The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams Essay

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams Essay

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Tennessee Williams lived a tragic life, similar to the type of plays he wrote. Williams was born March 26, 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi and given the name Thomas Lanier Williams, III. It wasn’t until he entered college at University of Missouri-Columbia did the journalism student obtain the name Tennessee. His college buddies gave him the name because of his southern accent. Williams portrayed the southern lifestyle in many of his plays. He lived in a dysfunctional family. Williams and his mentally ill sister were raised for the most part by their mother because his father spent so much time on the road as a traveling salesman. The rare times his father was home he was verbally abusive to Tennessee and was even accused of sexually molesting his daughter, Rose. Williams drew on that experience while writing his first big play, The Glass Menagerie. Each character in the play appears to parallel his own family. Amanda is viewed as a portrayal of William’s own mother. Laura has remarkable similarities to Rose’s inferiorities. Rose suffered from a mental illness that led to isolation from reality in a mental institution. Tom is believed to be a self portrayal of Tennessee Williams. The plays Williams wrote are complex in which the characters, “struggle with feelings of isolation.” Williams wrote in his production notes for The Glass Menagerie, “unconventional techniques in drama have only one valid aim, and that is a closer approach to the truth.” The truth in Williams’ life served as the content of many award winning plays, including two which won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. Williams died at the age of 71 in 1983.
In The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams portrays the life of the Wingfield family in St. Louis during the...


... middle of paper ...


...he reader can be frustrated or angry with Laura for her unwillingness to change her ways. Once Williams begins to reveal the faults of the other characters in The Glass Menagerie, it’s easier to understand Laura’s values. She, like Tom and Amanda, wants to escape reality. The difference is how it’s accomplished. Tom sets out for world adventures, Amanda constantly recalls her past and Laura draws within herself.



















Works Cited

Hopwood, Jon. "Tennessee Williams." Biography n.pag.IMDb. Web. 9 Feb 2014. .
“Tennessee Lanier Williams.” 2014. The Biography Channel website. 10 Feb 2014, 12:10 www.biography.com/people/tennessee-williams-9532952?page=1.
Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie. Literature: Craft and Voice. 2nd ed. Ed. Nicholas Delbanco and Alan Cheuse. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. 1395-1434. Print.


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