The Glass Menagerie Questions and Answers
by Tennessee Williams

The Glass Menagerie book cover
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Explain/describe the style and themes of The Glass Menagerie.

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Hollis Sanders eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The style of the play is that of a memory play. This is explained in detail by Tom, who is both a character in and the narrator of The Glass Menagerie. Tom tells the audience that what they are about to see is not a direct reflection of the truth, but more of a compilation of his memory, editorialized with his emotions and prejudice. This effect is achieved through surreal and expressionist artistic decisions such as minimalist lighting and mimed stage action.

The theme of the play is family, and the friction between self-care and dependence that occur when the head of the family leaves all of the responsibility on the young Tom's shoulders. Tom's mother and sister live in a delusional state, with his mother living in the past and his sister avoiding reality at all costs. Though Tom bears the weight of this dysfunctional family dutifully, the resentment eventually builds enough to the point that his duty is not worth fulfilling, and he abandons them.

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The style of The Glass Menagerie is...

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