No play in the modern theatre has so captured the imagination and heart of the American public as Tennessee Williams s The Glass Menagerie As Williams s first popular success, it launched the brilliant, if somewhat controversial, career, of our pre eminent lyric playwright Since its premiere in Chicago in , with the legendary Laurette Taylor in the role of Amanda, Menagaerie has been the bravura piece for great actresses from Jessica Tandy to Joanne Woodward, and is studied and performed in classrooms and theatres around the world The Glass Menagerie in the reading text the author preferred is now available only in its New Directions Paperbook edition A new introduction by the editor of The Tennessee Williams Annual Review, Robert Bray, reappraises the play than half a century after it won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award This edition of The Glass Menagerie also includes Williams s essay on the impact of sudden fame on a struggling writer, The Catastrophe of Success, as well as a short section of Williams s own Production Notes back cover


10 thoughts on “The Glass Menagerie

  1. Ahmad Sharabiani Ahmad Sharabiani says:

    The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams The Glass Menagerie is a memory play by Tennessee Williams that premiered in 1944 and catapulted Williams from obscurity to fame The play has strong autobiographical elements, featuring characters based on its author, his histrionic mother, and his mentally fragile sister Laura In writing the play, Williams drew on an earlier short story, as well as a screenplay he had written under the title of The Gentleman Caller 2000 The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams The Glass Menagerie is a memory play by Tennessee Williams that premiered in 1944 and catapulted Williams from obscurity to fame The play has strong autobiographical elements, featuring characters based on its author, his histrionic mother, and his mentally fragile sister Laura In writing the play, Williams drew on an earlier short story, as well as a screenplay he had written under the title of The Gentleman Caller 2000 1378 145 964921397 1383 964960023 20 1381 112 9647487010 1382 1383 1387 1392 1386 160 9647640307 1389 9789647640305 1390 1395 158 1395 96 9786004360425


  2. Brina Brina says:

    Over the course of the last month I have read the classic plays of Tennessee Williams Williams first successful play, The Glass Menagerie initially opened in Chicago in the spring of 1944 and then moved to New York three months later What he dubs a memory play, The Glass Menagerie focuses on a family much like Williams own family, and hones in on the human emotions that allow a family to function Containing seven scenes all in one location and four characters, The Glass Menagerie is powerfu Over the course of the last month I have read the classic plays of Tennessee Williams Williams first successful play, The Glass Menagerie initially opened in Chicago in the spring of 1944 and then moved to New York three months later What he dubs a memory play, The Glass Menagerie focuses on a family much like Williams own family, and hones in on the human emotions that allow a family to function Containing seven scenes all in one location and four characters, The Glass Menagerie is powerful piece that is still widely read and studied today It is St Louis in between the two world wars Amanda Wingfield has been unable to cope with her husband s disappearance of the last sixteen years and has raised her two grown children Tom and Laura essentially on her own The husband s portrait graces the mantel and despite his abandoning of the family he is held in high regard All three Wingfields come with baggage stemming from the father s flight, and an outsider would view the family as dysfunctional Williams presents the family in this light, even noting in the introduction that Laura resembles his sister Rose and Tom could possibly be himself I believe this is what made the play as effective as it was because Williams wrote what he knew and was able to create deep characters Amanda in her own way attempts to do what she thinks is best for Tom and Laura, but as they are now grown, she has little authority over them Tom from a young age took over the role of man of the house and turns over all of his earnings to Amanda Meanwhile, Amanda desired for Laura to learn to be a typist and for Tom to go into business, but neither lasted long at night school She thinks highly of both of them while glossing over their faults, leading Tom to want to follow in his father s footsteps while Laura lives in her own world of glass figurines Because this play takes place in one location and does not contain much action, it was easy to be read and create images of the characters in my mind I enjoyed the imagery of Amanda as a middle aged southern woman who was once a belle as well as Tom who desired to see the world Williams talks of the world at large by mentioning the Century of Progress in Chicago as well as the Guernica in Spain A great world is taking place outside of the apartment and Tom wants to be a part of it in spite of his mother s intentions Had the play containedcharacters, interactions, and locations, it would not have lended itself to be read rather than viewed It is in this regard that Williams timeless works remain accessible I have enjoyed my close study of Tennessee Williams plays I visited with the Kowalskis of New Orleans, the Moffits of Memphis, and now the Wingfields of St Louis I have found it refreshing to read plays because one gets to know characters in a manner muchintimately than over the course of a long book full of action Williams plays run the gamut of human emotions and often contain both exhilaration and despondency from the same characters in the same play Reading these short yet powerful plays, it is easy to root personae on as their emotions run the entire spectrum After reading these three plays in close proximity of each other, I see how Williams characters have remained timeless even fifty years later I encourage others to pick a playwright and read many of their works to see how emotions and themes repeat themselves across time and place For this memory play, I rate The Glass Menagerie 4.5 bright stars


