The Glass Menagerie Study Guide

The Glass Menagerie Study Guide

Original title:
The Glass Menagerie
Published June 17th 1999 by New Directions (first published 1945)
United States of America
St. Louis, Missouri(United States)
ISBN 0811214044 (ISBN13: 9780811214049)

“The Glass Menagerie” is a play that made Tennessee Williams famous immediately after its publication in 1944. The play made it to the Broadway and won numerous awards.

The plot is very simple. Imagine a simple American family, it is the 1930s outside, the Great Depression seems never-ending, people are getting used to it. An energetic woman is keeping the whole family together. The play is in parts autobiographical, it is a memory of the author that can be true or delusional in some parts.

A character called Tom narrates the story. His father left them many years ago. His mother Amanda is very expressive and open-minded, she can’t stand when her children are shy or unsure. Tom provides for the family and thus can’t leave the job he doesn't really like.

His young sister Amanda has a crush on his friend and they seem to bond. However, the boy is engaged to another girl and soon leaves their life. Tom gets blamed for introducing his friend to his sister and it causes a fight between him and his mom. Finally, the young boy leaves the house, but he can’t leave behind the feeling of his family surrounding him wherever he goes.

This very shorts text talks about a very concise period of time. But the characters don’t live in the time slot allocated to them. The mother is dreaming about good old times when she was young, beautiful and popular. Everybody is hoping for Tom to get a good job and earn lots of money for the family. The sister is expected to find a good match for her. All the characters are absent from today building their far distant future. The future that never arrived.

In the very end, each of the characters has their own strengths and weaknesses and they provoke each other to act on their fears. Life is never what we expect it to be, but it’s always good. It’s hard not to agree with this saying after reading “The Glass Menagerie”.

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