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Terms in this set (36)
At 28, Williams moved to New
Orleans, where he changed his
The glass menagerie is a
memory play: play's story is
narrated by a central character
looking back on the events presented
Title Refers to Laura and her Glass
Lovely but fragile,
these prized figures are regarded as
a metaphor for their owner
Laura and Tom's mother,
Amanda is a proud, vivacious woman who clings
to memories of the past and is at the same time
courageous and foolish, charming and pitiable.
She is supposed to represent Tennessee's mother
The theme for the story is
Memory:The play is Tom's memory
of the past
Tom's opening speech sketches the social background of the play and introduces the main characters.
What basic information does Tom provide in this speech about his family? About the gentleman caller?
About the nature of the play itself?
One of these character's is his father who only appears as a picture on a wall. From this we see that his father is no longer with the family. The other characters are his mother, Amanda, his sister, Laura, and a gentleman caller who appears in the last scenes of the play
In Scene One, what indications are there that there is tension in the family? Who seems to cause the tension?
In Scene One, the greatest indications of tension in the family occur when they are all eating dinner together for the first time in the play. It is usually caused by Amanda
A play is put in motion by some element that upsets the situation at the beginning of the story. The
element that sets this play in motion arrives in Scene Two. What is it? How does it upset the opening situation, and how does it set the play in motion?
In scene two, Amanda finds out that Laura has not been attending business school like she was supposed to. This upsets the situation because all Amanda wants for Laura is to settle down with a nice job and start a family, and this business school might give her the chance to.
In Scene Two, what does Laura say and do to reveal that she is "set apart" from the real world?
The first of these situations is when her mother asks why she hasn't been going to business school and she still tries to avoid the subject because the fact that she broke down and threw up in front of everybody was just too difficult for her to face and so she does all that she can
to avoid having to talk to her mother about it.
What is the significance of the "blue roses" that appear on the screen at the start of Scene Two?
When Laura met Jim, the boy she liked in high school. She told him that she had pleurosis. However, because she is so shy she spoke quietly so Jim though she said "blue roses". From then on Jims nickname for Laura was "blue roses".
At this point in the play, does Amanda seem to be a weak or a strong character? Does she arouse your
sympathy, or do you think Williams wants you to dislike her? Explain.
She is a strong character. I think Williams wants us to dislike her.
How is it shown that the boy in the yearbook was important to Laura? Why doesn't Amanda seem particularly interested in this young man?
He was Laura's ONLY crush; he's the only one who she seems interested in, "Blue Roses" is important to the play
In The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams has created "theater Poetry" by using various arts besides language. For example, he uses the two transparencies at the beginning of the play to enhance the idea that this is a memory play. Check through the stage directions and dialogue to find other uses of visual and sound effects, which, combined with words, help to create "theater poetry." Do any of these effects add a touch of humor to the play?
Humor not really, emotion yes. The music moves the viewer in certain ways, but this play isn't a comedy
Few people have Laura's specific physical handicap. Do you think most people can identify with her? Why or why not?
I feel they can because we are all insecure about something about ourselves. Her handicap
issue is what she is insecure about, that doesn't mean we all have that issue, but the feeling
Discuss the meaning and symbolism behind what Laura does when she is not attending Rubicam's Business College? What do these activities say about her personality?
She goes to the park, museum, zoo, movies, glass house, and Jewel Box. Escapism.
In Scene Two, Amanda is in conflict with Laura. Who is in conflict in Scene Three? What starts the conflict, and what is it about?
Tom and Amanda. Tom is drunk and wants to go to the movies.
Each Wingfield escapes from unpleasant reality into a comforting, private world. In Scene One, Amanda
escapes from her present circumstances by remembering and talking about her past youth, her beauty, and her romantic successes. How does Laura escape from the real world? What does Tom do to escape from his unhappiness?
Her glass menagerie. Tom goes to the movies and drinks.
What part does Laura play in the angry argument between Tom and Amanda?
when Laura falls down the fire escape she brings the two together with the shared concern they have for her.
What does Tom ask Amanda to do?
Amanda asks Tom to "keep an eye out for potential suitors" at the warehouse
How is Laura's relationship with Tom different from her relationship with Amanda? How can you tell that Tom is truly fond of Laura?
The relationship that Tom has with Laura is more understanding than the relatinship Laura has with Amanada. This is because Tom seems to care about Laura's feelings rather than getting her a gentleman caller.
Amanda often refers to her absent husband, and his grinning picture is highlighted at various times during the play. What does the photograph represent to Amanda? To Tom? How is the photograph a constant threat to Amanda and Laura's survival?
The photo represents the mistake that Amanda believes she made.
To Tom, his father's picture is the symbol of adventure that he has not yet found or sought.
The picture of the absent father is a constant reminder of the financial instability that Amanda and Laura constantly face as unmarried women without a steady income or husband.
Do you think Amanda wants the gentleman caller for Laura, or do you think she wants to recapture
her youth? Give text-based evidence to support your answer.
I think she is a little bit of both. Because while she loves her daughter in her own strange way she also wants to feel young in that dress she has and also seeing gentleman callers remind her of a simpler time
Why is the unicorn an appropriate symbol for Laura's glass menagerie?
Because it represents her since she's the odd one out
Discuss the disappointments each character faces and how he/she copes with these disappointments.
Tom is disappointed that his mother is a nagging old lady and decides to leave. Amanda is disappointed at her son and tells him to leave. Laura is disappointed at herself for believing Jim and responds by screaming
Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each character.
Tom is strong and independent but selfish and a jerk. Amanda is string wiled but obsessive and a nagging brat. Laura is kind sweet and in her own way smart but is mentally challenged and gets to nervous about everything. Jim is a string lover kind of guy but is a major jerk.
Why is it important to Amanda that the gentleman caller doesn't drink?
So they aren't a drunk like her ex husband
Discuss the reason why Laura feels ill when the gentleman caller arrives.
Because she just gets really nervous because that is who she is
What do Tom's final words of the play mean? What do the lit candles represent?
That he is finally letting go of the past. Memories
Why does Tom say the coffin trick would come in handy for him?
It would come in handy when he finally decides to leave
At the end of The Glass Menagerie, why does Tom ask Laura to blow her candles out, and why does she blow the candles out? For what symbolic reasons does Williams end the play with this?
So that he can forget about her. She blows it out because Tom has finally forgotten about her.
In the play, the gentleman caller represents, "the long delayed, but always expected something that
we live for." Explain what this means.
The thing that we want in life but could really never get
How does Tom justify abandoning his family?
That he followed in his fathers footsteps
What are Laura's social difficulties and issues in The Glass Menagerie?
She turns into a nervous wreck, she is a little mentally challenged, and she has never really experienced what it is to be a normal girl
At the end of The Glass Menagerie, what is Tom's realization about his personal desires against his
responsibilities towards others?
That his personal desires are more important than his responsibilities
Explain the dramatic irony of Amanda's remark to Tom in their final dialogue in The Glass
Menagerie: "You don't know things anywhere! You live in a dream; you manufacture illusions!"
What's ironic about this is that she herself is always living in a dream
In scene seven, the unicorn is knocked off the table and it loses its horn, how does this incident
relate to Laura?
The unicorn represents her being different and when it loses its horn it shows her turning somewhat normal
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