The Glass Menagerie

The Glass Menagerie is an interesting story set in flashbacks of Tom, who is a poet and runs a small endeavor to support his family. The most interesting thing about the plot is the effect it gives, of melancholy, even in the times of happiness. Each member of the household is functioning within a larger landscape of melancholy, which goes on until the very end when Tom confesses his guilt about Laura and her life; “The window is filled with pieces of colored glass, tiny transparent bottles in delicate colors, like bits of a shattered rainbow. Then all at once my sister touches my shoulder. I turn around and look into her eyes. Oh, Laura, Laura, I tried to leave you behind me, but I am more faithful than I intended to be!”

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The character that is the most intriguing in the play has been Laura. As an introverted personality, Laura goes through tough times in her youth and adulthood, with especially hard coming of age journey. Even though she is both physically and emotionally struggling, Laura is one person or character in the play that is full of compassion. Because of her disabilities and emotional health, Laura is taken to be a source of projection for other characters where they try to project themselves on her. But she endures that, and still manages to shine through her own personality, and her own will. Laura’s personality is unique in its own way; she is inquisitive, compassionate, and strong. She shines through and is shown to be like a delicate glass similar to what her glass ornaments are; “little articles of [glass], they’re ornaments mostly! Most of them are little animals made out of glass, the tiniest little animals in the world. Mother calls them a glass menagerie! Here’s an example of one, if you’d like to see it! . . . Oh, be careful—if you breathe, it breaks! . . . You see how the light shines through him? (Shaland and Williams 121)

Tom’s character on the other hand appears to be problematic as for one; he is speaking out of memory. Often, it seems like his emotions seem to get better of him and his memory is over shadowed by his emotions. There is a duality in his character, which makes it peculiar in terms of trust and it can’t be sure if Tom can be trusted. One thing that makes Tom’s character particularly interesting is that it resonates deeply with William, who wrote the play, and so the character is almost autobiographical. Even though Tom is a poet and certainly a literature enthusiast, his behavior in his own house contradicts the values he teaches and stands for. It takes Jim’s validation to Laura’s quirks to make Tom realize his sister’s worth; otherwise his behavior with Amanda and Laura is persistently crude.

The interesting thing about the play is that it is partly about William’s life who grew up without a father. Hence it seems like the tragedy in the life of the characters, their personality, and their fate stems out from the absence of a father in their lives. While there is some ground to this, the fact that a father is important for good fate does not hold true. While Amanda’s ambitions and hopes could be rested on the fact that she constantly feels fulfilling the duties not meant for her, which she is not to be blamed for, her children belong to a different generation. Laura is inquisitive and wants to see the city. Tom brings his own journey and own fate with him. So even with a father, the destiny would not have changed, Perhaps Laura’s introvert personality would not turn into an emotional burden for her, but Laura also managed to keep that in place too.

The play is particularly interesting because of the themes embedded in it that show the type of society that existed in the time when author was writing it.


Works Cited

Shaland, Irene, and Tennessee Williams. “The Glass Menagerie”. Theatre Journal 42.1 (1990): 121. Web.