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The Glass Menagerie "seems to derive its continued if wavering force from its partly repressed representation of the quasi-incestuous and doomed love" between Tom and Laura" Harold Bloom. As far as the text of the play is concerned, the only time Tom really expresses his feelings about Laura is at the end, when he confesses that even though he has escaped from the stifling effect of the family home, he cannot forget Laura.
So many things remind him of her, and he is tormented by the memory: And the word he uses, "faithful," seems an unusual one for a brother to use about a sister.
The idea of being faithful is more usually applied to relationships between lovers or spouses rather than siblings. However, this passage is not in itself an indicator of an incestuous or even "quasi-incestuous" love.
During the play Tom does not, in the text, show any unusual attachment to his sister. However, the script of a play is only the bare bones of what it becomes in performance. There may be opportunities for the actors playing Tom and Laura to suggest a relationship between the two that might come close to the "partly repressed" incestuous love that Bloom writes about.
This opportunity was indeed taken in the celebrated television production, starring Katharine Hepburn as Amanda. At the beginning of scene 4, when Tom returned at five in the morning and entertained Laura with tales of what had happened at the theater, there was a flirtatious manner between them that suggested something more than conventional love between siblings.
In short, the playwright does not seem to have presented the relationship between Tom and Laura as "quasi-incestuous" in any consistent, obvious manner. However, it is possible to suggest such a relationship in performance.
Discuss Williams's use during the play of a screen bearing images or titles. Williams wanted productions of the play to use at certain moments a screen on which were projected slides bearing images or titles.
The purpose, according to Williams's production notes, was to stress the most important points in each scene. He realized that his play was rather episodic and he was concerned that the audience might lose track of the structure of the play, making it seem fragmentary.
The screens also described as legends were omitted from the Broadway production ofwhich Williams did not regret since Laurette Taylor's performance as Amanda was so powerful that he felt the production could be simplified.
Directors since have usually followed this lead, although Williams retained the use of the legends in the Reading Edition of the play. Many of the legends seem unnecessary. When Amanda reminisces about her youth, the image, "Amanda as a girl on a porch, greeting callers," does not add much to the audience's understanding.
Similarly, "A swarm of typewriters," the legend that is to appear as Amanda begins her story of her visit to Rubicam's business college, adds little to the story, since Amanda immediately goes on to explain that she went to see the typing instructor. More use can be seen for an image stating or illustrating "Crippled", when Laura utters the word, since Williams wrote that Laura's lameness can be merely suggested on the stage.
And when Tom says he likes a lot of adventure, the image that appears, "Sailing vessel with Jolly Roger," suggests Tom's later departure for the sea. In general, however, the verdict of time has been that the legends are not necessary and add little if anything to the effect of the play.
Discuss Williams's use of non-realist techniques in The Glass Menagerie. Williams repeatedly stressed that he was not writing realistic drama. In his production notes to The Glass Menagerie he disparaged realism in drama, comparing it to a mere photographic likeness, whereas "truth, life, or reality is an organic thing which the poetic imagination can represent or suggest, in essence, only through transformation, through changing into other forms than those which were merely present in appearance.
This is a breach of realistic convention, in which the actors are obliged to pretend that the audience does not exist. Tom also hints at the nonrealistic nature of the play when he says that in contrast to a stage magician who provides illusion in the guise of truth, "I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.
There are other occasions when Williams deliberately disrupts any sense of realism in the play. In scene 1, for example, when Amanda and Laura are seated at the table, "eating is indicated by gestures without food or utensils. Tom deliberately brings attention to this breach of realism: That explains the fiddle in the wings.
The stage is dim, but shafts of light illuminate selected areas or characters. Lighting often serves to keep Laura as the center of attention even when this is not apparent from the action in the scene. For example, as Williams himself points out in the production notes, in the quarrel between Tom and Amanda scene 3a scene that does not directly involve Laura, the light shines on her nonetheless.
So too in the supper scene, when Laura lies on the sofa, taking no part in the conversation, the light is still focused on her. What does The Glass Menagerie reveal about the lives of women during this time period? The world depicted in the play is one in which men can shape their lives as they choose, even if it means behaving irresponsibly, while women must accept a circumscribed and dependent position.Tennessee Williams play, The Glass Menagerie is a family drama focusing on the Wingfield family and their love for one another, though at times it may be hard to see that love.
This AP* Literature Teaching Unit helps you teach The Glass Menagerie and at the same time prepare your students for the AP Literature and Composition Exam. It's easy to add this unit to your lesson plan, and it will.
1. Identify Amanda Wingfield, Laura Wingfield and Tom Wingfield. 2. Where does the play take place? 3. How does Scene One indicate that Amanda is overbearing and sometimes cruel yet clearly loves her children?
Tennessee Williams – The Glass Menagerie Essay - Part 2 “He is the most realistic character in the play, being an emissary from a world of reality that we were somehow set apart from - Tennessee Williams – The Glass Menagerie Essay introduction he is the long-delayed but always expected something that we live for.” (Williams 5) – Jim’s first introduction by Tom as a narrator.
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/5(K).
Tennessee Williams’ classic play, The Glass Menagerie () was an extension of the expressionism that came out of Europe in the early 20 th century.
In essence, expressionism interprets the world through the artist’s internal, subjective lens, not as an objective reflection of reality. Questions/Study Guide for The Glass Menagerie Type or handwrite (neatly!) your answers to the following questions.
A link to the script is available on my website: attheheels.com