Premium Essay

Analysis of the Glass Menagerie

In: English and Literature

Submitted By sbutler12
Words 951
Pages 4
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams is a vision of lonely human beings who fail to make contact, are isolated from each other and society, and ultimately feel abandoned by the universe.
Tom, a writer who has left his mother and sister in order to pursue freedom and adventure, narrates a memory of his abandoned family. The memory is of St. Louis in 1937. Tom, his mother Amanda and his sister Laura are trying to make ends meet in a small tenement apartment. Tom’s father, a telephone repairman who fell in love with long distance, has long since abandoned them leaving nothing behind but his picture. Tom supports the family by working in a shoe warehouse. Since his responsibilities curtail his desire to be a writer, Tom escapes the mundane reality of life at the warehouse through literature, movies and dreams of joining the Merchant Marine. His sister Laura lives in a world of her own and spends all her time polishing her little glass animals and listening to old records. Amanda can’t understand Tom’s resentment or Laura’s lack of interest in her own future. After Amanda discovers that Laura has dropped out of Business College without telling her, she decides that she must find a husband for her daughter. When asked if she ever liked a boy Laura tells her mother she only ever liked one boy in high school, the popular boy who sang the lead in the school operetta and called her by the nickname Blue Roses. Amanda badgers Tom to bring home a nice man from the warehouse for Laura, bribing him by telling him he can be free of his responsibility to them as soon as there’s someone else to take care of his sister. Tom invites Jim O’Connor, his only friend at the warehouse, home for dinner. Amanda goes all out with preparations, buying a new lamp and a new dress for Laura. Laura has an acute attack of shyness and becomes ill when she discovers that the man coming for dinner…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Analysis of “the Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams

...Tennessee Williams’s play “The Glass Menagerie” tells about the disappointment that life has brought to the Wingfield family. The characters of this play are people whose dreams and life expectations have been shattered by the cruel reality. This disappointment breeds unrest and dissatisfaction in them, they feel trapped in their lives and are seeking for escape. In this extract there is a mix of registers. Moreover, the registers differ even within the speech of individual characters. While Laura and Amanda are speaking exclusively in formal style, Tom and Jim speak mostly informally; however the two men manage to change the register of their speech several times. Through different features of the characters’ speech, the author reveals their psychological state and intentions, for example, Laura’s feeling of embarrassment and Amanda’s pretence of being a real lady and her intention to give her daughter away to a rich and noble man. The idiolect and qualities of the characters are revealed with the help of phonetic, grammatical, and lexical stylistic devices. In order to achieve an effect of natural speech, the author has used a lot of dashes that represent the gaps and pauses in the speech. They bring out characters’ emotions, for example, Laura’s nervousness and anxiety: “How - how do you do?” We can feel also Jim’s confusion while speaking to Amanda: “[…] no – no – thank you – […]” These dashes also reveal one’s unwillingness to talk about certain issues, for example,...

Words: 585 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

The Glass Menagerie

...The Glass Menagerie By Tennessee Williams In Tennessee Williams “The Glass Menagerie” there is the age old conflict of mother and child. In their own ways, each of the Wingfields struggles against the hopelessness that threatens their lives. Tom’s fear of working in a dead-end job for decades drives him to work hard creating poetry, which he finds more fulfilling. Amanda’s disappointment at the fading of her glory motivates her attempts to make her daughter, Laura, more popular and social. Laura’s extreme fear of seeing Jim O’Connor reveals her underlying concern about her physical appearance and about her inability to integrate herself successfully into society. Of the three family members I the first three scenes I am most drawn to the physically and emotionally crippled Laura. Laura has a slight physical defect — a limp — but she has magnified this limp until it has affected her entire personality. She is presented as an extremely shy and sensitive person. Her shyness is emphasized even more by being contrasted with Amanda's forceful and almost brutal nature. Laura has an overly sensitive nature. She is so nervous that she cannot even attend business school without becoming violently sick. In scene II Laura tells Amanda “I threw up in the floor!” She is frightened and nervous when Tom and Amanda argue. She possesses a glass menagerie which she cares for with great tenderness. And she has withdrawn from the world — a withdrawal from what is real into what is......

