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Free Glass Menagerie Essays: Criticism

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Criticism of The Glass Menagerie


The Glass Menagerie, written by Tennessee Williams, is a play that is full of various types of emotions. Not only are these emotions shown in the characters of the play but they also become instilled in the reader or observer. Such dramatic tragedy as The Glass Menagerie based mainly around the feelings of the character and how they affect themselves as well as those around them.

The Glass Menagerie a somewhat sad story about a family on the edge of falling apart. The father has already left what seems to be years before, and the mother is forced to rely on her son in order to provide for both her and her daughter. Just these few dynamics set up a sullen environment for any the rest of the play. Even in the very first scene the run-down tenement is described to us and a mood is created that combines dinginess, desperation, and depression.

Following the description of the tenement, Tom, Laura and Amanda are sitting at the dinner table and Amanda is consistently nagging Tom about everything from his table manners to his habit of smoking. Anyone who has ever been scolded like this knows how Tom feels, annoyed, and we feel sorry for what he is having to go through with his mother.

There is also a side of sympathy which we feel towards Amanda. She has led a difficult life and enjoys telling her children about her own childhood when she had many gentleman callers come to see her on Sundays. Although we are not entirely sure whether Amanda’s tales are true, there is a part of each of us that hopes they are, that hopes Amanda did at one point have a chance to lead that type of life. There is also a sense of warmth for Amanda because we know that her intentions are nothing but good, in fact they are quite admirable, all she wanted for Laura was for her to find romance in her life.

You cannot help but feel anything other than sympathy for Laura. She is crippled, but not only physically, mentally as well. Laura lives in a sort of dreamland, here she can hide from all of the problems of reality as well as be sheltered from having to worry about the future. She is a delicate character and we have a tendency to just want to reach and protect her from the harsh realities that lie just beyond her world of her glass menagerie.

The play The Glass Menagerie is full of events that provoke emotions and controversial issues which readers may take many sides on. Therefore, following in the style of the Reader-Response literary criticism, my reading of this play is just one way in which the play can be interpreted. Each reading will show different aspects of the text and relate to different readers in different ways. I am in no authority to say what the response to this play should be because there is no "correct" response, it is whatever the reader feels it is.

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