  3. Hailey (Hailey in Bookland) Hailey (Hailey in Bookland) says:

    Reread for class 2017Still a great play I originally read this 5 or 6 years ago for my high school English class and it is so interesting now getting a new perspective in a university class.


  4. Eric Jay Sonnenschein Eric Jay Sonnenschein says:

    The Glass Menagerie is a great domestic tragedy with three very distinctive characters the strong, proud Amanda, the weak and innocent Laura, and the realistic dreamer, Tom One finds in this play an elegiac portrait of misery, rather than a scalding enactment of taboo There is no one tragic event here, but a general condition of pathos Instead of a classic conflict, The Glass Managerie depicts a lack of cooperation We find in the Wingfield home no crime, but a chronic, aching social and eco The Glass Menagerie is a great domestic tragedy with three very distinctive characters the strong, proud Amanda, the weak and innocent Laura, and the realistic dreamer, Tom One finds in this play an elegiac portrait of misery, rather than a scalding enactment of taboo There is no one tragic event here, but a general condition of pathos Instead of a classic conflict, The Glass Managerie depicts a lack of cooperation We find in the Wingfield home no crime, but a chronic, aching social and economic woe This archetypal modern family, the single parent, broken home, implodes under its own grief and slow moving, yet inexorable catastrophe The reader audience has an impending sense that the situation can never improve nor the relationships grow There is no break in the clouds, no sun on the horizon These characters are locked into their fates Any recognition, peripatea, must inevitably lead not to hope and acceptance, but abandonment and dissolution If tragedy always documents a change, the only changes that can occur in The Glass Menagerie are hard wired and inevitable the escape of the son imitating the absent father , the insitutionalization of the mentally ill sister, and the death of the aging and increasingly delusional mother This pervading and gnawing sense of the Wingfields doom counters Mother Amanda s brave and delusional hopes and optimism Perhaps this collision of Amanda s futile optimism and displaced gentility with the family s sordid present constitutes the primary conflict in the play I always admired The Glass Menagerie because it reinvented the tragic form for the modern condition and sensibility This is the no fault tragedy for a random, no fault universe There is no nemesis here and no unadulterated protagonist, unless Amanda, the matriarch, qualifies as one Amanda is the one character who, like her or not, propels the family forward toward its reckoning When she schemes to snare a beau for her disabled daughter, Amanda can seem desperate and disingenous to the point of being annoying But as she makes her unsolicited telephone solicitations, using her southern belle gift for conversation, one aches for her and recognizes how courageous and determined she truly is.The final message of the memory play, although never stated, is that there is a price for Amanda s brand of optimism Living in one s dreams can be dangerous Like all perishable things, optimism can rot Hope degrades to delusion and bitterness Denial of reality ultimately is a death factor like denial of air.Glass Menagerie reads very well It also can play well I have seen it with different actors, including Jessica Lange, who seemed a bit too young and sexual to play Amanda It is a difficult play to stage, demanding great concentration and energy Ultimately it demands from actors and director a fidelity to the spirit of the play it cannot withstand gimmickry In fact, a beautiful set and great production values defeat this play


