bookreview · books · literature · plays · reviews

Let’s Talk Books – “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams

My copy of The Glass Menagerie & a dated paper bookmark.
My copy of The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams & a cute bookmark.

Date Published: 1945
Category: Classics, Dramas & Plays
Rating: 4/5

I had no idea what to expect with this play even though it is so commonly brought up. One weekend I happened to be at a $1 book sale and decided to make this purchase to essentially see what all the hype was about. 70 years later and still being brought up in conversation must be a relatively good sign. I’ve only read a few plays for pleasure because I find it so difficult to invest myself in the characters. Even though there were only 4 characters, each of them brought the piece to life in different ways.

Jim seemed genuine but transformed into an overly confident person that I would not associate with. If you have read the play, you understand where I’m coming from. I wish I had connected the Jim lines sooner but I related to his life situation. As a 23 year old as well, this line struck a chord “Being disappointed is one thing and being discouraged is something else” (Williams, 96). There are many things we imagine happening at certain points in our lives, deadlines if you will, but it could be that they just haven’t happened yet. He had this tainted optimistic quality that could not be ignored despite his physical actions in the story.

Tom had to deal with abandonment issues and a job he hated much like the majority of society today. It was an interesting contrast to have short dialogue from Tom yet long narration from his point of view. He was definitely caught between two identities (poet vs. warehouse worker) and it’s clear that he was struggling.

Amanda was a typical Southern Belle living vicariously through her children under the guise of wanting what’s best for them. Even though she wasn’t my favorite, I appreciate this line “…the future becomes the present, the present the past, and the past turns into everlasting regret if you don’t plan for it!” (Williams, 63). I am definitely an advocate of extensive planning and although it came from a place of exasperation in the play, it definitely resonated with me.

Despite Laura having no self-confidence, crippling anxiety, and trust issues, she was still my favorite character. I identified with her high school crush obsession and especially not wanting to answer the door. There are times when I don’t even want to order my own food in a restaurant because I’m so shy so it was refreshing to see someone with those same traits.

However, I am a “happy ending” type of person which is why I could not give this play a perfect score. Even though it was a memory play, it was very much rooted in reality which is something that I tend to gravitate away from in my reading. Although 50% of me didn’t want Laura to end up alone, it was still an enjoyable read with fitting diction that I didn’t think I would enjoy. It lived up to the hype this time.

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