Symbolic illustration of Laura's hands holding a glass unicorn

The Glass Menagerie

by Tennessee Williams

Start Free Trial

What are seven arguements and/or topics that could be discussed and researched from the play The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams? It could also be something about the author or about the time period that relates to the play.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Glass Menagerie is a largely autobiographical piece. Williams' own sister, Rose, was declared mentally unstable and underwent a lobotomy. This is something Williams felt guilty about in his own life.You might consider analyzing the autobiographical nature of Laura to Williams' sister as well as the connections between her character in this piece and the similar character in both Rose Ta too and the short story Portrait of a Girl in Glass.

Like Tom, Williams was a gay man struggling to be a writer and to live in a world where homosexuality was frowned upon. This is a second autobiographical theme that you might want to examine.

Moving away from the directly autobiographical elements of the play, there is also a conflict between the past and the present - the world of the movies and modern life that exists outside of the fire escape and the  world on the inside where Amanda struggles to hold on to a past, a Southern gentility that no longer exists. She refuses to engage in the present for, if she does, she will have to admit that she has lost her youth.

Fragility is another theme. Laura is fragile like the glass that she plays with. In what way does Laura reflect her own fears and desires through her glass. She is "broken" (her limp) and her unicorn becomes broken. There is a parallel between the uniqueness and of the unicorn, which becomes "normal" and Laura's own uniqueness.

Those are a few ideas to get you started!

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Topics to be discussed and researched from the play may include:

Social Anxiety Disorder and its effects on women's connections (Laura was the prime example)

The American family of the pre WWII society

The job market of the early 1940s (for Jim and Tom's opportunities are diverse)

Life in the early 1940's- what was considered "typical" in terms of past-times, entertainment, food (aside from Tom's movies)

Parental pressure and its effect on their children's success (the mother's attitude certainly affected Tom and Laura)

Life in Amanda's South

Military drafting prior to WWII.

Hope it helps!

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team