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The Glass Menagerie Tennessee Williams

The glass menagerie

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The Glass Menagerie

The Glass MenagerieTennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams was named Thomas Lanier Williams III when he was born in Columbus, Mississippi on March 26,1911. The Glass Menagerie was the first successful play. And since this work of his was performed all over the world.

After college, he moved to New Orleans, a city that would inspire much of his writing. On March 31, 1945, his play,The Glass Menagerie, opened on Broadway and two years laterA Streetcar Named Desireearned Williams his first Pulitzer Prize. Many of Williams' plays have been adapted to film starring screen greats like Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor. Williams died in 1983.

Playwright Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams on March 26, 1911, in Columbus, Mississippi, the second of Cornelius and Edwina Williams' three children. Raised predominantly by his mother, Williams had a complicated relationship with his father, a demanding salesman who preferred work instead of parenting.

Williams described his childhood in Mississippi as pleasant and happy. But life changed for him when his family moved to St. Louis, Missouri. The carefree nature of his boyhood was stripped in his new urban home, and as a result Williams turned inward and started to write.

His parent's marriage certainly didn't help. Often strained, the Williams home could be a tense place to live. "It was just a wrong marriage," Williams later wrote. The family situation, however, did offer fuel for the playwright's art. His mother became the model for the foolish but strong Amanda Wingfield inThe Glass Menagerie, while his father represented the aggressive, driving Big Daddy inCat on a Hot Tin Roof.

In 1929, Williams enrolled at the University of Missouri to study journalism. But he was soon withdrawn from the school by his father, who became incensed when he learned that his son's girlfriend was also attending the university.

Deeply despondent, Williams retreated home, and at his father's urging took a job as a sales clerk with a shoe company. The future playwright hated the position, and again he turned to his writing, crafting poems and stories after work. Eventually, however, the depression took its toll and Williams suffered a nervous breakdown

Analysis

Title

As the title of the play informs us, the glass menagerie, or collection of animals, is the plays central symbol. Lauras collection of glass animal figurines represents a number of facets of her personality. Like the figurines, Laura is delicate, fanciful, and somehow old-fashioned.

Glass is transparent, but, when light is shined upon it correctly, it refracts an entire rainbow of colors. Similarly, Laura, though quiet and bland around strangers, is a source of strange, multifaceted delight to those who choose to look at her in the right light. The menagerie also represents the imaginative world to which Laura devotes herselfa world that is colorful and enticing but based on fragile illusions.

Characters

Amanda Wingfield- Laura and Toms mother. A proud, vivacious woman, Amanda clings fervently to memories of a vanished, genteel past. She is simultaneously admirable, charming, pitiable, and laughable.

Laura Wingfield- Amandas daughter and Toms older sister. Laura has a bad leg, on which she has to wear a brace, and walks with a limp. Twenty-three years old and painfully shy, she has largely withdrawn from the outside world and devotes herself to old records and her collection of glass figurines.

Tom Wingfield- Amandas son and Lauras younger brother. An aspiring poet, Tom works at a shoe warehouse to support the family. He is frustrated by the numbing routine of his job and escapes from it through movies, literature, and alcohol.

Amanda Wingfield- Laura and Toms mother. A proud, vivacious woman, Amanda clings fervently to memories of a vanished, genteel past. She is simultaneously admirable, charming, pitiable, and laughable.

Laura Wingfield- Amandas daughter and Toms older sister. Laura has a bad leg, on which she has to wear a brace, and walks with a limp. Twenty-three years old and painfully shy, she has largely withdrawn from the outside world and devotes herself to old records and her collection of glass figurines.

Tom Wingfield- Amandas son and Lauras younger brother. An aspiring poet, Tom works at a shoe warehouse to support the family. He is frustrated by the numbing routine of his job and escapes from it through movies, literature, and alcohol.

Jim OConnor- An old acquaintance of Tom and Laura. Jim was a popular athlete in high school and is now a shipping clerk at the shoe warehouse in which Tom works. He is unwaveringly devoted to goals of professional achievement and ideals of personal success.

Mr. Wingfield- Amandas husband and Laura and Toms father. Mr. Wingfield was a handsome man who worked for a telephone company. He abandoned his family years before the action of the play and never appears onstage. His picture, however, is prominently displayed in the Wingfields living room.

Theme

The Difficulty of Accepting Reality

Among the most prominent and urgent themes ofThe Glass Menagerieis the difficulty the characters have in accepting and relating to reality. Each member of the Wingfield family is unable to overcome this difficulty, and each, as a result, withdraws into a private world of illusion where he or she finds the comfort and meaning that the real world does not seem to offer.

Of the three Wingfields, reality has by far the weakest grasp on Laura. The private world in which she lives is populated by glass animalsobjects that, like Lauras inner life, are incredibly fanciful and dangerously delicate. Unlike his sister, Tom is capable of functioning in the real world, as we see in his holding down a job and talking to strangers. But, in the end, he has no more motivation than Laura does to pursue professional success, romantic relationships, or even ordinary friendships, and he prefers to retreat into the fantasies provided by literature and movies and the stupor provided by drunkenness.

Even Jim, who represents the world of reality, is banking his future on public speaking and the television and radio industriesall of which are means for the creation of illusions and the persuasion of others that these illusions are true.The Glass Menagerieidentifies the conquest of reality by illusion as a huge and growing aspect of the human condition in its time.

Resources:http://www.enotes.com/homework-help/what-biographical-approach-literature-what-its-337997

http://www.editorskylar.com/litcrit.html

https://quizlet.com/64951310/literary-theories-advantages-and-disadvantages-flash-cards/

http://www2.anglistik.uni-freiburg.de/intranet/englishbasics/Theory02.htm

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http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/menagerie/summary.htmlhttps://www.google.com.ph/search?q=parchment+paper&espv=2&biw=1280&bih=667&site=webhp&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAWoVChMIzf3L5_qtxwIVSRSUCh3tlAwR#tbm=isch&q=william+tennessee&imgrc=XOfZOBQS4dRxGM%3A

http://www.biography.com/people/tennessee-williams-9532952#early-years