The Glass Menagerie
Gender Affecting Conformity of the Individual in Sula and The Glass Menagerie
Toni Morrison’s second novel, Sula (1973), is set in a tense climate of racial segregation and complex community relationships from the years 1919 to 1965, and explores conformity of the individual and how it can differ depending on gender in particular, especially when Sula Peace, a woman who acts the near opposite of her peers, states how “[she] knows what every colored woman in this country is doing (p.143)”. The Glass Menagerie (1944), Tennessee Williams’s memory play set in post-war America similarly explores a struggling family community and highlights to which degree each character conforms to their individual expected societal role, and also explores their complicity in doing so. While there are exceptions in the form of the idiosyncrasies of Morrison’s Sula Peace and forgotten aspirations of Williams’s Jim O’Connor, a general pattern on gender affecting conformity of the individual can be seen to emerge in both texts, that being that female characters generally conform more and if they do not, face a much more hostile reaction from the wider community.
However, The Glass Menagerie is a drama and the reasons that certain male character’s appear to conform less are made clearer through Tom Wingfield’s narration; the female character’s inner psychology is left to Williams’s use of ‘plastic theatre’ techniques, such as the exaggerated music at key moments and obvious lighting tactics. Conversely, Morrison is more ambiguous through her use of prose medium, the narrative point of view being overwhelmingly female, which hence provides little insight into the male character’s psyche. Arguably, this may be due to the limitations Morrison felt as a woman writing from a male viewpoint. Moreover, while Williams uses a single, microcosmic stage setting limited to five characters, Morrison is more adventurous in her depiction of society in Sula, presenting a range of individuals, all varying in conformity.
Mother’s Sacrifice and Absent Father
The first comparative point between both texts is the presentation of a mother’s sacrifice due to an absent father. Morrison displays Eva Peace’s need to conform for the sake of her children in the chapter ‘1921′ despite the opposite applying to her husband Boy Boy; this establishes the idea that conformity is gender-dependent. Strengthening this, Barbara Christian (1985) asserts the notion that male characters in Sula have little necessity to conform when in a difficult economic situation, as she identifies that the female characters in Sula “must…fit themselves into the place life has set for them”.
Morrison illustrates how this has been made impossible for certain female characters partly through the thoughtless hedonism of men; this is evidenced by the partial narrative of Eva Peace, who is abandoned by her husband “after five years of a sad and disgruntled marriage (p.32)”. Morrison, through the pensive voice of her matriarch Eva, proceeds to detail how “he did whatever he could he liked (p.32)”, implying his ability to continue living a life of Epicureanism that was devoid of any consequences. Subsequently, the character of Eva is removed of any material stability due to her abandonment, and has to continue to conform to the more idealistic role of motherhood that would have been intensified by expectations of women in the early 20th century, because her “children [needed] her; she [needed] money, and…to get on with her life (p.32)”.
The structure of this quotation furthers this; the children emerge as her priority as they are placed first in the sentence, suggesting her need to conform simply to ensure her children’s survival, as well as her own, which is perhaps of a lower importance as this is emphasised later in the quotation. Morrison’s presentation of a financially struggling mother and mostly absent father can be attributed to the contextual frame of poverty and social fragmentation arising from racism. As a result of the Great Migration of African-Americans that occurred between 1916 and 1970, this attempt to escape racial discrimination in the south consolidates Morrison’s presentation of the extreme poverty that droves “disgruntled” fathers away from their families and responsibilities. The nature of such a society tightened a mother’s duty to her children, stifling and forcing her to struggle to a much greater extent than her male counterpart. This contextual point may be heightened due to Morrison’s own life and experience as a single mother, highlighting the limited use of a male character’s viewpoint and experience, evidenced by Morrison through her choice of mostly female narrative perspectives when describing particularly harrowing plot events. An example of which can be seen in the same chapter where Eva is forced to use the remainder of her food, a further allusion to her poverty, to relieve her son Plum’s constipation.
Shoving “the last bit of food she had up his ass” in the “freezing stench (p.34)” is a highly crude and emotive description of events, reflective of the general experience of single mothers in the context of when Sula was set. Comparisons can be made between William’s portrayals of freedom granted to men by society in The Glass Menagerie, through the absence of the Wingfield’s father figure who chose to abandon his family, similar to Morrison’s presentation of Boy Boy. However, unlike Morrison, Williams suggests the use of dramatic prop devices in his stage directions rather than graphic narration, partly through the ever-present portrait of him in the Wingfield apartment to sustain the existence of this character and the nature of his abandonment, as “a blown-up photograph of the father hangs on the wall of the living room… smiling, as if to say ‘I will be smiling forever.'(p.4) Through this stage direction, Williams appears to suggest the father shows no guilt towards his abandonment, akin to Morrison’s presentation of Boy Boy, using his jovial and unbothered appearance as a vehicle to do so, “ineluctably smiling”.
This idea is sustained by Williams when Tom Wingfield details the last known contact with his father as a “postcard from Mazatlan…containing a message of two words: ‘Hello – Goodbye!’ and no address (p.5)”. Just as Boy Boy does with the Peace household, the father appears to fulfil his own desires at the cost of his families financial stability and intensifies his wife’s need to conform to an idealistic maternal role at the cost of her own freedom. Amanda Wingfield has to relentlessly belittle her son about his menial factory job, following frequent power cuts in their apartment, and as this is the sole setting of the play, Williams is able to emphasise the inescapable situation their father has left them in. Babcock (1999) encapsulates this perception by exploring Williams’s own comments concerning the “adjustment and conformity produced by organized society”. This Marxist approach can be applied to the circumstances in which Williams shows the father to abandon his family.
By “[giving] up his job with the telephone company” and leaving his family, Williams’s belief that the standardization of production forced men into a repressive corporate structure suggested by The Last of My Solid Gold Watches1 becomes both relevant and applicable. In addition to this, according to Babcock (1999), the decades following the war bred an “instinctive radical” and “revolutionary” climate in America, drawing men away from conforming to the archetypal role of a provider, which is again evidenced by Williams in the form of the portrait of the father, depicted in military dress. The difference in contexts of the production of the texts is therefore a valid comparison; Morrison differs from Williams in this sense, as she never reveals an explicit reason for Boy Boy’s disgruntlement. Williams differs from her in this respect and utilises the neo-Marxist Frankfurt School of thought provided here by Babcock (1999), and the post-World War One context of the play to suggest a general male disengagement from previously instilled societal roles regarding the family.
Morrison, conversely, could be viewed as sophisticated in her choice write the novel in 1973, setting it much earlier in the century to convey her historical advantage and offer a more evaluative perspective of the representation of social conformity. After evaluating this specific component of the overall comparison of both texts, when discussing the fulfilment of a father’s own desires at the cost of his families’ liberty, the aforementioned links between the texts are seen to outweigh their differences, confirming gender has a significant effect of social conformity.
The Comparison of Two Characters
This essay thus far has focused on the presentation of greater female conformity and has partly been sustained by the historically ingrained societal attitudes that dictate it is a mother’s duty to sacrifice her liberty for her children, whereas an absent father will only receive the scorn of a few. However, Williams’s characterisation of Jim O’Connor shows that male social conformity is also relevant and could have been fuelled by the influence of capitalist values America, and also possibly homosexual repression, both intensifying in the 1940s and 1950s.
In the stage directions, he is simply described as a ‘a nice, ordinary, young man”, painting him from the offset as a conventional male character and simultaneously as Tom’s dramatic foil. Using impassioned dialogue as a vehicle to do so, Williams paints Tom as deeply dissatisfied with his life, unlike Jim; in anger at his menial factory job, he shouts “for sixty-five dollars a month I give up all that I dream of doing and being ever!”(p.23), articulating a similar sense of sacrifice Morrison crafts in Eva Peace. Williams’s choice of the use of props, noises and stage directions to convey a blatant parallel with the characters states of mind on stage is evidenced by the on-screen image of Jim as “The high school hero” followed by Tom’s comment that “[Jim’s] speed had definitely slowed…” (p.45)”. Williams may have done so to show Jim’s eventual sacrifice of the significant qualities he possessed in his youth as a result of conforming to fit into the role of a stable provider in a profit-driven career. Jim and Tom’s respective portrayals reinforce the idea of male conformity in the pursuit of professional success; both have the same job. However Tom seeks more creativity in his life and disregards financial gains, rejecting the expectation placed on him to be responsible in providing.
As Williams explained to his literary agent, Audrey Wood: ‘I have only one major theme for my work, which is the destructive impact of society on the non-conformist individual’ (1939). After the discussion of his portrayal of both men, Williams’s notion here can be confirmed as he presents Tom’s aguish at his unfulfilling life in Scene Three where he refers to himself as a “slave”, whilst Jim, a content conformist is presented clearly as fulfilled despite of his “slowed down” life. As a result, this point acts in challenging the argument that social conformity is overwhelmingly fuelled by sexism, with women bearing the worst of this. Williams’s own life and the effects of it on his plays may be brought into discussion here. Although writing as a man in the mid-20th century, he was homosexual and thus would have likely been derogatively referred to as possessing feminine qualities. Therefore his presentation of the social claustrophobia of Tom, the blind conformity of men like Jim, but also the anguish of Amanda, and Laura’s repression of self may possibly be interpreted as a fragmented representation of Williams’s experience living in a time when attitudes towards homosexuality were hostile. In this respect, the extent of the effect of gender on conformity is decreased.
