The Glass Menagerie


The Glass Menagerie is a play written by Tennessee Williams during the 1940s. This play was written with the Great Depression being the setting. It is about a young man who becomes responsible for carrying for his family after his father abandons them. The main knows he has an obligation to look after his family but feels constant frustration and unhappiness because he is not able to do what he wants. His struggles represent certain aspects of life many people can relate to, even if they never experienced the Great Depression.

The main character in the play, Tom, narrates what is happening. He tells his story about his family including how his father abandoned them and who his sister and mother is. His mother wants his sister (her daughter) to have gentlemen callers or a date. The sister is shy in nature and she dropped out of school because of it. Her mother is not happy about it. Tom is not happy about his job or where he lives but gets into conflict with his mother about it. At the same time he knows he can’t leave his family because they have no form of support.

Tom would go out drinking, dancing and having a good time. His mother is not pleased with this behavior. They later make up even though he is still not happy with the way things are going. Later his mother asks him to set up a date for his sister. He picks a guy he works with that his mother approved of. His friend comes over to visit and his sister later ends up making out with him. She learns he is engaged and she later gets sad after Tom’s friend leaves the house. The mother gets upset at her son Tom for what happened. But Tom admits in the end he left his family but still gets haunted by his sister.

The plot and other elements of the story not only make for good entertainment on stage, but it makes people think about what really matters in life. The mother was obsessed over glass animals she had on display as they reminded her of beauty she once had. Her daughter was unable to do better for herself because of being too shy. Tom didn’t want to turn his back on his family but it seemed his family was too much with all the drama.

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