The Glass Menagerie
By: Tennessee Williams
Tennessee Williams won two Pulitzer Prizes for A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on A Hot Tin Roof. Many others believe that The Glass Menagerie deserved one as well. The Glass Menagerie (”memory play”) won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle?s award as the best play of the season. Williams was born in Columbus, Mississippi, on March 26, 1911. His full name was Thomas Lanier Williams. He spent most of his youth in St. Louis, Missouri. During the Depression Williams worked as a factory hand. After attending the University of Missouri and Washington University he graduated from the University of Iowa in 1938. Writing under his nickname, Tennessee, he began his career auspiciously with a group theater award for four one act plays later published under the title American Blues.
The action in The Glass Menagerie takes place in the 30’s in St. Louis Missouri in an apartment facing an alley.
The set consisted of 3 bedrooms, one room for each person, (Tom, Laura, and Amanda) a kitchen, a dinning room, and a living room, each room would be filled with old antique furniture. The color of the furniture; dark colors like gray, brown, and even black. Curtains hung over the windows, and the lighting was very dim, and a picture of their father hanging on the wall.
Amanda Wingfield (the mother)
A little old woman confused vitality clinging frantically to another time and place. She is not paranoiac but her life was paranoia. She may be cruel at times but there is tenderness in her personality. She was kind and some kind of a hero.
Tom Wingfield (Amanda?s son)
He is the narrator of the play. He was a poet with a warehouse job. His nature is notremorseless, but to escape from a trap he has to act without pity. Tom is very rebellious, outspoken, and independent.
Jim O’Connor (the gentleman caller)
Laura Wingfield (Amanda?s daughter)
A childhood illness has left her crippled, one leg slightly shorter than the other, and held in a brace. She was like a piece of her own glass collection, too exquisitely fragile to move from the shelf. Laura is very shy, quiet, withdrawn, and lonely.
In Toms opening monologue he describes each character Amanda, Laura, himself, and Jim. There is a fifth character in the play who doesn’t appear except over the manel, who was they’re father, he was a telephone operator who fell in love with long distances, he left them and never came back. Amanda, Laura, and Tom were eating dinner, without any conversion, until Amanda started bugging Tom about how to eat. They got into this huge argument and Tom left to the movies.
Deception is the initial incident. Amanda has found out that Laura has dropped out of her Rubicans Business College. Amanda had no idea that Laura has been telling her every day for 6 months that she has been going to her business college. Instead had been going out walking in the park, to the museums, and to the zoo. Amanda as furiously talking to Laura and asks her why? Laura said that she didn’t want to go back. Amanda said to her “Well when girls aren’t cut out for working they end up marring.” Amanda asked Laura if she has ever liked a boy. “Yes, his name was Jim O’Connor. He used to call me blue roses! But he was going out with a girl named Emily Meisenbach, and it says in the personal section they’re engaged, that was six years ago, they must be married by now,” Laura told her mother.
Later, Tom and his mom are at each other’s throats. Amanda has been bothering Tom ever since she had confiscated his library books. Amanda doesn’t give Tom the space and the freedom he needs. She always has to make such a little thing into some huge thing. Tom had called his mother an old babbling witch.
Tom comes up the stairs drunk as can be, loudly looking for his key. Laura comes out hearing all the noise asking Tom where he has been all this time. Tom replied that he had been at the movies. Toms tell Laura about the magician, he told her about all the tricks he performed. He gave Laura the magicians’ magic scarf.
Tom’s apologies to his mother for everything he said because he felt guilty for saying such bad things. Amanda sends Laura to the store to get a few things so she can talk to Tom about getting Laura together with a gentlemen caller, from his work. Tom said that he would bring someone back because if he would say no his mom would get on his case, and nag him about it.
Tom comes home from his work and goes out to the fire escape to smoke. Amanda comes out asking him about the gentlemen caller and asking him if he is going to come or not. Tom found a gentlemen caller. He is coming the next day for dinner. Amanda starts talking about how it is too soon it doesn’t give her anytime to do anything.
Amanda is getting Laura ready for the gentlemen caller. Amanda tells Laura that his name is Jim O’Connor. Shocked, Laura doesn’t believe it. The doorbell rang, and Amanda told Laura to let them in but she refuses, but she does let them in. Laura excuses herself saying she was sick. Tom and Jim go out on the fire excape to smoke and talk. Jim told Tom that he is going to get fired. Tom says that he paid his dues to become a member of the Union of Merchant Seamen. He paid the dues instead of the light bill.
Dinner is served and Mr. O’Connor, Amanda, and Tom are eating dinner at the table, and Laura is lying on the sofa. After awhile dinner is nearly finished and the lights go out. Amanda told Jim to go and bring the wine and the candles to Laura, and Tom and her will do the dishes. Laura tells Jim that she has known him since High School. And she sat across the aisle from him in the Auditorium on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. She also told him that she went to the Pirates of Penanze a play in which he was in and she went all 3. She asked him to playbook her program since she didn?t get it signed in school. Jim says that he remembered now how he called her ” blue roses.” Then he asked her to dance. Then he kissed When tom finally left, he didn’t go the moon, he went somewhere much farther. He left Saint Louis. Tom tried to leave , You are the only one who can make yourself happy, and you cant physically remove your problems, but not emotionally.
The thing that I will remember most in the Glass Menagerie is the story line and the ending. I my school years and throughout my lifetimeI would for sure is one of the best plays I have seen, it is great! It gives a great moral.
The characters in the play that I can identify with are Amanda, Tom, and Tim, not Laura as much. I can identify with Amanda because I am very talkative, and at times I can be very aggravating. I can relate