Morrison employs a similar device through the characterisation Nel Wright and Sula Peace, and their friendship; like Williams’s presentation of Jim and Tom, Morrison crafts the characters as each other’s foil. Both characters are African-American females living in the same community, but Nel chooses a life of piety, conventionality and conformity, Sula choosing the opposite. Dorothy H. Lee (1983) attempts to explain this by suggesting that like Nel’s mother, Helene Wright, who “barricades herself against racial humiliation…behind suppression of emotion”, by living a life removed of any scandal or controversy is trying to avoid such “racial humiliation”. Although both writers are similar in their use of literary foils, Morrison uses allusions to African-American supernatural folklore, to show that although both genders have the capability to not conform, women have a lot more to sacrifice by doing so. Such allusions are seen in the chapter ‘1941′ where Morrison writes “because Sula was dead…a brighter day was dawning.
There were signs (p.151)”. Such language is rich with connotations of the supernatural, as by placing a consequence of action – the verb “dawning” – after the establishment of a death, Morrison is implying Sula can still affect reality even when her own reality has ceased to exist. This narrative comment, shows how Sula’s unconventional life aroused such vehement aversion towards her, far more than Williams’s portrayal of Tom Wingfield and his father, that she is likened to a witch-like figure who needed to be purged from her community. This is a literary feature not seen in Williams’s play; perhaps he had less creative manoeuvre to do within a shorter drama piece, and more significantly, writing as a white man, possibly wouldn’t have as strong affiliations with such cultural folklore, unlike Morrison in her piece of black-feministic prose.
Messing (2014) highlights this by reminding readers of the importance of community over individual gains in African culture; Sula is ostracised due to her selfish and nonconforming behaviour. This perhaps was intensified by contextual factors, as the racial persecution residents of the Bottom experienced meant they would have had a shared sense of unity and identity. The difference in reaction to female non-conformists in comparison to male non-conformists is encapsulated by Morrison through Nel’s chastising of Sula, saying “You’re not a man. You can’t be walking around all dependent-like, doing whatever you like (p.142)”. The imperatives “you can’t” and “you’re not” used by Morrison reinforce Nel’s concrete certainty, and by saying “dependent-like” instead of “independent” implies Nel is uncomfortable even with the concept of female independence due to such heavily ingrained ideas of conformity.
Williams shows none of the deterioration or estrangement or that Sula experiences towards Tom and the general suspicion directed at him only stems from his mother, to a far lesser extent. Williams makes the severity of the consequences Tom faces less significant than Morrison by his comparatively confined setting of the text; the play never ventures from the apartment, with a much more limited range of characters. Williams aptly uses a description of the setting to establish the claustrophobic effect it has on Tom; it is “symptomatic of the… fundamentally enslaved section of American society to avoid fluidity and differentiation” (p.3).
Conversely, by not only spanning the geographical range of her text (the larger Bottom community and Helene Wright’s journey to other American states in the chapter 1920), the time frame that ranges from 1919 to 1965, and the much vaster number of characters, Morrison can display the effects of Sula’s non-conformity in a far more multifaceted, and therefore damning way, as Morrison depicts a wider society, in a geographical and historical sense. In both texts, the characters of Jim O’Connor and Sula Peace together represent exceptions to the previously instilled belief that women are usually forced to conform in a higher instance to men, as they have a lot more to lose from deferring from social norms. However, the society crafted in Morrison’s novel still sustains the original argument effectively, as they react overwhelmingly more vehemently towards Sula, the female character, perhaps emphasised by what Moya Bailey (2010) coined as ‘misogynoir’, describing the intersection of anti-blackness and sexism experienced by black women.
In response to the above arguments, it is clear the representation of social conformity deals with a psychological phenomenon that has deeply complex roots; there is no single factor to blame, as through the study of just these two literary texts, issues of gender, race, class and sexuality are all brought to discussion. However, some are revealed to a greater extent than others, namely gender, and this is also the factor most convincingly conveyed by both Morrison and Williams. When suggesting the more convincing of the two in portraying gender-driven conformity, one cannot ignore Morrison’s explicit declaration of such inequality that has been previously discussed, Nel Wright’s assured statement that “You’re not a man. You can’t be walking around all dependent-like, doing whatever you like (p.142)”. This quotation alone arguably embodies the point made that women face an overwhelmingly more hostile societal reaction when they do not conform, in comparison to men.
When evaluating Williams’s contributions to this discussion, his aforementioned portrayals of gender driven conformity lack the passionate, at times graphic, portrayal offered by Morrison; it is harder for an audience to understand his character’s interactions with conformity as they are set in, and also written within a slightly more accommodating context. Williams himself may have been projecting his frustrations at homophobia and his characters may have struggled with financial inhibitions, but neither could draw upon the brutal forms of racism and misogyny both Morrison and her characters share to an extent. Returning back to the argument initially offered, exploring the extent to which gender plays a role in the representation of social conformity, it can be understood from this argument that both authors portray the effects of race and class significantly. However, ultimately gender emerges as exercising the greatest influence due to institutionalised societal roles dealt to men and women, forcing most into lives of mindless conformity and condemning those who dare not to into a life of ostracism and resentment.
Tennessee Williams’ Classic and Memory-Laden The Glass Menagerie
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams is base on the struggle of two young adults who lived with their trying but loveable mother, Tom and Laura. Tom and Laura were different in many ways but their mother Amanda did not allow their differences to stop her from longing for the best for them, “I’ll tell you what I wished for on the moon. Success and happiness for my precious children! I wish for that whenever there’s a moon, and when there isn’t a moon, I wish for it, too”. The Glass Menagerie has held status because many of the issues presented in the play are still among us today. In the Bahamas and worldwide, there are still single parents, gender role, and escapism. In the play The Glass Menagerie, Amanda is a single mother because Mr. Wingfield left her along with their two children Tom and Laura. Amanda is forced to raise her children on her own, which is not an easy task. The Bahamian society can relate to this in a major way. According to Tribune, “more than 65% of live births are to ‘single’ parents, meaning females. In 85% of the households in New Providence and Grand Bahamas are headed by ‘single’ females with multiple children and the putative fathers are nowhere in sight”. This has shown that children have to depend on their mother for everything since the father is not around or in their lives. There are not many differences between the Bahamian Society and The Glass Menagerie. In the Bahamas single female parents outnumbers single male parents. There are single female parents everywhere who has the same mindset as Amanda. Like Amanda, they all want what is best for their daughter(s) and son(s). They want their daughter to find someone who is not like their father and they want their daughter to be just as popular as they were in the earlier days or want their son to be better than their father.
Overall, they just want their children to be successful and not follow their father’s example, especially if the father left on a bad note. However, when it comes to the male child, single female parents seem to have a hard time raising them in the right way. In The Glass Menagerie, Tom and Amanda had a hard time getting along and Amanda struggled with Tom when it came to doing things her way. It came to a point in the play when Amanda got angry with Tom; she shouted, “What is the matter with you, you big-big- idiot!”; this argument was intense and continued back and forth between them. Today, parents and their child argue with each other and it is not healthy for their relationship. Like any household, the man is always the head of the family. In the Bahamian society, this tradition is still ongoing. The men are responsible for providing for the family and supporting the family financially. In The Glass Menagerie, Tom was the man of the house especially because Mr. Wingfield left them. Tom had a job at a warehouse that brought in money to keep the family living comfortably. However, Tom wanted to let all of that go but Amanda did not allow that to happen. She said to Tom “What right have you got to jeopardize your job? Jeopardize the security of us all? How do you think we’d manage if you were”. Amanda depended on Tom and if she loosed him, she will have nothing, “I’ve had to put up solitary battle all these years. But you’re my right-hand bower! Don’t fall, don’t fail”. Tom had a hard time living for himself and doing what he really wanted because Amanda made sure he did everything as the man of the house. This includes paying bills, “That light bill I gave you several days ago.The one I told you we got the notices about?”. Tom also had the responsibility to find his sister Laura a man, “Find one that’s clean-living doesn’t drink and ask him out for sister!”; his was Tom’s job as long as he was around. This was also a way for Amanda to prevent Tom from doing what he really wanted to do in life, “As soon as Laura has got somebody to take care of her, married, a home of her own, independent – why, then you’ll be fine to go wherever you please”. In today’s society, fathers are missing from the family so; the mother tries her best to raise the son in a way to help within the household. The role of the son/male is a tradition in families today and they usually get a job at an earlier age than the daughter/female. A mentality that men are in charge of the household will never change, especially when the father is absent.
In society, we all turn to activities or entertainments in order to forget about real life problems. This behavior is referred to escapism. In The Glass Menagerie, Amanda, Laura and Tom found ways to escape the discouraging reality. Amanda escaped by living in the past. She was obsessed with her Blue Mountain popularity and she bragged about her gentlemen callers. She claimed that they were “some of the most prominent young planters and sons of the planters”. Amanda’s past has kept her utterly out of touch with reality. Laura on the other hand, escapes the reality that she is cripple, shy and self-conscious and to escape, she turns to her father’s Victrola and her glass ornament collection, Glass Menagerie. Laura imagines a world just as beautiful as her Glass Menagerie and is separated from the challenges she is faced with. Finally, in order to escape the real problems at home, Tom writes poetry and spends most of his time at the movies, “I go to the movies because – I like adventures. Adventures are something I don’t have much of at work, so I go to the movies”. Tom found happiness at the movies and used it as an escape from Amanda and the plans she wants for him. However, Tom got fed up of the state he was in and escaped leaving his mother and sister behind. Generally, Escapism was a major part of this play and everyone had his or her own way of escaping reality. Today, people still find ways to escape reality problems. Some people escape through alcohol, drugs, entertainment, clubbing, movies and many other ways. We will always need a break from reality therefore; escapism is something that will be around forever. As seen throughout the comparison between the Glass Menagerie and the Bahamian society, not much has change. If anything, things are more advanced and serious from then to now. We are faced with this sort of difficulties and challenges on a daily basis and some things we cannot avoid because it is a part of life.
