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The Glass Managerie Play Analysis

Tom Wingfield, a character in the play “The Glass Menagerie” was a brother, son, and friend. In this play, Tom was a playwright himself who spent his teenage life in St. Louis. His mother was unstable, and his father was often absent. This play was based on Tom’s memory in which he shares his experience of great depression. He was living with his mother and sister. This play overall represents hard times in which events objectify the mind, most often twisting the facts of events.

He introduces himself and then proceeds to narrate the play. Similarly, he has a double role in such a way that at once, he is a character whose recollection the play documents and on the other hand a character who acts with those recollections. One can say that a character creates tension between the distorted memory of truth and objectively dramatic truth. This essay will analyze the character, Tom Wingfield, in the play “The Glass Menagerie.

Unlike the other characters, Tom sometimes directly addresses the play’s audience for a separate explanation and the assessment happening onstage (Popkin, 1960).  His side of the character likes to read literature, do adventurous things, write poetry, and escape his dreams. Likewise, the other character seems to be bounded inextricably from the world. He likes to read D.H. Lawerence the result of which he not only follows the politics of Europe but in context to his intellectual life is hard to discuss.

The job he was doing at the shoe factory was like a dream to him, which he believed was unreal, and after some time, he would get over it. He tries to escape such life by watching movies, drinking alcohol, and literature out of which some of these actions might seem to be disrespectful. Although he does not like his job he is punctual, dedicated, and shows a sense of responsibility towards his work. He often goes to the movies to escape his arguments with Amanda (Crandell, 1998).

Tom likes watching movies because he thinks he is just like characters in Hollywood movies and has all the adventures for everybody in America because they are sitting around in their rooms and watching these movies with far fewer experiences.

There is a scene in which Tom starts a sarcastic conversation with Laura by shedding light on his feelings by using words like crumpled, suffocating, coffin-like situations in which he was confined. He said, “There is a trick that would come in handy for me—get me out of this two-by-four situation!” (Williams & Kushner, 2011). He also missed his father and believed that he was just like him. He supposed that just like a magician he pulled himself out of things to escape such problems and his father used a similar technique earlier.

Tom always alludes to failure to provide necessities to his family. In particular, in the scene, when the electricity cuts, Laura and Amanda start customizing the absence of Tom. He was angry and thought of a fire escape for the apartment as the name implies to escape from fire, he thought. Similarly, this fire escape is my way of escaping from the dysfunction rage, and frustration in the Wingfield household. So he lets himself out from the fire escape and starts smoking.

In the end, one might conclude that although he was a depressing character throughout the time, later on, he realizes that Amanda and Laura give meaning and sustenance to his life. Since he has such a complicated personality, it is hard to point him in the direction of a dynamic or static manner. This play describes how Tom tries to escape his difficulties along with a personal memory to manipulate the past. Similarly, is a memory play, it was faintly lighted, along with its nostalgia; it is not reasonable which demonstrates that it is unavoidable for inclination contemplations that cloud the natural occurrences that happened in the memory.


Crandell, G. W. (1998). The Cinematic Eye in Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie. Tennessee Williams Annual Review, 1, 1–11.

Popkin, H. (1960). The Plays of Tennessee Williams. The Tulane Drama Review, 4(3), 45–64.

Williams, T., & Kushner, T. (2011). The glass menagerie. New Directions Publishing.



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