The Glass Menagerie Summary, it is a memory play by Tennessee Williams that premiered in 1944 and catapulted Williams from obscurity to fame. The play has strong autobiographical elements, featuring characters based on its author, his histrionic mother, and his mentally fragile sister. In writing the play, Williams drew on an earlier short story, as well as a screenplay he had written under the title of The Gentleman Caller.
The play premiered in Chicago in 1944. After a shaky start, it was championed by Chicago critics Ashton Stevens and Claudia Cassidy, whose enthusiasm helped build audiences so the producers could move the play to Broadway where it won the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award in 1945. The Glass Menagerie was Williams' first successful play; he went on to become one of America's most highly regarded playwrights.
|The Glass Menagerie Plot Summary|
The Glass Menagerie Summary
In the Wingfield apartment in St. Louis, the mother, Amanda, lives with her crippled daughter and her working son, Tom. At dinner she tells her daughter, Laura, to stay nice and pretty for her gentlemen callers even though Laura has never had any callers and expects none. Amanda remembers the time that she had seventeen gentlemen callers all on one Sunday afternoon. Amanda then tells Laura to practice her shorthand and typing. A few days later Amanda comes home from Laura's school after finding out that Laura had dropped out several months earlier. Amanda is shocked and wonders what they will do with their lives since Laura refuses to try to help and spends all her time playing with her glass menagerie and her old phonograph records. Amanda decides that they must have a gentleman caller for Laura, and Laura tells her that she has liked only one boy in her whole life, a high school boy named Jim.
When Tom goes out to the movies that night, Amanda accuses him of doing something else rather than going to the movies every night. They have an argument, and the next morning after Tom apologizes, Amanda asks him to find some nice gentleman caller for Laura and to bring him home for dinner. A few days later, Tom tells Amanda that he has invited a young man named Jim O'Connor home for dinner. Amanda immediately begins to make rather elaborate plans for the gentleman caller.
On the next night, Amanda oversees Laura's dress and adds some "gay deceivers" to the dress to make Laura more attractive. When she mentions the name of the gentleman caller, Laura realizes that it is possibly the same Jim on whom she had a crush in high school. She tells her mother that she might not be able to come for dinner if it is the same one. Amanda will have nothing to do with such foolishness, and even though Laura is sick when the gentleman caller arrives, Amanda forces her to open the door. And it is the Jim that she knew from high school. At dinner she is physically sick and has to be excused.
Later, Amanda sends Jim, the gentleman caller, into the living room to keep Laura company while she and Tom do the dishes. As Jim and Laura talk, she loses some of her shyness and becomes rather charming. Jim is attracted by Laura's quiet charms, but later after having kissed her, he must explain that he is already engaged. When Amanda reappears, Jim explains to her also that he is engaged and must go. Amanda is so stunned that she accuses Tom of deliberately playing a trick on them. The play ends with Tom some years in the future thinking back on his sister Laura whom he can never forget.
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Questions about The Glass Menagerie Plot
What is the main point of The Glass Menagerie? Among the most prominent and urgent themes of The Glass Menagerie is the difficulty the characters have in accepting and relating to reality.
What does The Glass Menagerie teach? In reading Tennessee Williams' "memory play" The Glass Menagerie, students examine thematic topics such as individual freedom, obligation, reality and escape.
What is a short summary of The Glass Menagerie Scene 1? The Wingfield apartment faces an alley in a lower-middle-class St. Louis tenement. There is a fire escape with a landing and a screen on which words or images periodically appear. Tom Wingfield steps onstage dressed as a merchant sailor and speaks directly to the audience.
How does Glass Menagerie end? The play The Glass Menagerie ends with Tom leaving his family, never to return. This was Tom's wish from the beginning of the play, so it is a happy ending for him, though bittersweet because he does care for his mother and sister.
Why is The Glass Menagerie a tragedy? The Glass Menagerie is a modern tragedy because its characters are ordinary, middle-class citizens whose central conflicts are mundane, realistic problems. The Wingfield family of The Glass Menagerie all suffer from their unfulfilled dreams and feel burdened by each other's presence in their lives.
What is the theme of the family in The Glass Menagerie? In The Glass Menagerie, family means obligations. This play raises questions of duty and responsibility to your other family members, and for the most part in gender specific roles. We see that it is the job of the male to bring home money, and the daughter to look pretty and get married.
Who is the tragic hero in The Glass Menagerie? The tragic hero in “The Glass Menagerie” is Tom because as a result of examining his desires, he is prepared to abandon his family. Although he assumes paternal responsibilities in his home, his repetitive lifestyle forces him to venture out for freedom and adventure.
Who is the main character in The Glass Menagerie and why? Doubtlessly, the protagonist is Laura. She's the only one that, we, the audience, don't get annoyed with all the time or feel the need to judge on the basis of his/her awful moral decisions, and she has all these great protagonist qualities like being perceptive and kind and beautiful.
What happened to Laura at the end of The Glass Menagerie? And in a welcome departure from most Tennessee Williams plays, there's a happy ending: Laura—left alone at the end of The Glass Menagerie—runs off with the gentleman caller at the close of The Pretty Trap.
What is the setting of The Glass Menagerie? The Glass Menagerie takes place in the 1930s in a tenement apartment in St. Louis, Missouri. Tenement apartments were generally inhabited by the lower-middle class. A tenement apartment may consist of 2 to 5 rooms.
Who is the villain in Glass Menagerie? Amanda is only the antagonist if you think that Tom is the protagonist. Even then, she's more a pain in his side than that a villain. But we'll make the argument anyway. Amanda harasses and badgers Tom into being unhappy and restless.
What does the character of The Glass Menagerie symbolize? The title of the play, and the play's most prominent symbol, the glass menagerie represents Laura's fragility, otherworldliness, and tragic beauty. The collection embodies Laura's imaginative world, her haven from society.
Does Tom love Laura in glass menagerie? His speech at the close of the play demonstrates his strong feelings for Laura. But he cruelly deserts her and Amanda, and not once in the course of the play does he behave kindly or lovingly toward Laura—not even when he knocks down her glass menagerie.
What does Tom symbolize in The Glass Menagerie? In The Glass Menagerie, Tom symbolizes dreams; each character in the play has their own version of a "glass menagerie" to escape life. Tom's way of escaping reality involves going to the movies and making plans for his future.