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The Glass Menagerie was a play written by Tennesse Williams. The setting for the play is the city of St. Louis, during the year of 1937. More particularly, most of the scenes take place in a lower class apartment where three of the four main characters reside. The four major characters in this play are Amanda Wingfield, Laura Wingfield, Tom Wingfield, and Jim O'Connor. Amanda is the mother of two grown children, Laura and Tom. Amanda is a poor but proud woman who was abandoned by her husband. She constantly tells her children about her youth, when she had money and many suitors. Laura is a young woman who was sick and had to wear a brace on her leg during high school. As a result she is very shy and has great difficulty in the outside world. Tom is the youngest but has to support the family working at a boring job that he hates. He tries to escape is life though poetry, movies and drinking. Jim is Tom's co-worker who knew Laura from high school. Jim is invited to dinner by Tom after Amanda pressures Tom to find a suitor for Laura.
The exposition of the play involves understand some basic concepts. The play is based on Tom's point of view as both the narrator and character of the story. The story involves the Wingfield's separate ways of trying to avoid their own problems in the real world. Their fantasy world's are in conflict. Amanda wants to relive her happier days when she was young, rich and pretty by getting her very shy daughter to get married or be successful. Laura is rooted in the fantasy world of her glass animals, while Tom is plotting a way to leave both of them and wander around in the world. All of these conflicts becomes clear when an outsider, Jim, is invited for dinner as another effort by Amanda to make Laura more like herself.
1. Amanda's husband abandons the family, leaving to suffer economically and emotionally.
2. Amanda constantly tells stories of her past and puts pressure on Laura to be more like her.
3. Amanda forces Laura to enroll in Business College but Laura secretly drops out.
4. When Amanda finds out she then tries to attract suitors for Laura.
5. Amanda finally pressures Tom to find a possible suitor for Laura.
6. Tom hates his life and when his efforts to escape with liquor, movies, and poetry fails, he plans to join the merchant marines and abandon Laura and Amanda.
7. Tom argues with Laura and accidently breaks one of her glass animals.
8. Tom invites Jim over for a dinner as a possible suitor for Laura.
9. Tom secretly makes plans to join the merchant marines and saves money for this by not paying the electric bill.
10. The dinner party starts poorly, with Laura hiding in her room due to her shyness and Amanda being too flirty.
11. At the end of the dinner party, Jim is able to get Laura to open up, revealing her low self esteem and her high school crush on him.
12. Jim accidently breaks Laura's favorite glass animal, a unicorn, while they are dancing and when Laura forgives him, Jim gives her a kiss. Quickly, Laura's dream of possible romance is ruined when Jim reveals that he was engaged.
13.While Laura and Amanda are crying on the fire escape, Tom runs away to join the merchant marines, never to return.
The climax of the play comes when Laura finally lets go of her shyness, opening up to Jim about her inner feelings, only to be rejected when Jim tells her that he is already engages to someone else. Laura enjoys a few hopeful moments after she lets go of her shyness. Jim dances with her and even kisses her after she forgives him for accidently breaking her favorite glass animal, a unicorn. Laura's hopefulness is quickly crushed when she sees that Jim was just being nice and that he really loves someone else. The resolution of the play involves Laura retreating into herself by going to the apartment's fire escape and to be joined there by Amanda. At the same time Jim goes back to the real world by going to meet his fiancé. Tom runs away to the merchant marines but never really escapes because he constantly remembers Laura and feels guilty about abandoning Laura.
The theme of this play is the difficulty of dealing with real life. The Winfield characters have all developed their own separate ways to avoid reality and escape into their own fantasy worlds. Amanda's real life problems cause her to retreat into to her young girl self where she is rich and wanted by other men. She wants to relive this kind of life through Laura's life. This puts more pressure on Laura who is already shy and afraid of the real world. Laura escapes the pressure from her mom and her poor self image by dreaming of a fantasy world which is shown in her glass menagerie. When Tom's efforts to escape reality through drinking, movies, and poetry are no longer good enough, he runs away by joining the merchant marines. Even in this new life, Tom is constantly reminded of his own guilt and inability to help Laura.
My scene, Scene Seven, is when Jim is starting to get Laura to open up about herself and their past experiences. Laura is starting to overcome her shyness and shares her high school pain and crush on Jim. They are being friendly towards each other because they were slightly embarrassed about the whole dinner party thing. The scene takes place in Laura's room where they are sitting on the floor with the lights out and they are having a quite conversation by candlelight. This scene takes place right after the dinner party that was a disaster due to Laura's fake illness and Amanda's flirting. This scene is important because it is the beginning of the climax and it reveals Laura's attachment to Jim and her first attempt to reach out a little bit from her fantasy world. Tom also has a reason to leave the family because there was a fight between him and Amanda afterwards.