Words: 443 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

The Glass Menagerie

...When the father leaves the entire family in The Glass Menagerie, it leaves Tom with an overwhelming feeling to do the same, feeling as if his father has found freedom. Throughout the story, it is evident that Tom feels the need to get away because he is constantly going to the movies to feel the adventure he has never experienced. When the reader is shown the true colors of where Tom’s heart really is, it brings a mild discomfort because it is noticeable how much the family really needs him and how devastating it would be to them if he ever left. His indifference towards his sister leaves his mother with a constant want for him to forget his father and dreams because she wants him to take care of them. Throughout the book, the reader gets a sense of disconnection from Tom. He does not seem to really be interested in what his sister is doing nor what his mom thinks. Him going to the movies is a constant reminder to him on what his father is doing and how much he wants to follow in his footsteps. Deep in his mind, he seems to cling to the notion that he might oneday be able to leave. Tom says to his mother, “Why, listen, if self is what I thought of, Mother, I’d be where he is—GONE!”(Referring to his father)(Williams 1772). This shows his desire to leave and do what he has always dreamed of which is have an adventure. The Mother seems to carry this arrogance about her as if she is still young and beautiful. She tells a story to Tom and Laura and the reader can tell they......

Words: 753 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

The Glass Menagerie

...Escaping from Reality: The Glass Menagerie In The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, it takes a close and detailed look at the dysfunctional Wingfield family trying to get through the day to day living from the eyes of the son, and only male figure present in the family, Tom. In The Glass Menagerie Tom tells his story as well as the rest of his families, and presents how each family member deals with issues on their own. However it appears that each family member has problems coping with their everyday troubles and all seem to resort to the route of escapism from the real world, and put their focus and attention into their own passions ranging from stories of past experiences, collections of many sorts, or self expression and work and in the process seem to lose their grip on what is actually happening in the world around them. In The Glass Menagerie, there are three main characters, Amanda the mother, Tom the son, and Laura the daughter and the youngest. Amanda was abandoned by her husband about 16 years prior, leaving Tom to step up as the male figure and head of the house. This forced Tom into a position of always having to work so he could provide for and consistently support his family. Tom holds a job at a warehouse that he absolutely despises, and is getting sick of with each and every passing day. Tom also hates how so much pressure is put on him from his mother to always be the support and only source of cash flow for the household. This eventually......

Words: 991 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

The Glass Menagerie

...In The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams creates a world full of delusion and fantasy in which the characters are able to ignore the present. Each character develops their own world, far away from reality where they escape to so often sometime it's as they don't realize it isn't real. May it be through the written word, beautiful lyrics and distracting figures, or looking in the past reliving happy times, these characters choose to create a world where they are each in control of their lives. Each family member in The Glass Menagerie lives in a fantasy world to escape the reality of their sad lives. The narrator, Tom, is a complex character. He finds his life to be restricting and boring. Tom feels, since his father left, a sense of responsibility for his mother and sister. Tom craves adventure and fun; he often has a warped sense of priorities. Every chance Tom gets while at work, he goes to the washroom and writes poetry. When Tom isn't working, and doesn't want to be at home, he again neglects his responsibility by going to the movies. This is seen when the lights go out and the Amanda finds that Tom hasn't paid the electric bill. “I go to the movies because - I like adventure. Adventure is something I don't have much of at work, so I go to the movies.” (1210) Though Tom seems bound to the petty world of supporting his family, his obsession with adventure leaves no time to concentrate on his responsibilities as the head of the household or at work. The matriarch of the...

