The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
Did you know?
Many argue that Tennessee Williams’ first major success is his strongest play. To be sure, The Glass Menagerie exhibits the playwright at his most personal. The play is ripe with autobiographical revelations:
The absent father in The Glass Menagerie is a traveling salesman – like Williams’ father.
The fictional Wingfield family lived in St. Louis, as did Williams and his real-life family.
Tom Wingfield and Tennessee Williams share the same first name. The playwright's real name is Thomas Lanier Williams III.
The fragile Laura Wingfield was modeled after Tennessee Williams’ sister, Rose. In real life, she suffered from schizophrenia and was eventually given a partial lobotomy, a destructive operation from which she never recovered. It was a constant source of heartache for Williams. Considering the biographical connections, the regretful monologue at the play’s end feels like a personal confession.
Tom: Then all at once my sister touches my shoulder. I turn around and look into her eyes... Oh, Laura, Laura, I tried to leave you behind me, but I am more faithful than I intended to be! I reach for a cigarette, I cross the street, I run into the movies or a bar, I buy a drink, I speak to the nearest stranger-- anything to blow your candles out! -- For nowadays the world is lit by lightning! Blow your candles out, Laura -- and so good-bye...
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