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"The Glass Menagerie", is a memory play of four characters, by writer Tennessee Williams. It was reworked and drafted from an earlier short story by Williams, premiering "in Chicago in the year 1944." There are "four main characters involved in the play", the three "Wingfield family members" and Mr. O'Connor, a guest. Amanda Wingfield is the family matriarch, trying to raise her two children on her own. She was "abandoned by the husband some sixteen years ago", and finds it a rough and hard task "to raise the children" under the prevailing harsh financial state controlling her life. Throughout the play, she can be seen and heard longing for her daughter and son, to enjoy the comfort and social life she had while growing up in the south. Tom Wingfield is Amanda's only son, who works at a warehouse but has the aspiration of being a writer.
Tom feels the obligation and responsibility of providing for the family, but sees this as a burden (Sparknotes, 2011). Laura Wingfield is Tom's only sister and the beloved daughter of Amanda. She has a very shy and sensitive personality from her mental condition and is also "slightly crippled." The last character, Jim O'Connor, is a work mate to Tom, knows Laura "from her high school days". Mr. O'Connor is "invited over for dinner" by the Wingfield family. Amanda and Laura have the desire to have him as Laura's husband. The audience does not see or hear from "the absentee husband" Mr. Wingfield, who is only represented by his large portrait that Amanda refers to frequently throughout the play. The Wingfield's house provides the main setting of the play, and "the different rooms are separated" by the curtains. The audience can see the living room and the kitchen (Williams, 1944).
The play, "the glass menagerie", is introduced by Tom to the audience. He is "the first character on stage" and plays the roles of "both narrator and interpreter", presenting it as "a memory play" (Bookrag, 2011). Tom exists some years later after the events presented in the play, in "this specific role" as he "introduces the other characters" to the audience. Through him, the audience is guided and the general direction of the play is made easy to comprehend (Williams, 2007). The actions of the play begin with Amanda calling Tom "to the supper table", to join her and Laura (W, 1944). We see her criticizing tom's eating habits and providing instructions, until the son responds with some disgust and leaves "the table to smoke". Amanda expresses her anxiety to find a suitor for her daughter even as she tells her the "story of the seventeen gentleman callers" (Williams, 1944).
The relationship between the mother and the son is strained with constant arguments. In one occasion, the mother harshly criticizes the son's habit of watching cheap movies "during his spare time" (Williams, 1944). Tom replies that "he cannot stand working for the family like he does", expressing underlying dislike for the prevailing condition of him being the bread winner (Sparknotes, 2011). He leaves and later returns home drunk, late at night. Amanda persuades his son to bring home a "gentleman caller" for the shy Laura. Tom later informs the mother that he had invited his friend at work, Mr. O'Connor, for dinner at their "house the next day".
The mother after this delightful happening decorates the house, ensuring everything looks good in preparation for the dinner to impress the guest. It turns out Jim is the man of Laura's dreams, all the way to high school. They later dance after dinner and everything seems to go well as they talk, before Jim kisses her and regrets it. Laura becomes greatly devastated as he tells her about his prior engagement to someone else. Amanda angered by these events, goes after Tom for not letting them know that Jim was engaged. After the bitter argument, Tom leaves their home and never returns. The somber play closes with Laura blowing out the candle (Williams, 1944).