  5. Susan Budd Susan Budd says:

    Oh Laura Poor damaged Laura If there has ever been asensitive and poignant portrayal of mental illness than Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie, I have yet to come across it Laura breaks my heart It is impossible not to love her and want to shelter her from the world.She is a unicorn among horses A blue rose among the weeds A shattered rainbow.Twice in the text Williams refers to her fragile, unearthly prettiness 51, 67 The stage light that shines upon her has a peculiar pri Oh Laura Poor damaged Laura If there has ever been asensitive and poignant portrayal of mental illness than Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie, I have yet to come across it Laura breaks my heart It is impossible not to love her and want to shelter her from the world.She is a unicorn among horses A blue rose among the weeds A shattered rainbow.Twice in the text Williams refers to her fragile, unearthly prettiness 51, 67 The stage light that shines upon her has a peculiar pristine clarity such as light used in early religious portraits of female saints or madonnas xxi xxii Laura was not made for this world When her mother takes her to the Young People s League at church, she speaks to no one and no one speaks to her When her mother enrolls her in business college, she becomes so nervous that she throws up on the floor When the gentleman caller visits, she nearly faints from fright Amanda worries that Laura just drifts along doing nothing 34 Tom observes that she s terribly shy and lives in a world of her own 47 48 And they are right Laura lives in a world of Victrola music and glass animals She seems to have no awareness of the peril of her situation It has been six years since high school When Jim asks her what she has been doing since then, she tells him that her glass collection takes up a lot of time When her mother finds out she hasn t been going to business college, she explains that she has been walking in the park and visiting the penguins in the zoo.Laura is based on Williams sister Rose The Glass Menagerie is a memory play, and as Tom says in the opening monologue, I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion 4 Poor Rose was subjected to a prefrontal lobotomy as a so called treatment for her schizophrenia Williams never forgot her He visited her in the institution and provided for her care for the rest of her life.Our society no longer commits this barbaric violence against the mentally ill, but mental illness is still misunderstood and the mentally ill are still stigmatized When Amanda becomes exasperated, she says to Laura I m sick, too of your nonsense Why can t you and your brother be normal people Fantastic whims and behavior 57 Amanda loves her daughter, but she doesn t understand her Tom has a better understanding of his sister because he is not quite normal either He can function in the outside world, but his dreams of adventure, his literary aspirations, his poetic soul, set him apart from the other men at the warehouse If not for his acquaintance with Jim from high school, he would still be an outsider there, someone viewed with suspicious hostility 50 Instead, thanks to Jim s good natured friendliness, he is accepted as one accepts an oddly fashioned dog 51 An improvement but only barely Unlike his sister, however, Tom is well enough to escape And he does He escapes from the coffin, but not without removing a nail Does he feel like Malvolio the Magician Does Williams Tom is not malevolent He is just trapped And for the sake of his own mental health, he must escape Mental illness takes its toll on the family too In the end, what will become of poor Laura Abandoned by her father Abandoned by her gentleman caller And now abandoned by her brother Her little world is as fragile as her glass menagerie One act of clumsiness a swing of a coat, a misstep in a dance, an impulsive kiss is enough to shatter it to bits What will become of her in a world that was not made for people like her Tom may not know But Williams does The world is not kind to people like her And in its clumsiness, it destroys them Blue roses are beautiful, but they are not of this world


  6. James James says:

    Book Review4 of 5 stars to The Glass Menagerie, written in 1945 by Tennessee Williams The play is told from the perspective of Tom, the son of Amanda and brother of Laura, three members of the Wingfield family living in Missouri in the 1930s Amanda s husband, the and kids father, left years ago and has not been heard from Both Laura and Tom are in their early twenties Amanda wants to marry off her daughter, convincing Tom to bring home a friend from work to create a set up It faBook Review4 of 5 stars to The Glass Menagerie, written in 1945 by Tennessee Williams The play is told from the perspective of Tom, the son of Amanda and brother of Laura, three members of the Wingfield family living in Missouri in the 1930s Amanda s husband, the and kids father, left years ago and has not been heard from Both Laura and Tom are in their early twenties Amanda wants to marry off her daughter, convincing Tom to bring home a friend from work to create a set up It fails, as he s already involved with another girl, and the story ends basically where it begins It s a powerful tale about the relationships between parents and children and siblings It s about women s rights and their place in a 1930s world It s about fighting versus talking It s about dating versus falling in love It s about poverty and money The story has a lot of mini arcs, all about the different parts of their lives who did what, where, when, how and why It s a good read, especially as a play and has been produced in probably every high school across the country What I liked about it was the harsh and raw reality of life for some people, especially young girls who needed to be married off it s a classic and should be read by all especially if you know a little bit about Tennessee Williams and his own thoughts and actions in the worldAbout MeFor those new to me or my reviews here s the scoop I read A LOT I write A LOT And now I blog A LOT First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at where you ll also find TV Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I ve visited all over the world And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who what when where and my pictures Leave a comment and let me know what you think Vote in the poll and ratings Thanks for stopping by Note All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them Many thanks to their original creators polldaddy poll 9729544


