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Critical Essay on The Glass Menagerie

Tennessee Williams’ play The Glass Menagerie is about undergoing the transition from childhood to adulthood and the decision to leave home and become independent. The decision is made with the understanding of the difference between reality as well as illusion.

Tom makes the decision to leave home, aware that there are things in life he can control and others which are beyond his control. This story revolves around persons who are not aware of themselves or their true identity.

Paul tries to encourage his family members to be more aware of their true selves. People tend to run away from reality and create illusions that they believe in. These illusions blind them, encouraging them to live in a dream world. So many people live this kind of life, and by the time they become aware of reality, they are too late or unable to revert to their true selves.

A major them in Williams’ The Glass Menagerie is that people live a dream life by making any effort to understand their potentials and capabilities.

Throughout the play, the characters try to create illusions because they find reality very painful. This makes the characters believe too much in their illusions, which results in them being accepted by their society in a way that they should not be accepted. Believing in illusions is a psychological problem because these people are no longer in control of their senses.

Illusions cause, people to become more of dreamers and this can affect their relationship with the family members who perceived life from a different perspective. A dreamer is unlikely to agree on many issues with a person who bases his life on reality. A dreamer will always remain a dreamer, and his or her ideas are unlikely to produce anything important.

It is not good to encourage people to live in a dream world because this affects their social, economic, and civic responsibilities. It is important to take life seriously by doing what is realistic. An individual can begin by identifying realistic goals and a doable plan to achieve those goals. When dreamers make up the majority in a society, then many important issues are likely not to be addressed because no one will take such issues seriously.

Society always encourages its members to take responsibility for themselves and those around them to some extent. Parents encourage their children to be courageous in life by facing reality.

These are the core principles that shape the community and make it a good place to live. Illusions, thus, are not part of a society. Those who are perceived as dreamers often find themselves as social outcasts. This is why Williams’ play The Glass Menagerie is considered so important. It shows how life can be wasted by living in a dream.

Tips on Writing a Critical Essay:

People often think that being critical means being negative. That is not so. When writing a critical essay on anything, one examines the strong and the weak points in a work and discusses those points in reference to some aspect of the work. In the case of a story, for example, the reader might identify a major idea that the story is expressing and then analyze how well the writer did in presenting and supporting that idea throughout the story.

Regardless of what kind of essay you are writing, be certain to begin with a thesis statement. Gather your evidence from the story you are critiquing.

Then, refrain from presenting that evidence according to the order in which it occurs in the story. Remember, you are not retelling the story. Instead, organize your arguments in the order that makes sense for your paper and draw on the evidence as needed to support your arguments.

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Only some plays can leave a deep impression. One of these works is the play “Glass Menagerie”. It is a classic American play telling a tragic family story about love, bitterness, and a feeling of abandonment. This story became a real discovery for the public and critics. People were able to learn more about the author, and the play itself became a turning point in the history of the theater. Because of this popularity, students often write critical essays on this work. If you want to create an Essay on the Glass Menagerie, then pay attention to the recommendations and detailed characteristics of the play below.

The Plot of the “Glass Menagerie”: How to Start Writing an Essay
To help you understand what to pay attention to, let’s start with the basics: the plot. Williams himself called his work play-memorable one. The main reason for this is its unusual form. The “Glass Menagerie” was built in the form of memoirs of one of the heroes, Tom Wingfield, about the house and the family, which he left many years ago. Of course, the form of memory was also reflected in the plot of the play – its episodes are fragmentary, far from always expressing a finished thought, and are connected with each other only schematically, although the composition of the play is linear: there are no leaps in time in it.

Among the main problems that the author of Tennessee Williams wanted to reveal, the following the Glass Menagerie Essay Topics can be distinguished:

  • The loneliness of people;
  • The desire to hide from the cruelty of life in the invented world;
  • Doom of people;
  • Mutual misunderstanding;
  • The defenseless vulnerability of beauty.

The whole play is dedicated to a turning point in the life of every person. This is the moment when a person decides to leave childhood and leave the house. This story revolves around people who do not realize themselves and their true personalities. This topic will always remain actual throughout the entire time frame.
Autobiographical Play or Fiction?

“The Glass Menagerie” is considered the author’s most autobiographical work. Broken protagonist Tom, Thomas Lanier Williams III, is the namesake of the playwright (Tennessee had also been Williams’ nickname since college). The unhappy family around which the plot is built is a reflection of his own family. Like the Wingfields, the Williams family was led by an overbearing mother, Edwina, who raised the children with little or no input from her husband, who was always on the road selling shoes.

Edwina was a known Southern beauty. Laura, also known as Blue Rose, was based on the writer’s older sister, Rose, who struggled with mental illness and deliberately hid from the world among glass trinkets. Even the description of the Wingfields’ apartment in St. Louis closely mirrors the interior of the apartment Williams once occupied with his family.

This reference to the author’s real-life makes the work even more interesting and exciting. Writing a critical essay reflecting on real events is also intriguing because you can draw parallels between the author and his fate. For more information about the characters and symbols that the author tried to reveal, see further in the article.

Motives and Symbols in “Glass Menagerie”

To better reveal the topic and show the back of all problems, the author used symbols and images. Using symbolism in the Glass Menagerie Essay is an opportunity to convey important moments for the reader. The main images in the play are described below.
Glass Menagerie
The collection of a glass menagerie reflects its own inner “I” sister of the protagonist – Laura. This small collection is very delicate and fragile. Through this image, you can see all the beauty that comes out with the light and with people who cause this light. The main character of The Glass Menagerie is very careful about her collection, which is mentioned in the title of the play, and endlessly polishes its parts with real obsession. However, unfortunately, the glass collection is not very useful for anything except admiration, since the set has no functions. Laura looks like a glass collection in this sense because for six years that have passed from high school, she has not done a lot with her life and, it seems, also does not plan to do anything.