Words: 617 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

The Glass Menagerie

...5 Point Essay In “The Glass Menagerie” Toms monologue in the start of the play talks about how he can apparently turn back time and talks about the the economy in the thirties and informing us on where the play will take place. “The play is memory. Being a memory play, it is dimly lighted, it is sentimental, it is not realistic”(1166). Knowing the lighting of the play really helps set the tone of the play. The mood that he sets at the start of the play is cheery, and sort of leaving us guessing what is going to happen. “I think the rest of the play will explain itself”(1166). He is hooking us to start reading. He then says he is the narrator of the play and also a character in the play along with a few others that are closely related to him. He sounded very sure of himself and what he would be doing throughout the play. He is rather informative about his position in the play and informing us of the characters that take place as well. At the end of the play Tom says “I didn’t go to the moon, I went much further--for time is the longest distance between two places”(1210). He then explains that he was fired from his job and leaves Saint Louis and travels around for a while. At the end of his monologue he runs into his sister after seeing all of the transparent glass in the windows of the shops along the street, reminding him of his sister. The mood that he sets for the audience at the end is a happy closure. Wrapping up his life story with seeing his sister and saying......

Words: 353 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

The Glass Menagerie

...The Glass Menagerie Appreciation of Theatre - 100 August 8, 2013 The characters of The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams are each driven by different motivators. Their given circumstances, personal problems and limitations lead us to see their inner conflicts and character flaws which ultimately inhibit their ability to achieve their super-objectives. Amanda Wingfield, a traditional, Southern woman is motivated to help her two, grown children become successful adults. Her daughter, Laura, wears a brace and is painfully shy and son, Tom, is currently the breadwinner of the house since her husband ran off years ago and abandoned them all. Amanda experiences inner conflict regarding her lost youth and also the prospect of how to help her children. She lives in a world of her own and does not face the reality or the truths around her, such as how her daughter’s disability and anxiety will affect all of their futures. She wants the best for her children, but refuses to take in account their flaws or her own, which prohibit her from achieving her super objective of living her vicarious youth through her daughter. Laura Wingfield, who is both emotionally and physically crippled, suffers from a total lack of self confidence and self-esteem. She is hardly motivated at all to succeed on her own accord and instead withdraws into herself. She fears most social interactions as she is more than extremely shy and even goes out of her way to lie to her......

Words: 440 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

The Glass Menagerie

...Book Report: The Glass Menagerie The Glass Menagerie is a play written in 1945 by Tennessee Williams. Tennessee Williams was a major American playwright and one of the greatest playwriters in the twentieth century. Tennessee Williams was born in Columbus, Mississippi, on March 26, 1911. The name "Tennessee" was a name given to him by college friends because of his southern accent and his father's background in Tennessee. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948 and for Cat On a Hot Tin Roof in 1955. In addition to those two plays, he also won award for The Glass Menagerie in 1945. The Glass Menagerie is a touching play about the dreams of a southern family and their struggle to escape reality. The play is set in an apartment in St. Louis in 1937. Tom Wingfield serves as the narrator as well as a character in the play. Tom is determined and hard working man who works in the Continental Shoemaker’s factory. Tom lives with his Southern mother, Amanda, who is proud and confident woman and his shy and crippled sister, Laura. Another character is Jim O’Conner who is a friend of tom from the factory who tom invites to dinner and Laura’s first gentleman caller. The main action of the play is about Amanda's search to find Laura a gentleman caller. The Glass Menagerie's plot is parallel to the actual events in the author's life. The central theme of the play is escape from reality and many symbols in the story support this theme. Tennessee......

