«The Glass Menagerie » by Tennessee Williams

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«The Glass Menagerie » by Tennessee Williams. The Writer Tennessee Williams (1911-1983). Born in Missouri. His father was a salesman; emotionally absent , often violent and never affectionate with his three children . - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

The WriterTennessee Williams (1911-1983)Born in Missouri. His father was a salesman; emotionally absent, often violent and never affectionate with his three children.His mother had an aggressive and dominating character. His sister Rose was mentally disturbed and his brother, Dakin, was repeatedly favored over older siblings.In 1947 he fell in love with Frank Merlo.In 1961 Merlos premature death threw Williams into a deep depression.His most famous work is The glass menagerie (1944)He died in February 1983

Historical BackgroundAlmost the end of the Second World WarDifficult period for Usa and EuropeWorld wide economic downturn

Memory playsTennessee Williams defined his plays as memory plays.They are divided into three parts: in the first one the character goes through a deep and intense experience, in the second, this experience causes an arrest of time the character is frozen and in the last part the protagonist must re-live his experience trying to make sense of it.

The glass menagerieMain charactersAmanda Wingfield (the mother) : her life is paranoia. Her foolishness makes her unwittingly cruel at times. She has endurance, a kind of heroism and sometimes there is tenderness in her person.Laura Wingfield (the daughter): she failed to establish contact with reality. So she continues to live in her illusions. Shes like a piece of her own glass collection, too fragile to move.Tom Wingfield (the son): is also the narrator of the play. Hes a poet, but he works in a warehouse.Jim OConnor (the gentleman caller): he works with Tom. Hes a nice, ordinary , young man.

The plotTom, after the departure of his father has been left to provide for his mother, Amanda and for his sister Laura. Amanda is obsessed about trying to find a husband for her daughter, who is extremely shy and introverted. Tom works hard during the day and goes out every evening because he wants to escape the oppressive atmosphere of the house. One evening, he brings home Jim, a friend of his, whom Laura met at school. After dinner Laura spends some time alone with him; the talk for a while, then Jim kisses Laura, regretting it at once. He tells her that hes already engaged and Laura is desperate. She gives him a glass unicorn (part of her glass collection) which was broken during the night. Amanda accuses Tom of fooling her and Laura. They argue dreadfully, so that Tom decides to live, never to return.

Writing StyleWilliams language is intense and powerful. He uses images and symbols, such as the glass animal figures. His scripts are full of stage directions.Protagonists are sometimes lonely dreamers.Tom is also the narrator Acting as a character and narrator allows us to enter into Toms mind and his inner world and thoughts.Important themesThe difficulty the characters have in facing, accepting and relating to reality they all live in a private world of dreams and illusions paralysisThe desire to escape. The desperate loneliness of the feminine characters torn between romantic dream and the reality dominated by men.Desperation and depression influenced by autobiographical events.

Symbolsglass menagerie - Lauras private world, and the breaking of it.

unicorn - Lauras singularity, her return to reality, and her return to her retreat back into her world.

gentleman caller - the real world as opposed to Amandas imagined one.