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The Central Theme of The Glass Megagerie by Tennessee Williams - Assignment Example

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An author of this assignment aims to critically discuss Tennessee Williams’ play “The Glass Menagerie”. The assignment "The Central Theme of The Glass Megagerie by Tennessee Williams" briefly summarizes the narration and discusses the symbolism of the main characters and depicted events…
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The Central Theme of The Glass Megagerie by Tennessee Williams
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Download file to see previous pages A great deal of the play centers on Laura, though. She is extremely shy, partly because of her crippling disease (pleurodesis) which forces her to wear a brace on her leg and walk with a limp, and spends much of her time dreaming about her glass menagerie. Because of Laura’s fragility, Amanda attempts to force Tom to find a suitable husband for his sister regardless of any limitations Tom might have in trying to accomplish this. Despite his best efforts, though, the man Tom brings home is already engaged, leaving Laura with a broken heart at the end of the play, driving Tom to run away and leaving the mother a figure of “dignity and tragic beauty” (VII, 236). One of the concepts that emerge from this story is the idea that the memories of our youth shape our illusions of the present which in turn serve to protect us from the realities of today.
That the play is a memory play is explicitly stated in Tom’s first words, also the first words of the play: “The play is a memory” (I, 145). To bring forward that effect, Williams continues to allow Tom to separate himself out from the action from time to time to narrate and point to specific ideas or events, catch the audience up on what has happened in the interim between two scenes or make other comments. In describing how the concept of memory is achieved, Richard Vowles (1958) describes its dreamlike qualities, “One scene dissolves into another. There is, indeed, almost a submarine quality about the play, the kind of poetic slow motion that becomes ballet and breathless repression of feeling that belongs to everyone but Amanda” (54). By keeping the concept that almost the entire play is a memory belonging to Tom in clear focus through this otherworldly light, Williams is able to illustrate how memory has served to shape Tom’s life, never permitting him the escape he sought through the merchant marine.   ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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