The Glass Menagerie - Tennesse Williams

The Glass Menagerie


Title: The Glass Menagerie

Author:                       Tennesse Williams

Other information:    edition for the Vienna English Theatre

Type of book: It´s a realistic drama.

Subject:                      The play is about a family consisting of mother, son and daughter, who                             are - each in a special way - not able to cope with reality.

Setting:                       The story takes place in the thirties in America

Characters:                There are four characters in the play:

Amanda: Amanda Wingfield the mother of Tom and Laura. It is a woman who lives in the past, when she was young and admired, but she is of  great ambition concerning her children without really understanding their needs.

Her daughter is Laura, a very shy girl, because she is crippled and suffering from an infariority complex. She lives in her own world, "The Glass Menagerie", and shuts out everything that might give her troubles.

Tom is working in a warehous to support the family. He secretly writes poems and is hungry for adventures, which he finds in the movies. Finally he escapes the dull atmosphere of his home by enrolling in the Merchandise Army.

The last character is Jim O´Conner, Laura´s gentleman caller. He is the typical American, a former High-school darling, a good sportsman and very ambitious to get along.

Events/Plot: The main problem is, that Laura is too shy to face reality. She also stopped to going to school, because of being too nervous. So her mother worries about the future of her daughter and presses Tom, who wants toleave the family to invite a gentle man caller for Laura. So Tom invites Jim, a friend from High-school and the Ware-house for dinner, which turns out to be a desaster.

Ideas:                         It is a presentation of the pre-war American society, where all people lived in a kind of dream world waiting for the bombs to fall.

Oppinions/Comment: I liked the book because for me it was something new, I also enjoyed Tennesse William´s language and style. I can recommend this book to everybody who is interested in reading or listening to good English.

Characterisation of Laura

Laura is the daughter of Amanda Wingfield. She has an elder brother called Tom. Laura is crippled because of a childhood illnes. One leg is shorter, but it is hardly noticeable. Perhaps as a consequence of this Laura is terribly shy and isn´t able to speak to others without stammering. So she wasn´t very popular during college time and boys didn´t even notice her. She dropped out of commercial school because she wa so nervous that she vomited before her first test. Having nothing to do she spends most of her time listening to old records or playing with her glass animals. Her isolation makes makes her lose any contact to reality. She lives in a dream world hiding from her problems. Her only link to reality is her brother, tom. He is the only person Laura can talk to. Things seem to change, when Tom invites a friend. Jim O´Conner turns out to be the only boy Laura was ever interested in during her high school years. Jim manages to break Laura´s isolation and she again falls in love with him - and even minding that he breaks her favourite glassanimal when dancing with her. The greater the shock when Jim has to tell her that he is engaged and that there is no hope for calling on her. She retreats in her dream world

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