The Glass Menagerie has been called a “memory” play. Analyze what that means in terms of the play’s structure (Tom the narrator versus Tom the character, music, screen, lighting, etc.).

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appletrees | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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The conceit of employing Tom as a narrator while he is also a character establishes a distinction of narrative time and space into at least two separate realities. The implication is that Tom the narrator is looking back on his past, and that Tom the character is living his present. So the narrator is constructing his speeches from fragments of memory, and we are to understan that the other characters as being portrayed only as he remembers themm not necessarily as they really were. Most productions of the play utilize the same actor for both aspects of Tom, but it would also be possible to use two different actors to underscore this temporal/spatial separation. The use of music and lighting is described in detail to accentuate Williams' vision for this play, but often directors and designers may discount what has been written by the playwright and create something original, or in the case of older works, more up to date.


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