A Sense Of The Past Essay

A Sense Of The Past Essay

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How far do you agree that the characters and events in the play are shaped by a sense of the past and this is the basis of their tragedy?

Tennessee Williams intended the past to be one of the main themes of the play. The narrator of the play Tom is telling us a story from his memory. Williams intended to show the inescapability of the past by using many different techniques to convey this to the audience. The play is unrealistic because it comes from a characters memory. Memories are fromed from experiences from the past and can be manipulated and subjective. The unreality is achieved by the lighting in the play “in keeping with the atmosphere of memory” and the use of screen images and words, to highlight that the past can be recalled and to emphasise the emotions of this memory.


Williams has chosen to structure the play retrospectively, the narrator Tom, looking back on the past he tried to escape from. There is a tragedy to him beginning and ending the play on the fire ecape because it symbolises his entrapment in the past. The sighnficance of this is that he never really left, he cannot esacpe the memory of the past Williams is trying to show Tom confronting his past, This play is a form of penance for Tom, he is attempting to justify the actions that he took in the past by reliving the moments that caused him to leave. These events could echo Williams’ own experiences, as he and the main character shsre thr nsme Tom. Williams alos left his family un search of his artistic career, leaving his sister Rose whom had a mental condition. This play could be a form of Williams justifying his own lifes tragedy. Toms character seems to thibk that his abandonment if his family was ineveitable because his father left also
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... brace on her leg thaprvented her from socialising with other people “To me it sounded like- thunder!”, seemingly her high school years were miserable except for the boy she used to like. Williams shows that Laura still thinks about Jim even though many years have passed since high school, she says “I came across his picture a while ago” this picture was in the year book, which she would not have been looking in to fing comfort in good memories as her high school years were so humiliating, she may have been merely looking in the year book to find a picture of Jim to bring her comfort. He is the only Boy that Laura has shared anything with, and although it is just something small, his nickname for her being “blue roses”, to Laura this is a significant part of her life. Thid is why Williams portrays her as acting so shy and embarrassed when Jim calles for dinner.

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