Essay on The Glass Menagerie and the Life of Tennessee Williams

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The Glass Menagerie and the Life of Tennessee Williams

The Glass Menagerie closely parallels the life of the author. From the very job Tennessee held early in his life to the apartment he and his family lived in. Each of the characters presented, their actions taken and even the setting have been based on the past of Thomas Lanier Williams, better known as Tennessee Williams.

Donald Spoto described the new apartment building that Williams and his family relocated to in St. Louis, Missouri as having only two small windows, one window in the front of the apartment and another in the rear. A fire escape blocked the smoky light that might have come in from the window facing the back alley (16). In The Glass Menagerie, the
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As Tom emphatically stated in the play, "I'd rather somebody picked up a crowbar and battered out my brains - than go back mornings! I go!.... For sixty-five dollars a month I give up all that I dream of doing and being ever!" (Williams 1874-1875) In The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams expressed through Tom the entrapment and hopelessness he felt while working in the shoe factory instead of following his dreams of writing.

Tennessee Williams's mother, Edwina, and Amanda were also closely paralleled. Edwina Williams had been accepted into the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.). She was occupied with the acting D.A.R. secretary, handling the national correspondence, and with their social events (Spoto 52). Williams described his mother as "a woman whose endurance and once fine qualities continued to flourish alongside a narrowness of perception and only the dimmest awareness of human feeling" (Spoto 121). Amanda Wingfield also had a narrow life and no perception of the feelings of her two children. Amanda's life was centered around her perception of the 'proper' station in life she wanted her children to achieve and her work as a D.A.R. officer. Amanda pushed Tom to work at the 'acceptable' job of the shoe factory and to give up his dream of being a writer and experiencing any adventure. The Scene III