Analysis Of The Glass Menagerie
Our final reading was The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. From this text we were instructed to choose a monologue for our finale presentation. I chose a monologue for James D. O’Connor (Jim) a man who works with Tom our main protagonist. Tom’s sister went to the same high school as Jim. But, Jim doesn’t remember Laura until she says something to him about it. “Do you still sing?” The story is made more dynamic by the fact that Jim was meant to be a “Gentleman Caller” for Laura. Tom never told Jim that when he invited him over for dinner.
The story is made more interesting by the crazy and comical way Tom and Laura’s mother Amanda prepares for the evening. She makes a fancy dinner and complains about not having time to buy new furniture. She purchases items that the family can hardly afford on only Tom’s wages. Their father left years earlier, leaving the family to fend for themselves while he traveled the world. Over all this has been my favorite play that we’ve read this semester. The concept that the father left in it’s own right is sad but when Tom fallows in his footsteps it becomes tragic. It’s heartbreaking to see this memory that Tom has of his sister and Mother progress into such an unhappy ending. The fact that the ending of this memory play isn’t happy makes it even more real. The text is relatable, Tom’s selfishness is justified by our own subconscious, what would we each do if put in his situation. Tom’s Memory is the main focus of the play and also his character is the most appealing to me. However I chose to challenge myself with one of Jim’s monologues. In this paper I will analyse the text using six of the twelve guideposts we used in class as they relate to Jim’s Character and the way I’ve chosen to play him.
The first guidepost we used was “relationship” what was Jim’s relation to each of the characters in the text. Specifically Laura who will be Jim’s scene partner for the monologue I’ve chosen. What is Jim’s relationship with Laura? She has had a crush on him since high school. There is evidence in the text that suggests that Jim and Laura could be romantically interested in each other. Jim even kisses her in the heat of a moment. Even though this is the case there are two sides to Jim, opposites that I’ll discuss later. His character is given more depth if the kiss was out of passion to help her come out of her shell rather than to seize a romantic opportunity he saw. This conclusion that he is not romantically interested in Laura is emphasized by the news that Jim is engaged to be married. The following quotations are from my acting journal, these are written as if I was Jim, I think that writing like this helps me get into character.
“My emotional attitude is that I’m trying to prove to Laura and myself that we can both rise above our stations. I’m optimistic that Laura isn’t as helpless as she seems. By proving to her that she is beautiful, this will somehow make my own self esteem higher. I like to think of my relationship with Laura as this reminder to my time in highschool. She reminds me of the confident person I use to be, and gives me the confidence to be that person again. But, I’ll never be in love with Laura, although I am grateful for our paths crossing again because she has reaffirmed that I can reach my goals.”
The second guidepost was; “What are you fighting for? What is the Conflict?” Jim is fighting for influence over Laura. He wants to make her believe that she is beautiful. “Has anyone ever told you that you’re pretty? You are.” His motives are derived from self interest though. He will get personal gain from the situation by improving his own public speaking. He’s preparing himself for the future by practicing having influence over people. He believes in the future of Television and soon he’ll have to influence producers. The problem with this, the conflict is that if Laura can’t be convinced than it could hurt Jim’s confidence.
The third guidepost we discussed was “the moment before.” This can be the immediate moment before as well as some background on Jim. Here’s what I gathered about Jim. He was one of the popular kids in high school but not because he bullied or disrespected others. In fact he was a nice guy. He didn’t care that Laura has a small physical defect. It didn’t matter he still treats her with respect. He was predicted to be the most successful in his class but that hasn’t happened for him yet. He’s taking night classes to improve himself. He is engaged, though he doesn’t mention this soon enough in the play. It’s almost cruel how he toys with laura’s emotions. He has a large amount of motivation to rise above his station and create a better life for himself.
Immediately before the monologue I’ve chose Jim and Laura had a conversation about Laura’s lack of confidence in herself. Jim asked her to dance and he pushes her out of her comfort zone, it seems to be going well until he leads her right into the Glass menagerie and her favorite piece of glass, a tiny unicorn, is broken. She says it’s alright and says that she’ll pretend he had an operation to make him feel less “freakish”. This sparks a thought in Jim’s mind and that’s where my monologue picks up.
The fourth guidepost is “Humor.” Humor is found in everyday life. We inject every situation with humor so that we don’t have to bear the seriousness of it. That is a human characteristic. So it’s important to keep the humor in a scene. “ One would think actors are trying to reverse the life process by what they do on stage. They take humor out instead of put it in. That’s what makes acting un-lifelike… Sometimes we lighten the burden for others because of the weight we are dumping on them.” In the monologue I have chosen, Jim gives Laura some really serious information. He tells her that she is pretty, this isn’t a moment I would add humor to. But, in the spirit of doing what I’m told I will try to lighten the seriousness of the conversation with a small amount of humor. Perhaps when I say “wonderful people” I can try to sound sarcastic. Sarcasm is funny even if it’s just in a mean way it’s still humor. I could also add a laugh after I say “they’re common as weeds.” This would add a small amount of humor to the situation which would make it seem more realistic to those watching.
The Fifth guidepost we practiced with in class is “opposites” The first side of Jim that I could think of is that he might have a part of himself that is attracted to the idea of Laura. So he would be genuinely excited and passionate about the things he’s talking about. So for the in class activity I chose Excitement and Lust as my first definition. The opposite of that for me was calm and compassionate. Although I was having a hard time in class relaying these emotions I do think they would work if applied in different ways than I used them. At that point I had decided that maybe I had bit off more than I could chew. Jim was going to be a really hard character for me to play. I want my final Jim to embrace both sides, I want him to be both passionate and calm, understanding and protective of Laura, excited and serious.
The final guidepost is “discoveries” this is when you learn something new every time you do the scene. It’s not you as the actor learning something new, but it’s your character making discoveries. When I portray Jim he’s going to have to make all these realizations in his mind as he scene moves along. It’s very important to not fake these, they have to be real. I think using a circle of attention might be helpful for this particular task. I need to see in the audience that they each understand that they have self worth. I’m convincing Laura but I’m also convincing each audience member. It’s very important that they believe I’m going through these experiences for the first time.
These six guideposts have helped me analyse the text on a deeper level and will make presenting the monologue easier. I have really enjoyed The Glass Menagerie and this class. Even if I crash and burn when presenting this monologue I know that I have taken in a lot of new skills and have practiced applying them. Nothing is perfect and neither am I, but all I can do is try as hard as I can and overcome one of the hardest projects I’ve undertook thus far in my life.
Main Ideas in The Glass Menagerie Novel
“Through the (Cracked) Looking-Glass”
In Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie, the characters of mother Amanda Wingfield, her children Laura and Tom Wingfield, as well as Laura’s gentleman caller Jim O’Connor, exemplify three different themes found in the play: The past and the present, dreams and reality, and optimism and pessimism. Through these characters and their respective struggles, Williams portrays a reality of American life during the latter years of the Great Depression, in which the future only bears further uncertainty and is fueled by the hopes of millions that their livelihoods may eventually improve with time.
In The Glass Menagerie, the mother-daughter duo of Amanda and Laura serve as personifications of the past and present. Amanda is a faded Southern belle, whose speech occasionally and unintentionally reverts to her Southern dialect when she pays her words no mind (8). Similarly, when entertaining company like Jim O’Connor in Scene Six, her drawl slips through and Amanda attempts to return to her glory days as a sought-after prize among her callers (63). While behaving this way is almost instinct to her, Amanda does not realize that, with her cheap velvety coat with an imitation fur collar and a cloche hat that is around five or six years old (11), she is already far past her prime, as demonstrated by her dated style of dress. Even her youthful ringlets and burst of “girlish Southern vivacity” (62) initially astounds her son Tom, who is greatly confused by his mother’s slipping grasp on her past.
Laura, on the other hand, does not dwell on her past or future very much. She simply lives in the moment and allows the day to take her wherever it wishes, hence accounting for her daily explorations of the city ever since dropping out of business college (14). As she explains to Amanda on the following page, “I went in the art museum and the bird houses at the Zoo. I visited the penguins every day! Sometimes I did without lunch and went to the movies. Lately I’ve been spending most of my afternoons in the Jewel Box, that big glass house where they raise the tropical flowers.” Laura spent the six weeks following her withdrawal from Rubicam’s Business College making spontaneous trips and wandering across the city. In a sense, her cluelessness may even represent Amanda’s personal heartbreak and insecurities as a single parent struggling to support her family (95-96). To further the parallel between Laura and Amanda, Laura’s fixation with her glass menagerie is perhaps a reflection of Amanda’s jonquil craze during the days of her youth (54).
