Williams' play, "The Glass Menagerie"

Essay by sillymemom October 2003

download word file, 6 pages 4.2

Leaving the Nest

In Tennessee Williams' play, "The Glass Menagerie", the narrator, Tom, speaks from both first person and second person point of view. Tom is a major character in the play, and he is also the narrator. Amanda, Tom's mother, is a nag that is constantly picking Tom apart. Laura, Tom's sister, is very shy, but she is the only one of the family who appears content with her life. During the first couple of scenes the author is trying to familiarize the reader with the relationships between the characters. In the final scenes, the play revolves around Laura and her gentlemen caller. From the different points of view in which the play is told, the audience is guided through a memory. The shifts between first and second point of view show how the emotional situations change the lives of all the characters involved.

Tom is a character in the play as he speaks from first person point of view.

While a character in the play, the audience has a chance to evaluate Tom's reliability. His actions and speeches define him as a person. Using the first person point of view, Tom is free to express the aggravations that arguing with his mother causes. Amanda is constantly fussing at Tom about something. For instance, Amanda scolds Tom for having an inappropriate book in his possession. They are both angry and bickering when Tom shouts, "Yesterday you confiscated my books! You had the nerve to -- " (1591; scene 3) Amanda confesses in an angry tone,

I took that horrible novel back to the library--yes! That hideous book by that insane Mr. Lawrence. I cannot control the output of diseased minds or people who cater to them--BUT I WON'T ALLOW SUCH FILTH BROUGHT INTO MY HOUSE...