” opened in the mid 1940s in Chicago, and instantly became a mainstay in modern short fiction and continues to influence playwrights and authors of all genres. It is through symbolism that Williams
ical machinations of the other characters indeed make the drama a “menagerie” of cruelty and dysfunction, Laura displays an almost unreal, pure compassion towards the other characters. It is a testament to Williams’s skill as a playwright that she does not appear
What Tom does when he cannot take the criticism anymore is classical escape (Williams, 1944). He leaves to smoke instead. This is designed to help Tom escape from outside phenomena that are irritating him.
The combination of both emotional and physical pain that Laura undergoes is evident in the specified extract of scene 7. Indeed, this point is indisputable because there are various ways in which sympathy is created. In my
Tom makes up the play’s narrator and protagonist. Willams’s play was setup in the backdrop of the great depression and shows how the Wingfield family grapples with its present, past, and future. The family appears
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