Through the glass menagerie, Laura pursues a form of quiet escapism, in which she can leave reality and enter a world where everything possesses life (83-84) and all is fragile aside from her. As Tom observes, “she lives in a world of her own—a world of little glass ornaments” (48), a world which allows Laura to feel like the bigger person with more control over her personal stability. Williams describes Laura as “a piece of translucent glass touched by light, given a momentary radiance, not actual, not lasting” (51), becoming a manufactured piece of glass that is hand-crafted the same way Amanda rearranged her appearance. However, as the opening quote by e. e. cummings on the foremost page of this book says, “nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands.” Though Laura devotes plenty of her time and energy towards caring for her glass collection, she does not possess the ability to eternally protect her collection nor become a piece of glass herself—suspended in eternal beauty but fragile in its livelihood. Even in her obvious enamorment with Jim, despite their years of separation after graduating from high school (55), Laura is shown to be caught in a dream, living a more developed life within the confines of her mind than in reality with the rest of her family.
Contrarily, Tom’s role as both the narrator and a core character within the play makes him dually part of our reality and the dream-like essence of The Glass Menagerie as a “memory play” (xv). Throughout the play, Tom consistently returns to the movies and manages to escape the reality of his struggles at home (26-27), but soon tires of them, feeling like “it’s our turn now, to go to the South Sea Island—to make a safari—to be exotic, far-off!” (61) These constant late-night journeys and Tom’s belief in personally seeking adventure causes a strain in his relationship with Amanda. Though he continuously attempts to pursue writing while working at the warehouse, he eventually fails (96) and is therefore unable to chase his own dreams. Jim even jokingly warns him that “[he’s] going to be out of a job if [he doesn’t] wake up” (60). Even in the final moments of the play, Tom states that he “didn’t go to the moon, [he] went much further—for time is the longest distance between two places” (96). Therefore, although he was initially bound by reality and distanced from his dreams as he did not have the means to travel across the world, he finally managed to follow in his father’s footsteps and create his own traveler’s reality instead.
Finally, in terms of contrasting attitudes, Jim is very much the optimist of the play. In his conversations with Laura, he reveals a strong belief in the goodness of people (76) and “the future of television” (82), exhibiting a mindset that differed with the socioeconomic circumstances America was going through during that time period. Even in managing a near-conflict between Amanda and Jim regarding the unpaid light bill, Jim chose to view their situation through a positive and realistic scope, maintaining a warm atmosphere in which everyone remained content (69). As depicted by the stage directions, Jim’s warmth is what draws Laura out of her shell and “[dissolves] her shyness” (77), temporarily allowing her personality to shine through. However, in his optimism, he inadvertently blinds himself to the reality of Laura’s situation as well. Not only does he fail to fully realize Laura’s love for her menagerie and her feelings towards him, but he also convinces himself that his experience grants him the ability to “fix” her inferiority complex (80-81). As a result, he unwittingly hurts Laura’s feelings, perhaps breaking her heart the same way he broke the glass unicorn’s horn (85).
On the other hand, Laura is extremely pessimistic. In the case of any event that triggers her anxiety, such as her first day at Business College and hearing the news of Jim’s impending visit, she allows her worries to get the better of her. “I’m—crippled!” (17) and “I’m sick!” (57), she would apologetically exclaim, using her personal issues as excuses to make her way out of certain unwanted situations. Yet, in favor of Jim, she minimizes her problems and brushes them aside—saying “it doesn’t matter” (86) that one of the oldest ornaments in her collection broke, considering the possibility of it being a blessing in disguise rather than an unfortunate accident. Thus, Laura sacrifices an important part of who she is for his sake, without managing to address her own struggles nor find a solution to them.
In conclusion, Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie provides an in-depth view into the aspects of past and present, dreams and reality, and optimism and pessimism through the play’s characters and their individual struggles. Not only does this play convey the difficulties brought on by the Great Depression in the late 1930s, but also delivers a potent message regarding the differences between the generations in terms of their aims and goals, and a family’s shared but stunted journey towards reaching mutual understanding with each other.
Woman As Victim In Tennessee Williams’ “Glass Menagerie”
The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams, is a play that tells the story of a mother, Amanda, and her two children, Laura and Tom. Laura is a young woman who suffered from a disease that left her crippled, mentally and physically. Tom brings home a gentleman caller for Laura at the request of his mother. The Glass Menagerie not only reflects on the playwright’s sister Rose’s diagnosis of schizophrenia and her lobotomy, but also Williams’ feelings about the procedure. Williams’ had a close relationship with his sister and doted on her. He grew up experiencing Rose’s episodes of insanity and blamed himself for her lobotomy procedure (Morton). Therefore, Tennessee Williams was affected by his sister’s schizophrenia and lobotomy, resulting in his memory play, The Glass Menagerie, and the development of Laura’s character.
A lobotomy is a form of psychosurgery that requires the drilling of holes into a patient’s head to treat chronic mental disorders and behaviors. One of the first psychosurgeries was performed by Gottlieb Burckhardt in 1890 and Ludvig Puusepp in 1910, however, both surgeons decided that the procedure was far too dangerous to be conducted on patients. In 1935, Portuguese neurologist António Egas Moniz and surgeon Pedro Almeida Lima brought back psychosurgery and modified the treatment. “Holes were drilled into the patient’s head and then injected with ethyl alcohol”, in which the alcohol was used to “disrupt the neuronal tracts” that they believed caused the recurring symptoms of a patient’s mental illness (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica). Created by Moniz, the leukotome was used to be inserted into the drilled holes in a patient’s head, “designed specifically to disrupt the tracts of neuronal fibres connecting the prefrontal cortex and thalamus of the brain” (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica). In 1936, physician Walter J. Freeman II and surgeon James Watts introduced the procedure to America. The two men modified the procedure and called it the Freeman-Watts standard lobotomy, in which it was modified again into the transorbital lobotomy ten years later. The transorbital lobotomy required a sharp instrument to be pushed into the eye socket to break the bone behind the sockets, and then “inserted into the frontal lobe and used to sever connections in the brain” (The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica). The current form of lobotomy today has been modified throughout the years and a few operations were reported to be effective for several patients. When other forms of therapy and treatment were developed in the mid-1900, the lobotomy became less popular, but, it is still rarely used to treat some mental illnesses today.
Schizophrenia was one of the disorders that were treated by a lobotomy. This common psychotic disorder alters the way one thinks, feels, and behaves. The term “schizophrenia” was coined by Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler (Piotrowski). Symptoms usually begin to develop in the twenties for males and females, and then progresses as a person gets older (Piotrowski). Symptoms of schizophrenia are separated into three categories: positive, negative, and cognitive (National Institute of Mental Health). Positive symptoms are thoughts and behaviors that are present in people with the illness. Symptoms can include hallucinations, delusions, and withdrawal from reality. People often confuse hallucinations and delusions, thinking that they are the same thing. Hallucinations involve seeing or hearing things that others do not, while delusions are misconceptions about the actual truth and reality. Negative symptoms are thoughts and behaviors that are “taken away” from someone with schizophrenia. Negative symptoms of this disorder may include “disconnected speech patterns, broken sentences, excessive body movement, and purposeless activity” as well as “extreme anger and hostility”. Cognitive symptoms deal with one’s thinking, with cognition meaning reasoning or understanding. Symptoms can include “poor ability to understand and make decisions, trouble focusing, problems with “working memory”. There is not one exact cause for schizophrenia, just like how there is not just one reason as to why someone has depression or any other mental illnesses. But the psychotic disorder can be caused by “genetics, the environment (viruses or malnutrition), and/or brain chemistry” (National Institute of Mental Health). Schizophrenia cannot be cured, but there are ways to treat this mental illness such as medication and therapy. While schizophrenia affects about “one percent of the general population”, it is still a serious disorder, with Rose William’s falling victim to the illness, and Tennessee Williams as the witness.
Tennessee Williams puts a character in his own shoes because of Rose’s schizophrenia and lobotomy. With background knowledge of the playwright’s life, readers can conclude that Tom Wingfield is a literary representation of Tennessee Williams. Williams’ real name is Thomas Lanier Williams, and Tom Wingfield is the younger brother of Laura Wingfield. Not only are the two men’s names similar, they are also both younger brothers of their fragile sisters. Another factor is that Tom is a poet who works in a warehouse, specifically a shoe warehouse. Williams also worked in a shoe company, but then became a playwright instead of a poet. Additionally, Tom cares deeply for his older sister, Laura, in the same brotherly way Williams did for his older sister, Rose. In Scene IV, it is morning and Laura is to get butter for her mother. But when she rushes out the door, she stumbles over her legs and falls: “A second later she cries out. Tom springs up and crosses to the door. Tom opens the door” (Williams 689). In this situation, Tom’s first instinct is to quickly go to the fallen Laura, knowing that she is crippled and that any assistance would be useful for her. As simple as this act of kindness may be, it clearly portrays Tom’s brotherly love for Laura, the way Williams’ fondness did for Rose while growing up.
Also in Scene IV, Tom shows more of his brotherly fondness for Laura. After Tom and Amanda’s argument, Laura pleads with Tom to apologize to their mother: “Don’t make Mother nervous… Tom, speak to Mother this morning. Make up with her, apologize, speak to her!”. Tom argues with Laura that his mother decided to not talk to him first. But after a few exchanges with Laura after she leaves, he sucks up his pride and apologizes to his mother. With knowledge about Williams’ resentment towards his mother for allowing Rose’s lobotomy, readers can speculate that Tom apologized to Amanda to satisfy Laura’s request, not to truly make up with Amanda. Tom knows that Laura is mentally “crippled” and tends to “brood” about the things she notices, so staying on bad terms with Amanda could possibly make Laura worried and unhappy. In Scene III, prior to Tom’s apology to Amanda, the mother and son argues about little things and he ends up calling her an “ugly—babbling old—witch” before taking off for the night (Williams 687). It has been reported that Williams had a “bitter resentment of his mother for allowing Rose to be so callously mistreated” (Morton). Therefore, Tom’s quarrel with Amanda symbolizes Williams’ grudge and dislike for his mother, Edwina Williams, for allowing Rose’s lobotomy. But, not only did Tennessee Williams create a character to represent himself, he developed a character to represent his sister as well.
