|Type of paper:||Research paper|
|Categories:||Writing Theatre American literature|
Born on March 26, 1914, in Columbus Mississippi, Tennessee Williams is the second born in a family of five. His father was a salesman, constantly travelling that marked his absence that forced Tennessee to be brought up by his mother alone. Due to the circumstances, his grandfather was like the only father to him, whom he developed a close relationship with plus his elder sister Rose. Williams's family never had a peaceful and happy life as most families do, as his mother considered his father a gambler and a drunkard. The family was forced to move to St Louis Missouri when his father got work in a shoe factory.
Thomas Lanier Williams was Tennessee real name, and the name Tennessee originated from the state as many of his descendants we brought up from that particular state (JiffyNotes, 1). In the course of his life, William constantly hated St Louis, as people ridiculed him due to his Southern accent. He deliberately skipped school, and the results were poor grades. He did this to pursue his passion for writing and reading.
At sixteen years old, Tennessee published his first story. A year later, he has joined the University of Missouri but did not complete his degree. He worked in a shoe company in Washington for two years where he had his first plays produced. In 1983, he completed his bachelor degree in arts in the State University of Lowa, publishing his first short story under his name in that particular year. Two years later, Tennessee in conjunction with Theatre Guild produced Battle of Angels in Boston Massachusetts. The play was considered a total failure as it was banned in the Ward Society. Tennessee was forced to live on charity funds from the Rockefeller Foundation in an attempt to continue to write film scripts, this time in Hollywood. The foundation funds could not sustain him, and he was forced to source for a job as a waiter in Greenwich Village in the city of New York.
The story The Glass Menagerie marked its first appearance as a play in Illinois in December 1944. The play won the Sidney Howard and New York Drama Critics Award. Through the years of the 1970s and 1980s, Tennessee continued writing for the theatre but was unable to achieve the same success he did in his early days. Eventually, Tennessee died in 1983, New York City. The United States celebrated his literature work and held a commemoration in 1995 in honour of his name in the Tennessee Williams Scholars Conference.
With much emphasis pointed out to Thomas Lanier William aka Tennessee biography, his short story "The Glass Menagerie" holds much significance of work in his entire career. The Glass Menagerie is considered as Williams's most Autobiographical work. The story having three characters, Tom, the frustrated protagonist, is named after Williams. As we were able to learn in the autobiography, William family had an unhappy life. The story reflects this critical aspect as the central stage of the play mirrored Tennessee unhappiness. Just like the Wingfields, Tennessee family was characterized by a dominating matriarch (Shmoop,2). His mother Edwina was forced to bring up the family without the help of his husband. Edwina was a worn southern lady just like Amanda in the story. Laura who was nicknamed Blue Roses, represent his older sister Rose, who long in the story suffered from mental illness and subjected to an isolated world.
The name "blue roses" given to Laura represents her unique nature. From general knowledge, blue roses are mysterious flowers that are rare to be found. Thus the name was symbolic to represent the unique nature of Laura that Jim deemed to be of a one in a million girl. The title of the story further represents Laura character. The word Glass Menagerie represents a fragile and delicate nature of Laura. The imagery of this character trait is manifested when Laura asserts, "if you breathe, it breaks" (Shmoop,2).
In the story Tom hates his life, he uses parties, booze, movies and dancing to see him through the struggles. It is worth noticing that any time, Tom's mother yelled at him, he heads straight to the movies to relieve himself from the unhappy life. Tom represented Tennessee's struggles. Furthermore, foreshadow is reflected in the story as we constantly witness tom hanging around in fire escape joint to smoke. Not that he liked smoking that much but the word "escape" illustrate the life Tom is living. He nearly almost and very nearly escapes but never escaped in reality (Shmoop,2). Furthermore, the only thing that he could not truly escape from was his sister's memory.
Moreover, in the story, Amanda had issues with alcohol. He hated alcohol and did everything possible to discourage Jim from drinking and prohibit Tom to do the same. In this setting, we can be able to relate how Amanda uses alcohol as a means to describe everything bad. Amanda says she would like Tom to "take after his father." In this juncture, alcohol is used as a connection between Tom and his father as they both drink.
"But the most wonderful trick of all was the coffin tick. We nailed him into a coffin, and he got out of the coffin without removing one nail" (Shmoop, 2). In scene four, Toms is very much excited to tell his sister Laura of how the magician performed the magic trick. Tom views the coffin as a symbolic object of how his life is. A life of bondage in which he deeply wanted to escape from. What makes Tom so happy is that the magician can pull off the trick that gives a possibility he might also be delivered from the bondage. However, his escape is not as seemingly as easy and possible the way the magicians put it in the movie. Sadly enough, the illusion of escape the magician promoted in the movie is out of Toms reach.
With much imagery pointed out, the story was written in political and historical eras in the late 20th Century. Launched in December 26th, 1994 in Chicago Theatre, the premiere took place in the same year as the battle of the bulge in Southern Belgium (JiffyNotes,1). The war also known as the battle of Ardennes marked the last German offensive. The war attracted some critical responses. In that political atmosphere, several writers wrote stories that addressed on the political ideologies. This books such as Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailers and the Young Lions by Irwin Shaw addressed power, strategy and militaristic ideologies. Other writers such as Vladimir and Luis Borges dwelt their writing on American postwar. Thus, the Glass Menagerie was released in an era of war.
In American fiction, social realism gained a huge role of its significance. Jewish writers had the most important as their writings were more accurate and authentic. Writers such as Grace Paley and Saul deployed a style of writing that questioned the Jewish Identity. Even so, in this error, we can witness how William deployed expressionism in his writing during the war. As expressionism gained its significance as literacy movement in Germany during World War 2, William cinematically deployed this aspect, even though expressionism attempts to reduce the flow of images that lure masses into a state of thoughtlessness (JiffyNotes,2). Americans were well known to use cinema to display their real culture of bourgeois life that Germany completely opposed.
American cinemas were poised to strict realism, but William's movie cinema based on the Glass Menagerie deployed a more fictional setting. When paying close attention to the scenes of the story, it is worth noting that, William uses more artificial aspect in the story. In the first scene of the story, we witness Laura and Amanda miming in the dinner table as they lack food and utensils. Additionally, Tom exhibits a contrary trait of American attitude in the story. William suggests that Americans are used to watch a character in a film full of action, exciting and lovely. Contrary to that, William in the Glass Menagerie uses a stage that is more stagnant in routine levels.
It is evident that Tennessee's Glass Menagerie is a literary art that reflected upon his life. The artwork came at an era of war, and he used this short story to exhibit different American social aspects where he deployed a style of cinema play contrary to the American expectation.
BIBLIOGRAPHY JiffyNotes. Glass Menagerie, The: n.d. http://www.jiffynotes.com/GlassMenagerieThe/HistoricalContext.html.
Puchko, Kristy. 15 Facts About Tennessee Williams's The Glass. October 2017. http://mentalfloss.com/article/510382/15-facts-about-tennessee-williamss-glass-menagerie.
Shmoop. THE GLASS MENAGERIE SYMBOLISM, IMAGERY, ALLEGORY. n.d. https://www.shmoop.com/glass-menagerie/symbolism-imagery.html.
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