  7. Christian Doig Christian Doig says:

    Perhaps this talks to meabout my life than other Williams masterpieces do I don t know, but reading through the whole gentleman caller preparations made my very soul shiver The author has split his personality, and you have Amanda, Laura, Tom and Jim somehow unifying to reflect themselves both the unit and the broken pieces, the ashes of glass that are the reader at least in my case.A thing of beauty in Williams hands will always bleed straight from the heart His symbols, states of Perhaps this talks to meabout my life than other Williams masterpieces do I don t know, but reading through the whole gentleman caller preparations made my very soul shiver The author has split his personality, and you have Amanda, Laura, Tom and Jim somehow unifying to reflect themselves both the unit and the broken pieces, the ashes of glass that are the reader at least in my case.A thing of beauty in Williams hands will always bleed straight from the heart His symbols, states of mind, moods, the delicate tragedy which he makes out of the world s cruelest instances, even the failure that lies behind a successful tale of survival connotations, all hit too close to home I don t think Williams is for everyone, and yet, apart from The Glass Menagerie s most singular traits of storytelling, here is an artist altogether aware of his tools to the point of elaborating a rather brilliant self commentary on the way fiction works including how it can turn to be a revenge of sorts against suffering.I absolutely love, adore, the climaxing scene where Laura s dream suddenly begins to be fulfilled only to end up crashing in a nightmare of depressive realisation Miraculous just about describes the God given insight that allowed Williams to get to know the precise events and feelings and reactions, and consequences, which drove my life to deadly stillness before a heavenly awakening that prevented me from falling into everlasting oblivion Amanda is the promising past not unlike Blanche would soon be , and Tom is the delusive present however, Laura rests on that sofa or sits on this floor, holding her pet glass unicorn, in a place out of any chronological consideration a real life reject left behind in her own niche to shine, a prematurely withered moth, because the light was out


  8. David Schaafsma David Schaafsma says:

    Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve But I am the opposite of a stage magician He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion Tom Winfield, The Glass Menagerie The Glass Menagerie is the play that made its playwright Tennessee Williams famous, his first big hit in a career of wonderful accomplishments, probably one of his two or three best plays I taught it a few times, saw it a few times, saw both film ad Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve But I am the opposite of a stage magician He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion Tom Winfield, The Glass Menagerie The Glass Menagerie is the play that made its playwright Tennessee Williams famous, his first big hit in a career of wonderful accomplishments, probably one of his two or three best plays I taught it a few times, saw it a few times, saw both film adaptations and preferred the Paul Newman directed one with John Malkovich as Tom , and just while driving listened to one godawful audiotaped rendition of the play by a guy named Tom Kent Mr Kent is a northerner who attempts a screeching, Moms Mabley yes, ALL the characters sound like Moms Mabley, and I know that 90% of you probably don t know who that it is, sorry travesty of an interpretation of the play complete with cringing mispronunciations throughout I could have turned it off, but didn t, because, well, you still have Williams words, his language, his heart The scene is memory and is therefore nonrealistic Memory takes a lot of poetic license It omits some details others are exaggerated, according to the emotional value of the articles it touches, for memory is seated predominantly in the heart WilliamsMenagerie is what Williams calls a memory play that takes place in the thirties, when the huge middle class of America was matriculating in a school for the blind Their eyes had failed them, or they had failed their eyes, and so they were having their fingers pressed forcibly down on the fiery Braille alphabet of a dissolving economy Tom It is his most autobiographical play, creating characters much like his family His father was, like Tom s father, a telephone salesman who fell in love with long distance i.e., he ditched the family like Tom s mother Williams mother was left to worry pre social network just how the family might survive Laura I m just bewildered by life collects glass figurines her glass menagerie and is, like Williams sister, a unicorn, an oddly special, fragile girl, physically disabled, mentally unstable, for whom Amanda wants a husband When you look at a piece of delicately spun glass you think of two things how beautiful it is and how easily it can be broken Williams, who took on the name Tennessee, was born Thomas, and like Tom in the play, felt the burden of taking care of his family as he longed to see the world and write about it Tom is the narrator of the play, moving in and out of scene, working in a warehouse, going to movies to escape, until he could enact his plan to like his father hit the road or in Tom and Tennessee s case, join the armed forces He is sick of living at home Tom I go to the movies because I like adventure Adventure is something I don t have much of at work, so I go to the movies Amanda on Tom You live in a dream, you manufacture illusions The play involves a series of sad, desperate failures in Amanda s attempt to secure a future for her daughter She finds that Laura has not been going to typing classes they have paid dearly for her to take Instead, she spends that time walking the street, daydreaming The central event of the play is Tom s agreeing to invite a gentleman caller for dinner to meet Laura The Wingfield family is moored very much in the south of the past, like Blanche in Streetcar, facing a future Tom would seem to embody, the future of television, electronics, public speaking, financial success Things look promising when Tom arrives, and he is nice to Laura, just bursting with American plucky idealism and correspondence school self help People are not so dreadful when you know them That s what you have to remember And everybody has problems, not just you, but practically everybody has got some problems You think of yourself as having the only problems, as being the only one who is disappointed But just look around you and you will see lots of people as disappointed as you are Why, you re not crippled, you just have a little defect hardly noticeable, even When people have some slight disadvantage like that, they cultivate other things to make up for it develop charm and vivacity and charm but you don t have to work too hard to imagine how things work out.As when we see Streetcar s Blanche, in Menagerie we view a family in financial peril, with a woman particularly in peril because she is a woman Fragile, close to shattering like glass, Laura cannot support herself and maybe never will be able to Precarity is the name of the day, washed in lovely, melancholy colors bathed in wonderful poetic language The play, because it features two teenagers, is read usually in high school, but it is lovely for anyone, really