To further express his rancor about his sister’s condition and operation, Tennessee Williams turned Rose Williams into Laura Wingfield. Rose Williams is the older sister of Tennessee Williams, and Laura Wingfield is the older sister of Tom Wingfield. The first distinct similarity of the two females is their perception of reality. Rose Williams was diagnosed with schizophrenia and underwent a lobotomy for this. One symptom of schizophrenia is withdrawal from reality, and it is unknown whether Laura is schizophrenic or not. However, in the introduction of the play, it is noted that Laura’s case of reality is much worse than Amanda’s failure “to establish contact with reality” and that she is “crippled”. Readers can theorize that Laura’s perception of reality is also skewed in the way schizophrenics are. Also, Laura being crippled may not apply to her physically, in which “one of her leg is slightly shorter than the other”, but she is also mentally crippled. Even her brother, Tom, acknowledges her behavior and disability, just like Tennessee Williams with his sister.
In Scene V, when Tom talks to Amanda about bringing Jim O’Connor home for dinner, Tom points out that Laura is “terribly shy and lives in a world of her own” (Williams 697). He further explains to Amanda that Laura is “peculiar” because “she lives in a world of her own—a world of little glass ornaments”. Schizophrenics not only withdraws from reality, but they can experience hallucinations as well. It is a possibility that Laura hallucinates in a world of her glass collection, because she, as a 23-year-old woman, personified her glass unicorn to Jim O’Connor in Scene VII: “He doesn’t complain about it… all of them seem to get along nicely together… I haven’t heard any argument among them!” (Williams 712). With knowledge of Rose Williams and analysis of Laura’s character, readers can conclude why Laura’s glass unicorn is one of her favorites out of her collection. A unicorn is a horse with a horn on its head, making it quite unique. This uniqueness in the play parallels with Laura and her fragile, yet schizophrenic behavior and her “clumping” leg brace (Williams 708). However, this uniqueness in the real world connects to Rose and her schizophrenia. When the horn breaks from the unicorn after falling off a table, this symbolizes Rose Williams’ lobotomy. Laura consoles Jim that she will “just imagine he had an operation… to make him feel less—freakish”. The “operation” parallels with Rose’s lobotomy procedure, to make her “just like all the other horses”. But, as evident as the similarities may be, critics may disagree that Rose Williams’ condition and operation had any effect on the playwright.
Critics may argue that The Glass Menagerie had nothing to do with Tennessee Williams’ personal life and feelings. The first argument would just be a speculation that Rose’s condition and lobotomy did not affect the playwright on a personal level. But, this speculation is absurd as Williams’ had a fondness for his sister and was close to her. Other plays by Tennessee Williams were also written to reflect his life, such as Suddenly Last Summer and The Night of the Iguana, in which the “heroine” was “inspired by Rose”. However, the characters of The Glass Menagerie are the closest representation of the people in Williams’ life, himself included. The similarities between Tom Wingfield and Tennessee Williams are just too coincidental. Another argument would be that Rose Williams had no effect on the playwright’s development of Laura’s character. If this is the case, then the similarities between Laura and Rose are also much too coincidental. Why would Laura also be the older sister of “Tom” who also exhibits schizophrenic behaviors of a distorted reality? If Tennessee Williams was never affected by Rose’s schizophrenia and her lobotomy, he would not have expressed his remorse and bitterness in his plays, specifically The Glass Menagerie. Williams felt guilty for not “being able to prevent the procedure” of Rose and was “haunted” by it. Therefore, with coincidental similarities between characters, especially Laura, and their counterparts, it is evident that Rose became the muse behind Williams’ plays.
Sharing a close relationship with his older sister Rose Williams, playwright Tennessee Williams watched his sister fall into a world of madness and eventually received treatment that never truly treated her. Rose was diagnosed with schizophrenia, a serious and chronic mental illness that can be treated with a lobotomy. Lobotomies, however, can be dangerous, as the procedure involves puncturing the skull and prodding the brain to disrupt nerves. Eventually, at the request of her mother Edwina Williams, Rose underwent a lobotomy. To express his guilt for not “being able to prevent the procedure”, Williams illustrated certain elements of his life and his sister’s life into one of his most famous plays, The Glass Menagerie. The first clear element is the narrator of the play, Tom Wingfield and his counterpart, Tennessee Williams, himself. Not only are their names and occupations similar, their brotherly love for their older sisters and ill feelings for their mothers are indistinguishable. Rose, the muse of many of Williams’ plays, was developed into Laura Wingfield. Rose and Laura are the older sisters of the two Toms and both have a distorted sense of reality. After witnessing Rose’s madness and hearing of her operation, it is evident that the occurrence greatly impacted Tennessee Williams, resulting in The Glass Menagerie (along with many of his other famous works) and the development of Laura’s character. The Glass Menagerie may seem like a play that revolves around an ordinary family, but it appears that the play has a much deeper significance, especially to the playwright, Tennessee Williams.
The Different Types of Blindness of the Characters in Oedipus Rex by Sophocles and The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
Types of Blindness
Life is full of things that humans wish to forget. Using blindness as a buffer from reality is a natural response to dangerous stimuli. The types of blindness are easily classified into many categories. These classifications make understanding stories and characters much better. The characters in Oedipus Rex by Sophocles and The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams are easily classified by their blindness to the past, present, and future.
The first group that that can be seen is those who are blind to the past. Characters in this group are blinded to their past actions and don’t think back on them. Oedipus from Oedipus Rex is a good example of a character in this group. He was the one who killed Laius but he ignores the possibility. It’s evident by how he accuses Creon of murdering Laius and trying to steal the throne. Even when faced with a prophesy by Tiresias that implicates him; “In name he is a stranger among citizens, but soon he will be shown to be a citizen, true native Theban, and he’ll have no joy of the discovery: blindness for sight and beggary for riches his exchange, he shall go journeying to a foreign country tapping his way before him with a stick..” (p. 7), he refuses to believe it. Jocasta from the same story is another character that can be used in this category. Jocasta is blind to how fate can be changed. She was told a prophecy about her child killing her husband, so she threw her baby away to be murdered. The prophecies had been spreading around the whole play, but she never really caught on until it was right in front of her. She tries to keep Oedipus blind to the truth by begging him to “…not hunt this out…” (p. 17).
The next group of characters can be classified by their blindness to the present. This group is blind to what is happening around them currently. Amanda from The Glass Menagerie is a great example of this classification. Amanda is blind to how her actions are affecting her daughter, Laura. She sets up for Laura to go to business classes not realizing how Laura feels about the whole situation. When Amanda finds out about Laura skipping her business classes she goes into a long and anxious rant about Laura’s future asking her, “So what are we going to do the rest of our lives? Stay home and watch the parades go by? Amuse ourselves with the glass menagerie, darling? Eternally play those worn-out phonograph records your father left as a painful reminder of him? We won’t have a business career – we’ve given that up because it gave us nervous indigestion! [She laughs wearily.] What is there left but dependency all our lives? I know so well what becomes of unmarried woman who aren’t prepared to occupy a position. I’ve seen such pitiful cases in the South – barely tolerated spinsters living upon the grudging patronage of sister’s husband or brother’s wife! – stuck away in some little mousetrap of a room – encouraged by one in-law to visit another – little birdlike women without any nest – eating the crust of humility all their life! Is that the future that we’ve mapped out for ourselves? I swear it’s the only alternative I can think of! [She pauses.] It isn’t a very pleasant alternative, is it? [She pauses again.] Of course – some girls do marry.” (Scene 2). This rant shows her disconnection with her daughter and how obviously blind she is to her daughter’s wants and needs. Tom from The Glass Menagerie also fits into this classification because of how blind to the consequences of his current choices he is. He is always just doing whatever he wants, whenever he pleases without thinking about the repercussions. He even got fired from his job for “writing a poem on the lid of a shoebox.” (Scene 7). This shows how blind he is to his current actions and how he doesn’t think about what he does before he does it.
The third group of classification is blindness to the future. This group is blind to what the future holds. Amanda is the perfect fit for this classification. She is blind to what the future holds for her and her family. She is terrified of this fear and lets it control her decisions. When Laura stops going to business school she asks herself, “What are we going to do, what is going to become of us, what is the future?” (Scene 2). She tries so hard to start a future for her children but is blind to where they will end up. Even Laura fits into this classification. Laura is so blind that she doesn’t even think about the future. Her mother set’s her up so that she may live a life worth living, but drops it because she was frightened. She doesn’t see any error in her actions above the fact her mother would get disappointed. Her only reasoning for not going back to the class was because she “threw up -on the floor!” This shows that she’s blind to the consequences of her actions as well as blind about how her life will end up.
In conclusion, the stories Oedipus Rex and The Glass Menagerie have many characters who can be classified by their blindness to the past, present, and future. Classifying characters help make them easier to understand and like. This brings realism to the story as well as allows the reader to connect with the characters. Without understanding the blindness of these characters, they wouldn’t be as distinguishable from the flat characters.
