"The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams

Essay by mikehuntHigh School, 11th gradeB, January 2007

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Williams' reference to the play being "episodic" also refers to him describing "The Glass Menagerie" as a "memory play". When one recalls information from ones memory an individual remembers certain things such as specific experiences, events or episodes. They are not a series of continuous thoughts as they are remembered; however, when put together they are part of a bigger image. Using different tools such as Tom narrating, lighting throughout the play, and the screen images and phrases projected Williams is able to give his play an "episodic" style.

One could argue that this style does add a sense of truth and reality to Tom's memory as the structural device for accessing the past. For instance, by William's taking advantage of the lighting through the play, and using it correctly we even get a sense of being subject to viewing Tom's recollection. During scene three when Tom and Amanda are arguing with each other the scene is described as being lit in a smoky, red glow, with Laura consistently being shone on with a clear pool of light.

This gives the audience a sense of watching the recollection. The smoky, red light, symbolizes Tom and Amanda's anger throughout the scene. Laura being lit in the clear pool of light symbolizes Tom's best interests when arguing through the scene and to him what really matters in the back of his mind.

William's also makes use of the projected images and phrases throughout the play to give it its "episodic" style and verisimilitude to Tom's memory as the structural device for accessing the pass. For instance, when Laura first makes reference to Jim and he referring to her as "Blue Roses" the image of blue roses is projected on to the screen. When we recall or...