What are some deep, hard questions about the play, The Glass Menagerie?

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The reader of Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie will find certain commonalities between it and his other play A Streetcar Named Desire, a condition that suggests their importance to the playwright. For instance, illusions play a pivotal role in the development of characters. In addition, the role of responsibility to one's family is also a theme in both plays. And, in both plays there are mentally unstable characters. Here, then, are some thought-provoking questions that could be asked about The Glass Menagerie:

1. There is much irony in this play regarding the holding of illusions. Explain. Consider the dramatic irony of Amanda's chastisement of Tom,

"You don't know things anywhere! You live in a dream; you manufacture illusions"

2. To what extent does the theme of duty to one's family affect Tom and Laura?

3. The Glass Menagerie is an Expressionistic play.  What elements of Expressionism are salient in this play and how do they contribute to the play's meaning?

4. Symbols add meaning to the development of themes and character. Which symbols contribute to characterization?  Which contribute to the development of theme?

5. How does Tom's being the narrator affect the drama?


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