Style of Williams in The Glass Menagerie

As Tennessee Williams is a poet, his style is bound to be poetic, symbolic and somewhat spontaneous. Since there are lots of poetic charms and elegance in The Glass Menagerie this play appears to be a poetic play. While conversing each other, characters speak in lyrical and spontaneous way. Amanda speaks so spontaneously while interrogating Laura.


Tennessee Williams (1911-1983)

Amanda: (hopelessly fingering the huge pocket books) So what are we going to the rest of our lives? Stay home and watch the parades go by? Amuse ourselves with the glass menagerie, darling? Eternally play those worn-out phonograph records your father…..

Amanda always talks in a figurative and poetical way. Her thoughts follow the pattern of continuity. Even Tom's use of words is playfully metaphorical and uninterrupted.

Tom announces, "He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion".

He also uses metaphors: "the middle class of America was matriculating in a school for the blind.” The language in which Tom narrates is alliterative: "fingers pressed forcibly down on the fiery Braille . . ."

Amanda's language is no less poetical. Amanda not only speaks in the language of poetry. She seems to be continuous in the selection of her words. By showing cautiousness in her choice of words Amanda wants to impose her taste in words on her children. She rejects Tom's books as "filth". Thinking that the word cripple is offensive, she declined to permit Laura to use the word "Cripple".

The Glass Menagerie is replete with symbols. Some elements of action in the play, some concrete objects and some transparent images are also capable of attaining symbolic importance. Hence, in The Glass Menagerie symbol come in a variety of forms. The delicate glass animals in her "Glass Menagerie" are symbolic of the fragility of Laura.

The breaking of the unicorn is symbolic of emasculation, self-castration and impotence of Jim O'Connor. If we go deeper in the exploration of the symbols, we happen to find out that objects like candles, rainbows and typewriter chart appear to be suffused with profound symbolic importance. If our sole attention be directed to the symbolic dimension of the play we come to know that even the trivial objects begin to assume symbolic implications. Not only objects, even bits of actions assume symbolic charm. These bits of actions are: Laura's tripping on the fire escape and Tom's movie going. Even character's retain symbolic aspect. Jim O'Connor and Jolly Roger are symbols of expected redemption and adventure.

The Glass Menagerie Study Center

Appearance versus Reality in The Glass Menagerie

Nature of illusion in The Glass Menagerie

Dramatic Technique in The Glass Menagerie

Tom as a Representative of the 20th Century Man

Laura as a Romantic Superwoman in The Glass Menagerie

Southern Womanhood in Modern World in The Glass Menagerie

Tom as a Man of Imagination in The Glass Menagerie