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Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie Essay

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Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie


If The Glass Menagerie were performed without the effects Williams
wrote into the script, then the play would barely have a plot.
Williams' use of music, lighting and a television screen add depth and
meaning to the play. He uses effects to portray the feelings of the
characters, rather than their words or actions.

In Tom's opening speech he states that'The play is memory.' Because it
is about his memories of his mother and her memories. They both spend
the play living in the past.

Tom is obviously living in the past because the play is based around
'post-war Tom's' memories of his life prior to the war when he was
living with Amanda and Laura.

Amanda seems to be divided between her world as an abandoned mother of
two, and her youth back in Blue Mountain. When Amanda first appears in
the play, so does the legend on the television screen 'Ou sont les
neiges' and later, 'Ou sont les neiges d'antan?' which means 'where
are the snows' and 'where are the snows of yesteryear?' this
emphasises the idea that Amanda is longing for the past. She then
begins to tell her children- and judging by Tom's reaction, for the
hundredth time- of her youth and her many gentlemen callers and how
wonderful her life was.

The Glass Menagerie is a very static play, the audience do not leave
the two rooms of their apartment and the characters lives are so
uninteresting the highest point of the play is when a gentleman comes
to the house for dinner. The family have become so consumed by the
pressure and worries of the American depression, that their lives have
become monotonous and lacklustre. Their struggle for survival is so
apparent, that their dreams and life have been oppres...


... middle of paper ...


...s played to express Laura's silent fears but other
music is played in other scenes to express general feelings. For
example in scene five, dance music called 'The World Is Waiting for
the Sunrise', this is used to show society's general lack of
motivation not just the family's.

The last scene of the play is when Tom storms out of the apartment and
he is standing on the stairs telling the audience what he then went on
to do. In the background is Amanda comforting her daughter, and it is
not a side that the audience has witnessed of Amanda before. This
final moment is obviously a very important moment for Amanda and Laura
because they are bonding, yet Williams has this scene in silence. This
silence does not devalue this moment between the two at all, but makes
it more powerful, because acts speak louder than words, hence 'A play
is not just language...'.


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