The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams | Summary & Analysis

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Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie explained with scene summaries in just a few minutes! Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe provides an in-depth analysis of the plot, characters, symbols, themes, and stage direction of Tennessee Williams's play The Glass Menagerie. Download the free study guide and infographic for The Glass Menagerie here: https://www.coursehero.com/lit/The-Glass-Menagerie/infographic/ Set during the Great Depression, Tennessee Williams's play The Glass Menagerie is set in the claustrophobic domestic sphere of a small family coping with personal and economic strife. The narrator, Tom, is supporting his strident but well-intentioned mother and fragile sister in a small apartment. His mother, Amanda, is eager to marry off his sister, Laura, whose tenuous emotional state makes this a difficult task. Laura maintains a collection of small glass animals that mirror her delicate constitution. Tom is desperate to escape his situation but resentfully attempts to meet his responsibilities to his relatives. The three clash repeatedly and Laura's menagerie endures casualties on several occasions as a result. As Tom dispassionately describes his life, he recounts an experience that was painful for his sister and reveals that he has deserted his family. A parable illustrating the tension between self-definition and family obligation, the play painfully demonstrates the personal consequences of larger social forces. American playwright Tennessee Williams’s play The Glass Menagerie was first performed in 1944 and on Broadway in 1945. The play, Williams's first major success, is derived from memories of his own family life—even his time selling shoes. The play The Glass Menagerie contains many important symbols, including the fire escape, representing the Wingfields’s entrance to and exit from their illusionary world; the gentleman caller, representing future possibilities; the glass animals, representing Laura’s multifaceted personality; and blue roses, representing Laura’s high school crush. Important themes include abandonment, disillusionment, and living in the past. Explore Course Hero’s collection of free literature study guides, Q&A pairs, and infographics here: https://www.coursehero.com/lit/ About Course Hero: Course Hero helps empower students and educators to succeed! We’re fueled by a passionate community of students and educators who share their course-specific knowledge and resources to help others learn. Learn more at http://www.coursehero.com Master Your Classes™ with Course Hero! Get the latest updates: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/coursehero Twitter: https://twitter.com/coursehero

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