Tennesse Williams The Glass Menagerie

The realistic drama in Tennessee Williams’ play, The Glass Menagerie. Tennessee Williams wrote the play, The Glass Menagerie in 1944. This essay explores the credibility of The Glass Menagerie as a believable, realistic play. given that its narrator says that the play is based on memories and memories can be distorted at will. This thesis states that the play is realistic at retelling the narrative accounts of the tragedies but the characters are at fault for their unrealistic goals.
Williams’ original play was written with a thrust stage in mind. A thrust stage is a theater stage that extends out into the audience’s part of a theater and has seats on all three sides. In Act One, Scene One, the stage setting is described as having a ‘dark, grim rear wall of the Wingfield tenement’. There are stage directions where the actors and actresses enter and exit the stage using the props like stairs and this is difficult or impossible to accomplish using an arena stage. (Williams 12).An arena stage is a central stage that has surrounding seats and this gives no leeway except to ascend or descend from the stage. Then the actor or actress has to sit down at the level of the audience, or walk all the way to the nearest dressing room. An arena stage is similar to a theater in the round, which has the audience seated on all sides of the performance stage. A thrust stage is most suited for this play because it allows the actors and actresses entrance and exit routes and help to make the play a realistic drama.
In Act One, Scene One, the stage directions say that. ‘The scene is memory and is therefore non-realistic.’ (Williams 12). Amanda and Laura are seated at the dinner table behind the scrim to symbolize their need for privacy since they are eating. Williams highlights the unrealistic nature of the play by stating that. ‘Eating is done by gestures without food or utensils.’ (Williams 15). This play is also unusual in having a character, Tom, in the play, assume the multiple roles of being the narrator and stage director too. This makes the play realistic because the play is Tom’s testimony.
Some characters are unrealistic in the play. In Act One, Scene Two, Amanda discovers that Laura has been skipping her typing class and deliberately deceiving her. Laura is an unrealistic dreamer. She fails to understand the importance of earning her stripes with a formal education and getting a relevant job to be self-supportive, if not contributing to the family household income. Tom is rooted in realism although his responses to the pressure are human and hints of escapism. Amanda tells him that she has placed her hopes for the future in him. She also asks him repeatedly to introduce eligible young men to Laura. Tom is already exasperated with his meaningless job and takes to watching movies and drinking booze to escape from his reality. The play depicts Tom’s reality well as his background of love for literature is revealed to clash with his mindless job at the shoe warehouse. Tom accommodates Amanda for as long as he can tolerate. He describes the social background of the play as having people like Amanda, whose ‘eyes have failed them, or they had failed their eyes, and so they were having their fingers pressed forcibly down on the fiery Braille alphabet of a dissolving economy.’ (Williams 13). Amanda desperately clings to the traditional ways of career, livelihood, courtship and marriage. Tom leaves home but fails to settle down elsewhere. He eventually realizes that home is where his heart is. He loves Laura faithfully too much to continue being selfish in searching for his dreams. When Laura catches up with him, Tom has come to the full realization that his reality lies in the present, his sister and himself.
In conclusion, this play based on the re-enactment of memories has been realistically narrated to convey the characters’ unrealistic desires in their prevalent American society.
The end.
Works Cited.
Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie. USA: Penguin Books, 1988.