Words: 723 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

The Glass Menagerie

...Play of Choice I chose to read The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams as my play of choice. I wanted to read another play by Williams because I was really impressed with Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. As in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, this story centers on a rather dysfunctional family, the Winfield’s. Amanda Wingfield is a single mother to her two children Tom and Laura. That concept is rather ahead of its time, as the play takes place in 1937. Tom is the narrator of the play which is referred to as a “memory” play, as it comes from his memory and perspective. I liked the fact that the play had a narrator. It gave more depth to his character and I feel that any time something is narrated you receive more information. It is also much easier to read a play that is narrated because less is left to your imagination. Our textbook had very good information on set design for this play. It included pictures from an actual production and also gave an artists’ rendering of the Broadway set design. The entire play is set in the tenement apartment of the Wingfields’ which was nice. Because the entire play was set there, it gave me plenty of time to imagine the details of the set. I began to form pictures in my mind of the apartment and the fire escape. I will call Laura Wingfield the main character of the play. It is her that the story seems to revolve around. The character of Laura is one that I believe any audience can have empathy for. She is a “cripple”, a term that her mother......

Words: 819 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

The Glass Menagerie

...Analysis and Plot Summary of “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams Before beginning this summary and analysis of “Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams, it is important to point out that this play is not happening in the narrator’s (Tom’s) present, but it is based on his memories. The setting of “The Glass Menagerie” is a cramped apartment in a lower-class part of St. Louis in the year 1937. The main character and narrator of “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams, Tom, is in a merchant sailor’s uniform and he details the setting even further, telling us that America’s lower classes are still recovering from the Great Depression. In the early stages of the plot of the Glass Menagerie, we also learn that his father left the family a long time ago, even though there is a picture of him that is plain sight throughout “The Glass Menagerie”. While Tom is speaking (as well as throughout the play) pay attention to the screen which presents certain words and images important to the text and try to imagine how this might be if you were sitting in the audience. In these first few scenes of “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams, we meet the mother, Amanda, who still seems caught up in her life as a former Southern belle. She chides both of her children about being odd (Laura wears a brace on her leg and is painfully shy while Tom writes poetry and disappears every night to go the movies and get away from the depressing house). Laura is a fragile figure and collects......

Words: 1245 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

The Glass Menagerie

...Running head: Reaction Paper Reaction Paper to “The Glass Menagerie” Jonathan Villela University of Phoenix Tennesee Williams "The Glass Menagerie" is a classic story of youth finding the responsibility they're given (or in this case left with) overwhelming and repressive. The main character of Tom perceives himself as trapped in his situation of working to support his mother and sister. As Williams once stated concerning Tom, "to escape from a trap he must react without pity". Tom is not selfish by nature but, dreams of a better life than his current conditions allow. In leaving his family to seek out some type of deeper meaning of existence, Tom finds a middle ground between selfish ignorance and completely justified self-preservation. A strong component of Tom's gradually protruding inner suffering is the classic anti-hero theorem of “Life would be better anywhere but here". Tom looks for something beyond the confines of his life with his mother and sister, but isn't exactly sure what it is that he's seeking. He feels trapped to his current situation but, what he realizes a little too late is that physical removal from his family is not escape from them. In his final monologue, Tom claims to "....run to the movies, buy a drink, and speak to the nearest stranger- anything that can blow your candles out". By breaking away from his family Tom found not the sense of freedom he may have been looking for, but another layer of guilt and possibly a little bit of......

Words: 830 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

The Glass Menagerie

...Literary Analysis: The Glass Menagerie Many critics believe that “The Glass Menagerie” is one of Tennessee Williams finest literary pieces, and that like most of his work, it was a reflection of his own life story. Born as Thomas Lanier Williams III on March 26, 1911, in Columbus, Mississippi, he lived with his loving but possessive mother and his older sister, Rose, who later suffered a mental breakdown. His father was a hard man who tended to drink too much and who was often away from home due to his job as a traveling salesman. Through most of his childhood, Mr. Williams felt like an outcast due to both his delicate health and the ridicule he received for his southern accent after his father accepted a job in St. Louis. This ongoing theme of lack of self-worth throughout his life was in large part due to his sexual orientation and lifestyle both of which were not easily tolerated in the early part of the last century. Although Mr. Williams self-doubt is evident in much of his work, the rest of the literary world and his readers feel without a doubt that his work is award winning. His impact on the literary world can be seen by the many awards he received including his winning not one but two Pulitzer Prizes for “A Streetcar Named Desire” in 1948 and for “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” in 1955; as well as the longevity of his work which is proven by its contemporary recognition. Therefore, due to his literary genius and personal life experience, Williams was able to use......

