The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

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Generally, plays do not have narrators. How does the fact that Tom is the narrator affect the style and content of "The Glass Menagerie"?

Generally, plays do not have narrators. How does the fact that Tom is the narrator affect the style and content of "The Glass Menagerie"?

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When a play has a narrator, it is, from the get-go, demonstrating its unusual structure. Tennessee Williams was writing during a time when experimental format in plays was not very common; having a narrator was a bold move. The presence of a narrator signifies the play's meta-dramatic status; this is another way of saying it is aware of itself as a work of drama. The narrator figure is a de facto playwright, in this way, commanding and controlling the play's events and the pieces of information and action that are revealed to the audience.

In this case, Tom's presence as a character in the play creates an even more complex commentary on the play's structure. His narrator status creates a sort of play within a play (a device first popularized by Shakespeare, who, of course, is the inspiration for Tom's nickname), and one may rightly ask, which is the "real" play: Tom's version of events as he speaks them or the events that occur as the other characters act them out?

Stylistically, Tom's...

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