A Comparison of The Glass Menagerie and Hamlet
The Glass Menagerie is a play that involves characters like Amada, Laura, Tom, his friend Jim and their father a character who never physically appears only that he is said to have left them since he was constantly away for a job. Laura is disabled, and her mother always worries that she might never find a “gentleman caller”. The Hamlet on the other handle revolves around the life of the dead King Hamlet’s family in old Denmark kingdom. Hamlet is the Son of a king who had died not long before. He was the heir to the throne but when his father the king died, Hamlet’s uncle Claudius took over. As if that was not enough, Claudius married Gertrude, the late king’s wife. A ghost that belonged to Hamlet’s father appeared to him, informed him that it is Claudius who killed him by having poison put in his ear. The king’s ghost then asks Hamlet to revenge for his death. The unravelling of incidences in the Helmet and the Glass Menagerie, the memories and the future happenings are comparable. This essay will focus on the influence of the past on the present based on the incidences that took place in the Hamlet and the Glass Menagerie and how they influenced the lives of the involved characters.
In both the Hamlet and the Glass Menagerie, a few of the characters have known each other for a long time some of which have high expectations for each other with the hope of being in a relationship and spend a life together. In the Hamlet, Ophelia and Hamlet were said to have been in a relationship, but Ophelia was instructed against entertaining Hamlet into her life. As her brother Laertes makes preparations to leave for France, Ophelia is cautioned by her Brother to avoid falling in love with Hamlet, and he refers to Hamlet as a person who is high above her level to be able to love her honourably. He mentions that Hamlet had a far greater responsibility of taking care of his feelings as well as those of the kingdom which means that the marriage between the two might be impossible. Ophelia’s father Polonius then makes enquiries from her on what the brother was speaking about, and she opens up to her father. She told her father that the brother spoke of “something touching Lord Hamlet” (Shakespeare, p89). When Polonius enquires about her relationship with Hamlet, she discloses to her father that Hamlet speaks of being in love with her. The father rebukes this act and warns his daughter not to fall for the false vows that Hamlet makes to her. He warns her against being associated with him.
After the death of Hamlet’s father, Hamlet seemed to have gone mad, and his reactions were far more erratic. With everyone not knowing the cause of such behaviours, Polonius assumed that his reaction was because his daughter Ophelia had refused to reciprocate his love for her by loving him back. At one point when Polonius sends out his servant to spy on Laertes, Ophelia enters the house looking upset and tells the father that Hamlet had at one point confronted her looking unkempt and with wild eyes. Hamlet out of anger grabbed her but did not even make a word. Polonius concluded that irrational behaviour was because Ophelia has kept a distance from Hamlet since her father warned her and that all these forms of reactions that Hamlet had been due to the love Hamlet had for Ophelia. Polonius was for the idea that this might have been the reason as to why Hamlet was in a strange mood, an idea that he rushed to tell Claudius.
To prove that Hamlet’s madness was due to the love he had for Ophelia, a plan was devised to have both Hamlet and Ophelia converse as the father listens. Ophelia was then ordered to approach Hamlet and tell him that she would reciprocate by loving him back since he seemed to be so much in love with her. Surprisingly, Hamlet denies having loved her at any point. Hamlet makes known to Ophelia that humankind is wretched and that she should not let herself to be a “breeder of sinners” (Shakespeare, 122). He even urged Ophelia to join the nunnery. Hamlet makes a critic of women where he argues that women make men behave like monsters and that they always paint their faces which makes them look more beautiful than they are supposed to be. Hamlet then denounced humankind, women and Ophelia and made known his wish to Ophelia of bringing all marriages to an end (Shakespeare, 122). Ophelia could not believe the words that were uttered by Hamlet, and she suffered heartbreak after being warned by the father not to associate herself with Hamlet since he might not be able to love her. This heartbreak was then aggravated by her father’s death which then made her commit suicide by drowning herself.
In comparison with The Hamlet, the Glass Menagerie is a play that revolves around the life of disabled Laura who thinks that she might never get a man at any point in her life. Her mother however believes that this is possible and when Laura makes no efforts to get herself a man after she dropped out from the business school (Tennessee, scene ii), Amada her mother tells her that she should not spend all her life playing with her glass menagerie and that she should find something meaningful to do with her life. Laura, however, feels inferior and her disability barricades her from exploring and venturing into life.
Meanwhile, Amada had asked Tom her son to look for a gentleman caller for his sister at the warehouse where he used to work. Tom hand invited his friend Jim for supper. Laura had revealed to her mother that she had a high school crush who to some extent found her unique from the others. When she realizes that the person who had been invited over for supper is the same guy she had a crush on back in high school, she was reluctant to open the door for him when the doorbell rang. She even fell sick and could not take supper with the rest of the family. Her mother, however, had ensured that she looked decent to have something to attract the visitor. Jim was said to have been in the singing group in high school, and as they converse with Laura, he is carried away by a song that was singing from a distance, and he decided to dance with Laura. As they danced, Jim told Laura that she was exceptional, referred her to “blue roses” (Tennessee, scene II) the famous name that she used to call Laura in High school and ended up kissing her (Tennessee, scene VII). Laura’s hopes are shuttered when Jim confesses that he is an engaged man and that he had to leave. The only man that Laura had ever loved was gone which led to a lot of pain to Laura, the mother and the whole family.
Both, Laura and Ophelia despite living a different life can be compared to that they all at one point feel shuttered and restrained by things that are beyond their control. Laura feels that now that she is decapitated, she can only spend her life playing with her glass menagerie. She even dropped from business school and spent her time going to the zoo, to the museum and at the houses where they “raise the tropical flowers.” (Tennessee, Scene ii). Feeling useless also made her think that she might not even ever get a man in her life despite her mother’s famous motivational story of how at one point she had seventeen gentlemen watchers within one day. The lives of the two characters were not so different since each one of them had their battles that they even never knew how to win. When an opportunity to advance and make life better came along, Laura played around with it, dropped from school and continued with her normal old fashioned life playing with her glass menagerie and spending time in the house. When Jim, Laura’s high school crush came to visit them, Laura practically fell sick. When she was motivated, she took the opportunity with passion, danced with him, showed him her possessions, received a kiss from him but when she thought that it was the beginning of a life she was so much longing for, Jim made his confession that he was engaged to someone. In a blink of a second, all she was hoping for was long gone including her brother who later confessed that he would never forget her.
Hamlet was a dreamer who longed for the best in his life and everyone’s life. Being the rightful heir to his father’s throne, he felt shuttered that his father’s most inferior brother had taken his position and ended up marrying his mother. This in combination with his father’s death made him long to die. Unfortunately, he did not know where to begin and what exactly to so that he can put things in order. Things seemed to be beyond his control, and he ended up suffering psychologically. The lady to which he had confessed his love for was not willing to be with him after she was advised by her father to stay away from him. Nonetheless, Hamlet was still confused on how to fight his battles. When an opportunity prevailed itself when his father’s ghost appeared to him informed him that it is his uncle who was responsible for the king’s death and asked him to revenge for his death, Hamlet felt motivated (Shakespeare, p189). He embraced the opportunity and devised plans on how to destroy his uncle. Just like the way Laura dropped from the business school hurting his mother so much, Hamlet ended up killing his lover’s father, and this drove her crazy.
After Hamlet realized what killed his father, he made a play that captured similar incidence based on how the death of his father occurred. He was hoping to see his uncle the king react, and this would make him guilty. The most expected thing occurred, and when the point of putting poison into the sleeping king’s ear came, Hamlet’s uncle left the scene. Unfortunately, when Hamlet followed him, he found him praying, and he was reluctant to kill him since he thought that if he killed him at this juncture, his soul would go to heaven and this would not have been enough revenge. This hesitation can be compared to that of Laura to meet Jim her longtime crush (Tennessee, scene vii).
When the king realized that Hamlet might be dangerous, he decided to send him away. He even planned a fight against him and Laertes, the son of Polonius who was murdered by Hamlet. This was vengeance, and Laertes would be so much willing to engage in a fight with Hamlet and destroy him. Claudius poisoned the blade that was to be used by Laertes so that when the blade cuts through the fresh of Hamlet, this will result in his death. Hamlet refused to take the poisoned wine that Claudius offered to him. When the queen took the wine, she could not resist but die (Shakespeare, p189). Nonetheless, Hamlet was struck with the poisoned sword, but he managed to win the fight by slaughtering Laertes with the same sword. Hamlet then realized Claudius’ plans, and he made him drink the poison. This was an opportunity that he was so passionate about and he could not let go. With high expectations that this was over, he lost his whole family, and he also died losing everything that he ever longed for. This moment can also be compared to the moment when Laura was so much passionate about having Jim in her life and then all was shuttered after Jim’s confession, and she lost it all.
Both the Glass Menagerie and the Hamlet are comparable regarding the tension that was being experienced in the families. Tom and his mother were always quarrelling about various issues like spending time doing a job that he did not like, always going to the movie every night, failing to pay for electricity and also bringing into the house an engaged man who Amada hoped that would take Laura as his spouse. Hamlet, on the other hand, was not in good terms with his uncle the king since he had immediately married the fallen king’s wife. Hamlet also thought that he was the rightful heir to the throne to which his uncle was now sitting on. He also knew that his uncle killed the king that Hamlet was always looking for a way to revenge for his father’s death as he was advised by his father’s ghost (Shakespeare, p40).
