The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

1915 Words8 Pages
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams Tennessee Williams play The Glass Menagerie relives the horrors of the Great Depression and the effects it had on many people's lives. The story is in many ways about the life of Tennessee Williams himself, as well as a play of fiction that he wrote. However, the story is based on Tennessee and his family's struggle to emotionally deal with the harsh realities that followed the crash of 1929 (807). He says in the beginning, "I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion" (695). The characters Tom, Laura, and Amanda are very much like Williams, his sister Rose, and his mother Edwina. The characters' lives seem to avoid reality more than facing it. Each character changed their difficult situations into shadows of truth. This gives us the image that not one of the characters is capable of living entirely in the present. Each character retreats into their separate worlds to escape the brutality of life. The playwright has done remarkable use of symbols, tensions, and irony. He uses all of these components to express the main theme of the play; the hopeful desire to change the present followed by unavoidable disappointments. All of the characters have dreams, which are destroyed by the harsh realities of the world. As the narrator admits in his opening of the play, "since I have a poet's weakness for symbols," is an expression of a particular theme, idea or character. One major symbol is the fire escape, which has a separate function for each character. This fire escape provides a means of escape for Tom to get away from his cramped apartment and nagging mother. Therefore, the fire escape, for Tom, represents a path to the outside world where dreams a... ... middle of paper ... ...onomic conditions were going to change would be to solve the economic problems, not escaping them by blaming everyone else. Bibliography: Bibliography Durham, Frank. Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie: Modern Critical Interpretations. New York: Chelsea, 1988. Falk, Signi Lenea. Tennessee Williams. New York: Twayne, 1961. Gantz, Arthur. "A Desperate Morality." In Harold Bloom, ed. Tennessee Williams Modern Critical Views. New York: Chelsea Publishers, 1987. Hirsch, Foster. A Portrait of the Artist: The Plays of Tennessee Williams. Port Washington: Kennikat Press, 1979. Joyce, James. "The Glass Menagerie." The Literature and the Writing Process. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999. Kett, Joseph F. The Enduring Vision. 3rd ed. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath and Company, 1993.
Open Document