Words: 1978 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Glass Menagerie

...Hermione Petioma Professor Larriviere ENC 1102 T R 6:30- 7:45 am 4/23/15 Essay #3 The Glass Menagerie pg. 1134 #1 Freedom Spread your wings and fly. There may come a time in everyone’s life where they choose to change their life and never look back but they need to have some motivation. In the play The Glass Menagerie Tom is a man who wants to change his life. He is an adult living with his mother but she nags him. He feels stuck and wants to leave his home. When he’s fed up he chooses to leave his family spontaneously and he doesn’t look back. Although he left the memory of how Tom left remains with him. He was motivated by the chance to follow his dream when his life became annoying and frustrating. Tom lives with his mother and his older sister in an apartment. He works to support his family because his father left the family when he and his sister were children. Because his sister has a disability she doesn’t work and his mother is old. I believe that Tom was aggravated with having to care for his family. He is the youngest but immediately he is responsible for both his mom and sister once he is old enough to work. It doesn’t help the fact that his mother Amanda nags him to not be his father who was a drinker. Her nagging provides a reason for Tom to not want to stay home which he shows when he claims to be at the movies every night. Tom works at a warehouse because he is the only source of income for his family. He doesn’t like the warehouse job because he is...

Words: 560 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

The Glass Menagerie

...The Glass Menagerie Dr. C. Hemmye University of Phoenix In the play The Glass Menagerie, many characteristics were shown in different people. There were primarily four main characters in the play: Amanda, Laura, Tom, and Jim. Each character had their own original issue in the story, which makes the play so entirely complex. What makes the play interesting are putting those characters together and creating inside moral and conflict. As a result, everybody still appears to be an outcast in his or her own world. The title The Glass Menagerie was named because of Laura’s glass animal collection. She had many different animals that symbolized your everyday people that she came not to be a part of. One of the animals was a unicorn which was a symbol of Laura by representing the idea of being different. Laura was described to have a shy personality and would never attempt to make a change on her appearance to people. One of the main appearances she was embarrassed about was her crippled leg. Since she is already shy, this adds on to the fact that she can be very sensitive as well. Near the end, when Jim accidentally broke unicorn’s horn, she was hurt from seeing the broken glass and finding out that Jim was engaged after kissing her. To show Jim her pain, she gave him the unicorn showing that she is fragile like the glass unicorn (p.1282-1283). The most emphasis was on the kiss because it was assumed from the audience that it was Laura’s first kiss. Amanda...

Words: 1036 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

The Glass Menagerie: an Analysis

...The Glass Menagerie: An Analysis Tyson Evans University of Phoenix The Glass Menagerie offers a beautifully developed glimpse into humanity and more specifically familial dysfunction. Tennessee Williams uses this play as a definitive embodiment of the dangers of interdependence as well as low self- esteem. Williams begins this symbolic journey from the very inception of the work. The use of the word “menagerie” meaning a collection of wild animals kept in captivity for exhibition or a strange collection. In this case, the strange collection is the Wingfields. The play and the text presents us with an overbearing mother who clings to yesterday year, a daughter that is mentally bound by her psychological insecurities that stem from her physical disability, and an irresponsible brother who want to escape his this reality he has with his mother and sister. The word “Glass” represents their fragility, individually and as a unit. Frankly the family’s external problems seem fairly miniscule on the grander scale of the issues known to plague any familial unit. They are not rich, but not destitute, they have lost a parent, but they have each other. The play is set in the midst of the great depression following a war, therefore this family portrait was one that would have been mirrored in many American homes; financial turmoil and lost family members was commonplace. However, the psychological torment and idiosyncrasies characteristic of all three of our main characters holds...

Words: 930 - Pages: 4