Quirky Books: The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

Full title: "The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams: Introduction by Robert Bray," includes the play and a review of the book from "the New York Times" in the appendix.

Reading "the Glass Menagerie" the inclusion of stage direction creates mystique. A person can imagine the performance at an old Broadway Playhouse when the world was unsettled by war. The Great Depression humbled the American public when it was originally released in 1945. The soldiers came home and the economy recovered. The atmosphere became hopeful and this play offers a reminiscent quality.

This particular version of the play includes the original text and pictures displayed across set screens to add emphasis. Imagine an unmarried daughter explaining to her mother how she was pretending to go to business school during the day because she knew her mother would be crushed. However, her mind is too fragile to go to work. The mother's mood changes to pity. "The Crust of Humility" is boldly displayed across the walls.

The tale itself is captivating with only four characters. It tells of a boy forced to be a man. He works all the time to take care of his mother and sister. Their father left them behind and he is the only one earning a living. Realizing he must leave if he wants to live a decent life, guilt keeps him there. Everything is spent on them. He even pays for his sister's collection of glass figurines which sets-the-mood for the turning point is symbolism of the unicorn losing its horn.

Williams left home to make a life for himself. At times, the play appears autobiographical. People interested in hosting theatrical plays or working on film sets will appreciate the stage concept on lighting and mood. Worth reading, it stimulates personal reflection or epiphany. Though the characters are fantastic and scarcely relatable; they are personable enough to stimulate empathy.