  9. Brian Yahn Brian Yahn says:

    I am completely blown away The Glass Menagerie is a perfect mirror of the dysfunctional American family An overbearing, yet well intentioned mother abandoned by her lover A son filled with Hollywood style dreams of adventure but living a life of monotonous toil A defective daughter who has little interest in anything, besides the glass animals she collects week and frail as herself.The way Tennessee Williams pits all of these characters against each other, and how all of their desires come I am completely blown away The Glass Menagerie is a perfect mirror of the dysfunctional American family An overbearing, yet well intentioned mother abandoned by her lover A son filled with Hollywood style dreams of adventure but living a life of monotonous toil A defective daughter who has little interest in anything, besides the glass animals she collects week and frail as herself.The way Tennessee Williams pits all of these characters against each other, and how all of their desires come together and blow up in flames is simply perfect It starts slow, but for a play so short, it doesn t even matter Once it gets going, holy cow


  10. Mariel Mariel says:

    The Glass Menagerie is a weird one for me There s a better word for it than weird I m a crap writer though I ll leave it at that There s no thesaurus mindreader thing for what I m feeling.There are stories that we know every word of before we ve ever read, seen or heard them The Glass Menagerie is one of those for me We d act out scenes and make references like we actually knew what we were talking about My mom especially loved the rise and shine routine Remember that scene in Joe Ve The Glass Menagerie is a weird one for me There s a better word for it than weird I m a crap writer though I ll leave it at that There s no thesaurus mindreader thing for what I m feeling.There are stories that we know every word of before we ve ever read, seen or heard them The Glass Menagerie is one of those for me We d act out scenes and make references like we actually knew what we were talking about My mom especially loved the rise and shine routine Remember that scene in Joe Versus the Volanoe when Tom Hanks didn t know it but he knew it that he couldn t possibly have a brain cloud He runs his hands back and forth over his head to gesticulate that he KNEW it Once upon a time Tom Hanks was really cool This was before anyone ever told him that he resembled Jimmy Stewart in bad lighting My mom bought us freaking glass figurines to encourage it It was all part of her sick thing to encourage my social anxiety like how some moms encourage obesity by overfeeding and then afterwards picking on their fat kids The Brando Street Car was a frequent run in our house too My brother was given ciggies and wife beater shirts No lie The times when I d beg not to go to school cause I was being bullied during volleyball practice A reference to Laura s embarrassment to arrive to school late and limp in front of everyone I could go on and on My mom s sympathies were with the mom, Amanda I felt like I already knew Laura s displacement.If my twin were here right now I d ask her if the Paul Newman directed version was one of those filmed from the stage John Malkovich movies like True West and The Death of a Salesman both are superb if you ve never seen em I m thinking it was filmed for tv I m probably wrong and Lauren will later tell me that I am soooo wrong Anyway, I love this version.Anyway, it was Tom who killed me when I watched the Newman version over and over again It was his escape that I felt was being shown back to me More than Laura s painstaking care of her self built world I loved the one that Tom reached out to in outside sources like films I love Killer Wingfield Let s go to the movies, Shakespeare.The weird thing is that I m having difficulty coming up with a whole for this I know how I feel about their day to day How the hell did it end I m coming up with nothing Should it feel like that I KNEW it