Both the Hamlet and the Glass Menagerie can be compared in that the incidences that take place in both the writings depend on what had happened in the past. The present characters life is influenced by what happened in the past. Laura is struggling with her longtime disability which to a great extent influences her life. She then meets her high school crush the only person she has ever loved. Her hopes however never bore fruits since Jim was already engaged. Hamlet, on the other hand, is possessed with the vengeance of his father’s death. Along the way despite having taken the revenge with his dying breath, he lost everything his family and the throne that he always thought that he was the rightful heir
The Conversations Between Characters in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
The Glass of Menagerie
Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass of Menagerie” is a play set in an apartment in St. Louis. The play presents the narrator’s memory of the life he went through in 1937. As a character in the play, Tom Wingfield, the play’s narrator presents his memories from the time his father abandons the family to the time he leaves home to look for a job. Although Tom is an aspiring poet, he works in a shoe warehouse to support his mother Amanda and sister, Laura. His father, Wingfield, as Tom narrates, abandoned them at the time they were young. Tom’s memories and his mother’s contemplations reveal that the family misses their breadwinner. Amanda tells her children about the many suitors she had when she was the age of her daughter, Laura. She wonders why Laura does not attract suitors.
Amanda enrolls Laura in a business college so that she can provide for herself when she graduates. However, Amanda comes to learn that Laura dropped out of college and spent time polishing her glass menagerie. Disappointed, Amanda tells Tom to look for a suitor for his sister and he agrees to bring Jim who turns out to be engaged, thereby disappointing the family. The author’s concentration on the events that take place in Wingfield’s family has triggered criticism that the play only features the theme of family relations. Critics have argued that the book is not rich in thematic concerns. However, an in-depth review of the text reveals the author’s success in presenting the themes of marriage and love, abandonment, freedom and confinement and dreams and aspirations.
The insistence that Amanda has on Laura to get herself a man reveals the theme of marriage in William’s play. Although the writer does not explicitly show an intention of presenting the theme, it comes out clearly based on the conversation between Amanda and Laura. The mother asks her daughter; “haven’t you ever liked some boy?” (Williams 35). The question opens a conversation that reveals the theme of marriage and love as one of the main ideas that Williams presents in the text. Amanda claims that failure to get married prepares women for lowliness and forces them to live sorrow lives. She claims that women that are not married are tossed from relative to another as they look for a place to end their loneliness (Williams 33). The author creatively packages Amanda’s message to her daughter about marriage in a way that portrays marriage as a social fulfillment in the society. For instance, Amanda says that women that fail to get married in her society end up developing grudges with their brothers’ wives or sister’s husband. Interestingly, Amanda does not say anything concerning love in marriage. Williams may have omitted Amanda’s views about love because she is a victim of abandonment.
Although Amanda asks about her daughter’s love life, she does not experience love in her marriage given that her husband abandoned her and the children. Contrary to the reader’s expectation, Williams portrays Laura as having fallen in love with one person. Laura remembers Jim and tells her mother that he is the only person that she has had love for in her life. Since Jim calls Laura “Blue Roses,” she remembers him as a person that has recognized the uniqueness in her (Williams 37). Williams builds the theme of love as something that develops after a character is abandoned. For instance, Tom’s family hangs a portrait of their father on the wall to remember him after he abandons them. Also, Laura remembers Jim at the time she cannot get him. Besides, she feels weak when she discovers that Jim is engaged.
The brief interaction between Laura and Jib when the latter comes visiting reveals the author’s ability to package theme of love. Although Jim and Laura been out of touch for a long time, their interactions lead to a kiss that gets Laura out of her shell and confesses that she liked Jim from the time they were in school (Williams 57). By portraying Jim praising Laura for her uniqueness the author builds the theme of love in a way that suggests that the two characters may want to get married in future. Williams portrays Jim as the only man that has managed to trigger Laura’s desire for love. For instance, the author reveals that Laura shows Jim her favorite artwork and he likes it. Although the play ends in suspense, the audience understands that Jim is interested in Laura even though he has a fiancé.
Tom’s narration reveals that his father abandoned the family and he did not seem to regret his decision. Williams’ presentation of Tom’s memories reveals the theme of abandonment. Tom says that the last the family heard from their father was a note saying “hello-goodbye” (Williams 1). Tom’s memories show that his father was a soldier who might have fought in the world war and he could have abandoned the family to continue fighting in the war. In his conversation with the mother, Tom expresses his displeasure with the five-dollar salary and claims that he can abandon the family just like the father did. He says to his mother, “…listen, if self is what I thought of, Mother, I’d be where he is-GONE” (Williams 34). Williams seems to suggest that in the play’s setting, abandonment happens after a conflict between the characters. By showing Tom contemplating to abandon the family after his argument with his mother, Williams manages to connect the themes of dreams and aspirations with abandonment and family conflicts.
By saying “where he is gone,” Tom points at his father’s photograph and therefore, he suggests abandoning his sister and mother (Williams 34). The theme of abandonment is also seen when Tom quarrels with his mother and leaves home for unnamed location. Although Tom makes the final decision to abandon the family, Williams presents him thinking a lot about his sister. The thoughts indicate that Tom is haunted by his decision to abandon his sister and mother.
Williams uses the experiences of Tom at the workplace and home to bring out the theme of freedom and confinement. For instance, Tom claims that he does not want to spend his years in the “celotex interior with-fluorescent-tubes” (Williams 33). The author uses the claim to show that Tom is confined to his workplace and he lacks freedom. As a poet, Tom feels that his talent is threatened by his continuous stay at the shoe factory. However, Williams portrays him as an individual with little options given that he has to take care of the family.
Regarding the theme of dreams and aspirations, Williams builds the play in a way that portrays Tom, Laura and their father as individuals that are constantly pursuing their dreams but fail in most of their attempts. For instance, Laura dreams of becoming a successful artist, but her mother interrupts her aspirations as she sends her to a business school and always reminds her to get a boyfriend. Amanda’s hope for Laura fails to materialize when she abandons school and starts loitering in town. Amanda says that she hoped for “success and happiness” for her children, but she did not achieve it (Williams 23). Tom’s aspirations for a better life, just like his father lead him to abandon the family. The author uses the conversation among the characters and their memories to show how the play explores the theme of failed dreams.
The critics of Williams’ work, especially the aspect of themes argue that the play only reveals family conflicts that lead to the separation of characters. The argument is based on the setting of the play in that the acts revolve around one environment. However, the criticism fails to consider the author’s use of conversations among characters to build other themes. For instance, the conversation between Laura and her mother brings out the theme of marriage while Tom’s ranting and memories portray the theme of abandonment and confinement.
Therefore, contrary to the critics’ assertion that Williams’ “The Glass of Menagerie” fails to reveal its thematic concerns, the play reveals the author’s main ideas in the form of the theme of marriage and love, confinement, freedom and abandonment. The author uses the character’s conversations to portray these themes in a way that show the views of the protagonists. By using Tom’s narrations and the confrontation between him and his mother, the author succeeds in showing how the aspect of family relationships in the play gives rise to the other themes. Thus, the book can be recommended for readers that want to be entertained as they read much about the American society during the 20th century.
The Age of Miracles and The Glass Menagerie
Passage: “Meanwhile my soccer team practiced mostly as usual, and my mother’s drama students continued to rehearse their production of Macbeth. All across the country, events like these were held as planned. Shows had to go on. We clung to anything previously scheduled. To cancel seemed immoral, or it might mean we’d given up or lost hope” (Walker 104).
Julia describes the tenacious hold everyone has on adapting and what tactics they will use to continue on with their existences.
Although the public just found out about this unfortunate event, they are deciding to carry on with what is already programmed.
To be able to keep sane, preserving routines help control outrages.
Not yet obtaining realism.
Karen Thompson Walker’s novel gives a view on how the country, North America, is hooked into their own reality in a way and is aspiring to stay with their “flow.”
Schedules and plans are made to keep everything intact and organized. Without them there would be a sense of chaos everywhere we go.
This considers how insubstantial we would all be if there wasn’t something we could hang onto i.e., a clock.
Passage: “At school, we dissected frogs, we ran the mile, our spines were checked for scoliosis. Soccer season stretched into January because of all the games we’d canceled in the fall. But I’d lost interest in the sport. What was the point anymore? What did it matter?” (Walker 220).
After the discovery, the story suggests as if everyone wanted to keep everything little thing under control, but now it seems as if dismissing the fact is making it worse. Especially for those who are younger and/or do not apprehend with what is happening.
It suggests as if everyone is just going on with their personal lives with no worries.
Julia’s doubt of those who are investigating the subject at hand is growing stronger and stronger.
She is starting to give up and is question everything.
To Julia, nothing appeared as important and her persistence was beginning to fade.
In the middle of the novel, people are starting to lose hope in the scientists and their advances on figuring out what is going wrong with their planet.
Passage: “My mother says I spend too much time thinking about the past. We should look ahead, she says, to the time that’s left but the past is long, and the future is short. As I write this account, one ordinary life, our days have stretched to the lengths of weeks, and it’s hard to say which times are most hazardous now: the weeks of freezing darkness or the light” (Walker 388).
The past is something that you can’t help but consider at certain times.
Julia’s past made a colossal impact on her life.
As a result of this affect, Julia had to mature instantaneously and ultimately did not have the finest adolescence because of this.
What the general assumed was going to be a temporary dilemma, turned out to be everlasting.
