Character constellation and characterization in Tennessee Williams "The Glass Menagerie" by Maria Fernkorn Summary
Seminar paper from the year 1999 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1,3, http://www.uni-jena.de/, 11 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: “At the age of fourteen, I discovered writing as an escape from a world of reality in which I felt acutely uncomfortable. It immediatly became my place of retreat, my cave, my refuge.“1 This quotation by Tennessee Williams mirrors his inability to cope with the challenges and strokes of fate of his real life. For example, he felt responsible for the lobotomie of his sister Rose although he had no knowledge about this operation. Furthermore, he could not cope with his social environment, especially with his father`s incapability to handle his introvert son. With his first success, the play “The Glass Menagerie“ (1944), Williams holds up the mirror to the Broadway audience of the 1950`s who is not willing to face the reality of the postwar period or to digest it`s experiences with the Second World War. In the same way as this generation flies from their war recollections into a problem repressing fictious world and as Williams escapes from his personal reality through writing, the figures of the drama fly from an unsatisfying life into their dreamworlds. The play deals with the Wingfield family (Amanda, Tom and Laura), who “share[s] a small apartment in a poor section of St. Louis.“2 The family members have, through the visit of a gentlemen caller for Laura (Jim), the chance to realize their dreams. But “the friend Tom brings home to meet Laura [...], although he happens to be the boy she secretly admired in high school, turns out, unfortunately, to be already engaged.“3 Tennessee Williams`s breakthrough “The Glass Menagerie“ is respected to be one of his best plays, with Broadway performances exceeded only by “A Streetcar named Desire“ In this paper it is to point out the character presentation and character constellation in Tennessee Williams`s “The Glass Menagerie“. Firstly, I am going to analyse the character and then comment on his or her relationship to the other characters and so on. The first character to analyse is Amanda, then follow Tom, Jim, and last but not least, Laura.