Literary Analysis Paper

Submitted By Jewsox18
Words: 1087
Pages: 5

Sam Press

December 4 2014

Engl 112
Literary Analysis Paper The story of The Glass Menagerie is that of the Wingfield family. The story’s main character Tom narrates the play and brings the audience into the household where Tom’s mother desperately attempts to find a suitor for her daughter Laura. The vivid description playwright Tennessee Williams writes his characters in is a reflection to that of his own life and personal experiences. There are many challenges characters face in The Glass Menagerie and key details, for example that of Mr. Wingfield being absent from the story, Laura being deathly shy, and Tom being a direct metaphor for the playwright, in which Tennessee Williams writes from that of his own childhood. The main premise of the story is that of Amanda’s obsession to find Laura a “gentleman caller”. This stems from Amanda’s distrust of most men because of Tom’s unnamed father leaving prior to the story. Tom’s father is described as a drunk, a smoker, and a workaholic. Tom’s earns a wage of 65 dollars a month, a relatively low wage for the period, working at a shoe warehouse in St. Louis Missouri. Tom hated this job. He would often escape to the movies after work, marveling at “All of [the] glamorous people—having adventures” (Kennedy 1003). In his talks with Jim O’Connor, Laura’s suitor, he tells him that he is going to move, “I’m like my father. The bastard son of a bastard.” (1003). This character’s outburst is a cry from the author Tennessee Williams who is using Tom and Tom’s father as metaphor for Tennessee and his father. As written by Richard Freeman in The World of Tennessee Williams, the comparisons between that of Tom and Tennessee Williams and their respective fathers are almost identical. It is almost as if The Glass Menagerie is an autobiography. “His father…pulled him out of school…and started him in at the International Shoe Company for $65 a month as a clerk/typist.” (Leavitt 12). He continues to write about Tennessee’s comparative feelings to that of Tom’s writing “ Williams hated it. [working as a clerk]” “…he chain-smoked and consumed large quantities of black coffee” (12) Both of these are traits shared by the character Tom, “Tom: I am getting a cigarette. Amanda: You smoke too much.” (Kennedy 973). “Tom: No! No, thank you, I want it black [coffee].” (Kennedy 987). Tennessee Williams’ father is not the only family member emulated in The Glass Menagerie, his sister Rosa is depicted as Tom’s sister, Laura. In The Glass Menagerie Laura is a shy girl, with a handicap, trapped in her own isolation to the point where her glass figurines become a metaphor to how she lives her life. Her mother Amanda constantly pushes her to go to school and to be optimistic to receive a call from a gentleman caller though she has never had one. Laura is increasingly nervous to meet the gentleman Tom brings home, Jim O’Connor. She collects glass figurines one of which is a unicorn, which she shares with Jim after she becomes fond of him. Later in the story it breaks and becomes “…just like all the other horses” (Kennedy 1016). This is foreshadows the fact that Jim later reveals that he is engaged, and in turn just like all the other men. Later in that same scene a disturbing metaphor can be drawn: “Laura: I’ll just imagine he had an operation. The horn was removed to make him feel less—freakish” (1016). In my opinion this could be a reference to Tennessee Williams’s real life sister Rosa. Rosa compares to that of Laura because she also collected glass ornaments. Leavitt writes, “By poetic association, they would come to represent all the softest emotions that belong to the remembrance of time past…” (Leavitt 3). Rosa “During adolescence…began to withdraw from a world which frightened her, a withdrawal which would result in schizophrenia, later to be permanently fixed by a lobotomy in a Missouri state asylum.” (3). I believe that this could be what Tennessee Williams could…