Passage: “The straight realistic play with its genuine Frigidaire and authentic ice-cubes, its characters who speak exactly as its audience speaks, corresponds to the academic landscape and has the same virtue of a photographic likeness. Everyone should know nowadays the unimportance of the photographic in art: that truth, life, or reality is an organic thing which the poetic imagination can represent or suggest, in essence, only through transformation, through changing into other forms than those which were merely present in appearance” (Williams xix).
This play is meant to capture the audience’s attention and give the people something they can relate to or something that they are familiar with.
Tennessee Williams wanted to represent the realistic part of a family or of life in general.
Playwright Tennessee Williams also wanted to give an idea of what life was like in America during his time using during his time by using the literary genre, southern gothic and memories.
Passage: Laura: Now it is just like all the other horses
Jim: It’s lost its—
Laura: Horn! It doesn’t matter. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.
Jim: You’ll never forgive me. I bet that that was your favorite piece of glass.
Laura: I don’t have favorites much. It’s no tragedy, Freckles. Glass breaks so easily. No matter how careful you are. The traffic jars the shelves and things fall off them.
Jim: Still I’m awfully sorry that I was the cause.
Laura [smiling]: I’ll just imagine he has an operation. The horn was removed to make him feel less—freakish!
[They both laugh.]
Now he will feel more at home with the other horses, the ones that don’t have horns…
This represents how much Laura wants to be like the others in a metaphor of her being the unicorn and everyone else being the horses.
She realizes that if she gets rid of her horn or her disability in her case, she could become like the others and not stand out from the crowd.
Laura has a true complication of in grasping onto the real world.
Laura believes that her limp is keeping her from being with others who are not like her.
This could also show how alike Laura and the glass unicorn are.
They both do not fit into crowds and are both fragile.
Passage: Tom: I would have stopped, but I was pursued by something. It always came upon me unawares, taking me all together by surprise. Perhaps it was a familiar bit of music. Perhaps it was only a piece of transparent glass. Perhaps I am walking along a street at night, in some strange city, before I have found companions. I pass the lighted window of a shop where perfume is sold. The window is filled with pieces of glass, tiny transparent bottles in delicate colors, like bits of 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! (Williams 97).
It seems as if he can find a piece of Laura everywhere he goes and cannot escape his former home.
This quote could also imply what Tom is feeling after leaving his mom and sister as his dad did once before.
The memory of Laura gives the impression that Tom must be slowly regretting his departure.
The Glass Menagerie Illusion vs Reality [Essay]
The Fundamentals of the Play
When discussing one of the most famous plays like The Glass Menagerie written by Tennessee Williams, I would like to consider the fundamentals of the work. So, first of all, I would like to define the key themes.
Generally, one is to keep in mind that famous work discloses ten major themes, namely, illusion vs. reality, memory, freedom, quest, instinct vs. civilized behaviors, famous American Dream, a person’s survival in the machine age, fragility vs. strength, and a person’s need to be far away from his or her surrounding. The Glass Menagerie illusion vs. reality theme I would like to highlight in detail in this paper.
While speaking about the first theme, illusion vs. reality, I have to point out that the play explores a family that lives in the shadow of reality. The playwright Williams Tennessee alludes from his early life to write an explicit play focusing on the social lives of specific individuals. Amanda is a mother of two adult children Tom and Laura.
After her husband abandoned her, Amanda struggles to take care of the family. Unfortunately, besides suffering from mental instability, Laura is also crippled. Therefore, Tom has a job at the shoe warehouse to provide for the family. Consequently, the three members of the family become engrossed in illusions, an aspect, which separates them from the real world.
As the essay on illusion vs. reality in the story shows, the so-called illusions help the main characters escape an unpleasant reality. I suppose it is a loss of psychological space that makes the characters to realize that it is impossible to escape the realities of the real world. Dipa Janardanan believes that the author is able “to get to the marrow of universal truth – the human condition of an individual’s inability to escape a psychological loss of space no matter how much physical distance is attained” (24).
I have to admit that the playwright uses innovative production techniques to draw the reader’s’ attention to the contrast between illusion and reality. Moreover, the author showed us that the so-called survival mechanisms family decided to rely on were transformed into destructive power.
The Thesis Statement
One of the major themes of the play is considered to be the characters’ inability to meet reality, and the meaning of illusion for them. Taking into account the attitude of all characters towards the realities of life, one can conclude that the main characters require objectivity. No one is ready to accept reality because it is really painful. While considering such complex psychological situations, it becomes evident that the psychological loss of space seems to be one of the key problems the author highlights in his play.
Tennessee Williams and his Story
I would like to say a few words about the author of the play. Generally, there is a need to point out that the author’s father was adventurous and an alcoholic. His mother was a submissive but hysterical woman. Tennessee spent the first ten years of his life living with his grandparents.
His health deteriorated an aspect that did not only make him shy but also contributed to his social weakness (shy). Due to constant relocation and social/financial instability, Williams and his sister became close, however, after some time, Rose suffered from a mental breakdown, a development that equally traumatized Williams.
Similarly, Tennessee acquired poor social skills, and most of his peers referred to him as ‘Miss Nancy’ (Londre 20). Education-wise, he did not finish his first degree after failing his exams in the third year. However, after acquiring literacy skills from his grandfather’s library, the author embarked on writing plays. Most of his plays were a reflection of his early life.
He focused on themes such as sexual violence, social misfit, family, and financial constraints, among others. Tennessee wrote the play glass menagerie when the Second World War was about to end. Consequently, most spouses (men) had abandoned their families and ventured into the war, therefore, creating a social gap.
The Theme of Illusion vs Reality in The Glass Menagerie
Amanda Wingfield, who is one of the main characters of the play doesn’t live, but exists. Socially, Amanda’s husband abandoned her, leaving her with the financial and emotional burden to take care of the family. Amanda longs for financial and social success, but this element makes her adopt an illusionary life. Secondly, Amanda declines to accept the exit of her husband from the family; thus, acquiring a domineering and hysterical attitude, especially towards the children.
For instance, Amanda says, “Gone, gone, gone. All vestige of gracious living! Gone completely! I wasn’t prepared for what the future brought me” (Williams 694-696). This shows that Amanda has declined to let her past go and accept reality. So, this is an example of illusion. Unfortunately, Amanda can’t face the realities of life.
When analyzing the play, it becomes evident that in real life “Williamses were never as hard up as the fictional Wingfields and so, without denying the effect of the general socio-economic environment as an intensifying element, I tend to see Amanda’s insecurity as characteristic of the alcoholic’s family” (Debusscher 59).
While speaking about the second character – Laura, I have to point out that the girl lives in an illusionary world. According to Williams, Laura has “Little articles of [glass], they’re ornaments mostly! Most of them are little animals made out of glass, the tiniest small animals in the world.
Mother calls them a glass menagerie!” (547). Therefore, Laura distances herself from the real world. According to Joven, Laura is “like a piece of her own glass collection, too exquisitely fragile” (57). Consequently, as the summary shows, Laura is using both her physical and mental disability to detach herself from realism.
The third character is Tom. He struggles to balance his family’s responsibility as the breadwinner, thus, trying to escape from reality. According to Williams, Tom says, “There is a trick that would come in handy for me—get me out of this two-by-four situation!” (680).
Although Tom is narrating a movie to Laura, his mind is struggling to devise ways in which he can run away from home and offload the responsibility burden that always awaits him. Furthermore, he visits bars and theatres to stay away from home. However, Tom’s actions are unreal because he is the only male figure in the family.
However, abandoning his family means running away from the real aspects of life thus, he is living in a fantasy. The movie is only an illusionary step that, in reality, it is hard to accomplish. For instance, he says, “I am more faithful than I intended to be!” (Williams 682). As The glass Menagerie conclusion evidences, this statement shows that Tom finds it unreal to abandon his sister and mother, therefore, his dream of pursuing adventure away from home is only illusionary.
Similarly, according to critics, Tom’s “nature is not remorseless and to escape from the trust he has to act without pity” (Broom 20). However, he finally deserts his family when he loses his job. Therefore, Tom lives with an illusion that if he stays alone, then he may have a comfortable life.
Conclusion: Reality vs. Illusion Theme
In brief, Williams’ play focuses on the lives of three family members, who lack social skills. Thus, they become caught between realism and fantasy.
Although Amanda’s husband left her with family responsibilities, she is reluctant to accept her situation. She lives in the American dream, whereby everybody should have a comfortable life. In addition, she reflects on her early life, whereby her family was wealthy.
Surprisingly, she confers her son with financial responsibility a step, which motivates him to dream of how to abandon his family. Finally, due to her physical disability, Laura detaches herself from other people and become engrossed with her glass menagerie. Therefore, all three characters have to come out of their cocoons to face the real world. Thus, in the conflict of illusion vs. reality in The Glass Menagerie, reality wins.
Bloom, Harold. Tennessee Williams’s (Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations): The Glass Menagerie. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 2007. Print.
Debusscher, Gilbert. Tennessee Williams’s Dramatic Charade: Secrets and Lies in The Glass Menagerie, 2000. Web.
Janardanan, Dipa. Images of Loss in Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, Marsha Norman’s night, Mother, and Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive, 2007. Web.
Joven, Nilda. “Illusion Verses Reality in The Glass Menagerie.” Diliman Review 1.1(1966): 52-60. Print.
Londre, Hardison. Tennessee Williams. New York: Frederick ungar publishers, 1979. Print Williams, Tennessee. The glass menagerie. New York: Random house, 1950. Print.