Discuss the mood created by the set and Tom's speech in the first scene of The Glass Menagerie.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that a mood of melancholy forlornness presents itself in the first scene of Williams' work.  His introductory speech in the first scene helps to establish this sense of "longing" or "waiting" that envelops so much of the drama.  Tom is able to bring out his own role in this process and one gets the impression that there is little in way of happiness in Tom's state of being in the world, especially in the idea of "long delayed" which helps to bring to light the idea that happiness is deferred to these characters.  The fact that Tom speaks to us and exists after the action has taken place along with his speaking in melancholic tones helps to develop the idea that the concept of "being happy" is something where there exists challenge for this family.  When taking this into account of the "mass automatism" that envelops the Wingfields and their neighborhood, one can sense that the notion of happiness is something even more challenging on a social level.  Such an idea helps to enhance Williams' idea that happiness is something difficult to obtain and elusive in the modern setting.  The mood becomes decidedly melancholy from this point onwards in the drama.