The Glass Menagerie Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Glass Menagerie

The Glass Menagerie is a play written by Tennessee Williams. The action takes place in the Wingfield's apartment in St. Louis, 1937. Tom Wingfield, who usually stands on the fire escape delivering his monologues, is the play's narrator.
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The play centers around Tom, his mother Amanda, and his sister Laura. Amanda's husband left the family years earlier, leaving Tom responsible for earning the wages that supports the family. He works at the Continental Shoe Warehouse during the day, but disappear nightly "to the movies." Laura is a terribly, shy girl with very weak nerves. She also crippled in one leg, and hardly ever leaves the apartment. She invests her time in caring for her "glass menagerie," a delicate glass collection.

Amanda dreams of her daughter attending college, and succeeding in life while achieving huge accomplishments. To prepare her daughter for the world, Amanda enrolls Laura into a business college. Eventually Amanda discovers Laura had stopped attending classes a long time ago. After a disaster with Laura and college, Amanda gives up, and places all hope in finding a husband suitable for Laura.

Later Tom will bring one of his friends, a gentleman caller named Jim O'Connor, home to meet Laura. Laura finally opens up to the idea that this gentlemen could be the one she needs to marry. After getting to know Jim, Laura soon finds out some shocking news.   
The review of this Book prepared by Marie Thomas

Amanda Wingfield, a faded Southern belle, has high hopes for her son Tom and daughter Laura. Tom, who fancies himself a poet, works a deadening job in a shoe factory and spends all his free time at the movies. Laura, crippled by a teenage bout of "pleurosis," stays at home playing with her collection of glass animals and listening to the record collection left behind by her father who deserted the family long ago. Amanda tries to get Tom to find a husband for Laura; Tom just wants to escape home altogether. Eventually a "gentleman caller" does visit, with dispiriting results. Everyone in the family is in flight from reality, but by the end of this classic American play Laura, the seemingly most weak and fragile, sees herself and the others most clearly. The story, which takes place in St. Louis shortly after World War II, is narrated by Tom years later.
The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

What fan of American drama can forget Tom, Laura, and Amanda Wingfield and the Gentleman Caller Jim? Tennessee Williams immortalized them in "The Glass Menagerie," one of America's greatest plays. It is the story of the Wingfield family, set in St. Louis during the Depression. Tom is forced to work in a shoe factory to support his mother manda and sister Laura, who is physically handicapped. Day in and day out, Laura stays home and plays with her collection of little glass animals and listens to her phonograph, instead of getting out (as she's supposed to do). Amanda is the domineering, doting mother. Surprise, surprise, and Tom arranges for a co-worker to come to dinner one evening. Amanda is overjoyed at the prospect of a "gentleman caller" and Laura is absolutely scared stiff, especially as she remembers Jim from their high school days. It is a perfect set up. However, things do not work perfectly; indeed, rather disastrously in this very depressing drama by a playwright whose middle name may as well be "depressing"!   
The review of this Book prepared by Bill Hobbs

Chapter Analysis of The Glass Menagerie

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Family, struggle with    -   Yes Struggle with:    -   Mother (or standin) Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Parents/lack of parents problem?    -   rebelling against parent's expectations

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Age:    -   20's-30's


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   3 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   West    -   Midwest

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   mostly dialog

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Tennessee Williams Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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