Customer Reviews for

The Glass Menagerie

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Intellectually stimulating

Representing the emotional need to escape reality, especially in the turmoil of the Great Depression, Tennessee Williams describes a family of disconnected members each affected by a different. As Amanda continues to dwell in her earlier glories, her two kids struggle t...
Representing the emotional need to escape reality, especially in the turmoil of the Great Depression, Tennessee Williams describes a family of disconnected members each affected by a different. As Amanda continues to dwell in her earlier glories, her two kids struggle to flee from an unpleasant truth through other desperate means. While Tom interests himself with literature and movies, Laura remains preoccupied with maintaining her glass menagerie. In a sense, all three strive to escape the "coffin" that represents their mundane lives.

Williams effectively captures the emotions of that era, addressing the absence of Mr. Wingfield and its impact on the mental state of the family. Two prevalent motivations for abandoning a family-the battle for self-preservation and the shame of failing loved ones-are subtly presented throughout the course of this play, as the financial instability of the Wingfields suggest a need for new beginnings. This accurately reflects the chaos of the 1930s, as love, a supposedly universal weapon, fails to save the day.

Combining artistic mastery with heart-wrenching content, Williams employs a lyrical style that uses symbolism to convey loss and longing. Specifically, Tom's final monologue equates Laura to a "shattered rainbow," describing not only her frailty, but also his undying love for his helpless sister. With a distinctly melancholic tone, Williams conveys a sense of unresolved conflict and profound nostalgia.

More prominent than the overall emotional impact is the ironic way in which Williams unites the family under the desire to escape. Bereft of both materialistic belongings and faith in the future, the Wingfields are held together by their common need for change. Ultimately, Tom succeeds in his endeavor, and it is suggested that, despite his remembrance of his sister, he is able to embark on a journey of self-discovery.

Williams eloquently expresses the pains of failed romance, but fails to present any real hope for the future. In a sense, Laura's fiasco with her love interest bleeds through to negatively impact all those around her. No shift or memorable conclusion is presented, and I feel as though the overall moral could have better been developed differently. While Tom does manage to break free from his familial obligations, he does so to follow in the footsteps of his father, not purely out of a desire for self-fulfillment. Through the development of distinct personalities, Williams emphasizes that, in spite of our differences, human beings all seek the same seemingly elusive happiness.

posted by Guacamole on June 11, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

I didn't like this-at all!

The play format makes it hard to follow. I never saw anything in the story related to a glass menagerie except for a very slight mention. The only good thing about this play to me was that it was pretty short. Definitely not for a younger audience. It's not a pleasu...
The play format makes it hard to follow. I never saw anything in the story related to a glass menagerie except for a very slight mention. The only good thing about this play to me was that it was pretty short. Definitely not for a younger audience. It's not a pleasure to read it.

posted by k_j_9_7 on January 8, 2012

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  • Posted June 9, 2009

    The Glass Menagerie Review

    Although the Glass Menagerie served as the first breakthrough hit of Tennessee Williams' eventually booming play writing career, I can honestly attest to the fact that I believe that this play was mediocre at best. Granted, this play was all but shoved down my throat and I rarely enjoy books that are delivered in that way. However, this play, in spite of the fact that I actually chose to read it, mildly disappointed me, especially since I was rather thoroughly surprised by the fact that I had enjoyed A Streetcar Named Desire. This just proves to show that an author can have pretty severe discrepancies within his own works. Or maybe I'm just weird.
    The Glass Menagerie was too repetitive for my taste, with no actual true plot. With Tom's constant chatter about dreaming and Amanda's prattling endlessly about gentleman callers, it was enough to convey to me the gist of the entire play within the first few pages. The characters were, I found, ill-developed. I could never reason out a comprehensible and logical reason to explain Laura's actions. But then, maybe the illogicalness of her actions is supposed to convey a point also. Either way, I'm not a fan of the way she was portrayed, the manner in which the play panned out. Granted, this is not a play to watch/ read if you're in a sad mood, as the ending leaves much to be desired, serotonin-level wise.
    Similarly stagnant was the plot development. It seemed as if the plot were a wheel, centered around a single spoke and unable to branch out into anything else that made sense. I felt the play too heavily focused on the concept of gentleman callers to the point where I was not quite aware of the fact that Amanda was supposed to portray a Southern belle incarnate. With so much emphasis on the gentleman caller, I expected a longer interaction with one when Jim finally waltzed onto the stage. However, like much else in the play, it remained disproportionate and rather awkwardly fitted in. The lack of other characters in the play, with only three main ones also hinder any potential character development the three leads could have potentially had.
    However, the symbolism present within the play was most artfully carried out. The whole shpeal with the unicorn and the horn tie in absolutely wonderfully with the idea of normalcy and fantasy, which actually correlates nicely with the overall play and the themes presented within it. I also thoroughly enjoy Williams' style and the dialogue between Amanda and Tom are, in my opinion very believable, in that they mirror the conversations that go on between my own brother and mother at times. At times, also, I found the play surprisingly just purely entertaining. These things kept the general air of pointlessness in the play to a basic minimum.
    Overall, this tale of escapism and failing to do so proves not to be a terrible read, though not nearly as entertaining as other works by the same author. Poignant symbolism and realistic dialogue save this play from fading away with ill development in plot and character.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2014

    ┬┐The Glass Menagerie┬┐, a play by Tennessee Williams follows the

    “The Glass Menagerie”, a play by Tennessee Williams follows the clash of a small family’s internal conflicts. Each character, Tom, Laura, and Amanda, have an emotional conflict which calls for each to long for something more than what they’re currently capable of. The play’s writing style is cleverly structured to insist the reader analyze each character, especially Tom; since the play is told from his memory. The play’s structure adds deeper meaning to the text and adds to the works literary merit. Characterization is based off of each character’s emotional flaw. The theme of the play is to not underestimate yourself and dwell on your flaws. 

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  • Posted September 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    short play

    this is a short play. i really enjoyed the whole symbolism behind the meaning of Laura's unicorn. this was a quick read but the large vocab. can have some baffled.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2001

    OK

    This book was OK. It was very interesting yet hard to follow along with. This book had many symbols that I didn't quite understand.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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