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The Glass Menagerie

by Tennessee Williams

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What themes and ideas are introduced for the opening stage directions of The Glass Menagerie?

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A reversal of Realism, Expressionism is employed in Tennesse Williams's play, especially in the character of Amanda Wingfield, who retreats into her illusions where she has lived vitally in contrast to her present existence.

After his description of the characters and setting, Tennessee Williams describes the scene as "memory and ...nonrealistic." Memory calls for "a dim and poetic interior," Williams continues. The building in which the Wingfields dwell is a tenement where there is a narrow alley, from which exits and entrances are made; there are also clotheslines between the buildings, and a "sinister latticework" of fire escapes. Clearly, it is a trapped life that the Wingfield's live with the father's portrait looming over them as a reminder of his abandonment. Thus, the themes of loneliness, the merging of the present and the past, and the illusionary quality of life are all present on stage. And, as Tom emerges, dressed as a merchant sailor, the thematic abandonment of another male member from the family is added. Further, Williams writes,

The narrator is an undisguised covention of the play. He takes whatever license with dramatic convention as is convenient for his purposes.

With Tom as both the narrator and a character in the play, there is the Expressionistic concept of the merging of memory with the present. 




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