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Glass Menagerie


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A: Tennessee Williams Pf: 1944, Chicago Pb: 1945; rev. 1970 G: Drama in 2 acts S: Tenement apartment, St Louis, 1944 and 1930s C: 2m, 2fThe action is presented as a reminiscence of his home life some 10 years previously by Tom Wingfield, now a merchant seaman in the Second World War. His mother Amanda, whose husband deserted her years ago, keeps house for Tom and his gawky and crippled 24-year-old sister Laura. Amanda, who dreams of an imagined past when she was wooed by a rich plantation owner, is furious when she discovers that Laura has dropped out of secretarial school. Instead of trying to find a husband, Laura spends much of her free time tending her menagerie of glass animals. After a row with his domineering mother, in which some glass animals get broken, Tom agrees to see whether in the warehouse where he works he cannot find a suitable boy to bring home for Laura. Amanda dresses in girlish fashion to receive the ‘gentleman caller’ Jim O'Connor. Laura is horrified to discover that he is the high-school boy on whom she once had a crush, but they share a certain intimacy and even dance together and kiss, causing a glass unicorn's horn to get broken off. When Jim tells Laura that he is already engaged, her hopes are dashed. Unable to bear any more pressure from life at home, Tom goes to sea, but cannot forget his unfortunate sister.

A: Tennessee Williams Pf: 1944, Chicago Pb: 1945; rev. 1970 G: Drama in 2 acts S: Tenement apartment, St Louis, 1944 and 1930s C: 2m, 2f

This was the first successful play by Williams, even though his first had been staged in 1930. It is a bitter-sweet recollection of his own youth and, while the scenes of dialogue are to be acted naturalistically, Williams makes use of narrator's commentary, mimed action, cutaway sets, atmospheric music, lighting, and the symbolism of the fragile glass animals, reflecting the theme of illusion and reality in the dreams and aspirations of the family.

Subjects: Literature.


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Authors

Tennessee Williams (1911—1983) American dramatist


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