Ghost of the Gentleman

Tom himself says that the ghost of the Gentleman is actually not a point of the play. This image symbolizes the long-awaited event for us or our life goal. This ghost has become a hope for Amanda to ensure a good future for her daughter. At the same time, in Laura, he was able to cause only anxiety for his future and for the unjustified hopes of his mother.
In the play, an important image is poured by films. They became the hope for the protagonist. It was thanks to the films that he learned to mind and felt a craving for the public. When everyone around you does not believe in you, you must find a support point or a lighthouse that will become your guide in life.

The Image of the Family

This is perhaps one of the most important symbols that can be tracked in the play. At first glance, the standard life situation is revealed in such a way that each viewer and reader has something to think about. You have not yet selected the topic for the Paper, you can write Dysfunctional Family in the Glass Menagerie Essay. The line of each character can be opened separately, from the father, who left his family, to Tom, who now feels his duty to provide for his mother and sister, as well as take care of them.
Characterization of the Main Characters in the Play

The author tried to show a special type of people: sensitive people, not like others, and poetic in nature. People living in their illusions, dreams, and memories, people fragile like glass figures, ready to smash from the slightest touch of reality. Showing their strange “glass” inner world, Williams lets the reader decide what such characters are worthy of – contempt, pity, or, perhaps, admiration. You can come to some conclusions only using The Glass Menagerie Analysis Essay.

When revealing each character, the author tries to put the viewer in different positions and look at the behavior of every hero in his own way. Tom’s most difficult role is because he is growing up an important choice between his dream and guilt before his loved ones. The Glass Menagerie character Tom, Laura, and Amanda :

Amanda Wingfield is a mother. This little woman has a huge vitality but does not know how to live and frantically clings to the past and distance. This is a woman with a very contradictory character. She is by no means paranoid, but her life is a continuous paranoia. In Amanda, there is a lot of attraction and a lot of fun, it can be loved and pitied. She, undoubtedly tendencies, is undoubtedly capable of a kind of heroism, and although it is sometimes cruel by thought, tenderness lives in her soul.

Laura Wingfield is a daughter. Unable to establish contact with reality, Amanda is the more illusions are more strongly held. The position of Laura is much more serious. In childhood, she suffered a serious illness: one leg is slightly shorter than the other and requires special shoes. Due to the peculiar features of Laura, in the end, she becomes like a glass figure in his collection and cannot leave the regiment due to excessive fragility.

Tom Wingfield is the son of Amanda and the main character in the play. This is a talented poet who serves in a shop but dreams of traveling and another life. A conscience is staring, but he is forced to act mercilessly – otherwise not break out of the trap.

In conclusion, it is worth noting that Tom’s sense of responsibility to his family is an important topic in “Glass Menagerie.” His struggle to balance his own desires with obligations to loved ones moves most of the play and ultimately leads to his victim at the end. The symbolism of the whole play further emphasizes the fragile and delicate nature of the Wingfield family.

Features of a Critical Essay

The most common type of analysis of a literary work is a critical essay. Such work, as a rule, sets philologists and students of other humanitarian specialties in order to teach them to formulate their own estimates of what they read and reinforce their opinions with convincing arguments. The structure of the critical essay always looks the same and consists of:

Introduction. In the introduction, the author formulates the thesis – their assessment of the work that they write about. That is, your main idea is displayed in The Glass Menagerie Introduction Essay.
Main part. In this section, they justify this opinion: give evidence and refute possible counterarguments.
Conclusion. This part summarizes conclusions that should be logically related to the initial thesis.

Two factors will help you prepare for a good job: the ability to think critically and a thorough acquaintance with the object of the essay. The work must be read completely; in the course of reading, you can fix your impressions and mark fragments that can be used as arguments. Pay special attention to the Conclusion: it should not contradict the thesis put forward in the introduction. At the completion of this type of essay, it is best to use a generalization or quote.

Analysis of “Glass Menagerie” Through a Critical Essay

How can a critical essay help reveal the main message in the play “Glass Menagerie”? A critical essay intends to convey certain meanings of a literary text to a specific audience. In the essay, you will be able to spot all the visible pros and cons of the play from different points of view. The main function of a literary critical essay is to persuade people to read a literary text for the reasons described.

Every work starts with the important thing, you should always formulate a thesis statement. This will be your main idea and view of this play. Identify the main problems that the author wanted to reveal and highlight one of them. For example, you can analyze the choice of the main character, Tom, or the difficult life situation of Laura. After the formed thesis, there will be the main part of the text. Here, the essay writer has the opportunity to give free rein to his thoughts.

In the main part, you can quote the text and give various arguments in favor of your statement and reason. You can also reference the thoughts of some literary critics or other analyses of the play. What should you do in the main part of the essay? Just convey to the reader your point of view while giving reasons for it.

Each work should also have a conclusion. This is the final point of your thoughts. Here, you can emphasize the Glass Menagerie symbolism essay conclusion. What symbols did the author reveal, and what thoughts did he convey to the readers? Summarize all this and re-write your idea that was in the thesis. In this case, you should say everything in an affirmative form.

If you have difficulties writing an essay, then you can always seek help from a professional service for writing any written work.


This seemingly classic American play reveals many deep themes to which the author tried to draw attention. This is, to some extent, an autobiographical play, but with speculation and distortion of some facts. The play reveals each character deeply and makes the viewer think about their life and the complexity of their choices. A critical essay will help you analyze the play and its strengths and weaknesses. To write the Glass Menagerie essay, you can also turn to a professional service.


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