A lot of the literature I’ve read for school this year has disappointed me. It’s great that we got to read and watch The Glass Menagerie as part of my AP Lit class, because I reclaimed my title as extremely obsessive fanboy extraordinaire.
There’s just so much to love in this play. Williams’ writing is exquisite and his utilization of symbols leaves myriad room for analysis. His deep and damaged characters call for discussion: Amanda Wingfield, the ambitious and heady mother of Laura and Tom, Laura, the painfully shy girl with a penchant for glass, Tom, the trapped adventurer who yearns for excitement, and Jim, the gentleman caller who represents optimism and progress in society. The themes of disillusionment, quiet disaster, and the death of the American dream intertwine with the fragmented family and lead to a tragedy of epic proportions.
But I must admit my bias regarding the The Glass Menagerie – 1) I love the word “menagerie” and 2) I’ve experienced family issues like the ones portrayed in this play. However, not all stories that strike home succeed; this one hit the mark in its bittersweet portrayal of a mother who pushes her children in the wrong direction and a son and a daughter who fight back.
Highly recommended, especially for those who can watch the film version directed by Paul Newman.