In both writing and staging, Tennessee Williams uses expressionistic techniques throughout the play. He immediately has Tom Wingfield characterize The Glass Menagerie as a “memory play.”
Memory takes a lot of poetic license. It omits some details; others are exaggerated, according to the emotional value of the articles it touches, for memory is seated predominantly in the heart.
Tom also says the play “is sentimental, it is not realistic.” Williams provides ample stage directions that indicate exact aspects of the “dimly lighted” play, with terms such as “lemony,” “gloomy,” “dusk,” and even “turgid smokey”—the contrasted dark and light effect called chiaroscuro.
The “glass” theme is predominant, extending from the fragility of the staging elements to numerous stage direction descriptions of Laura, in particular, that emphasize how her frailness and impermanence. She “lives in a world of glass and a world of music.” Williams calls her "a piece of...
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