Summary Of The Glass Menagerie By Tennessee Williams

Summary Of The Glass Menagerie By Tennessee Williams

This is written by the American playwright Tennessee Williams. The play has been written between 1941 and 1943, and thereby published in the year 1945.

The setting of this play is an apartment in St. Louis in the times of 1930s. This is a tragedy and memory play. For your information, a memory play is the kind of play in which the protagonist narrates some stories to their audiences based on their real-life memories. 

Before beginning with the play, it is important that you get a little aware of the major characters in this play to make it easier for you to understand the Glass of Menagerie summary. 

Important Characters Of The Glass Menagerie Play

Mr. Wingfield 

He is the father of the protagonist of the play “Tom Wingfield” who had already left his family about 16 years ago. He used to be a handsome and charming man who worked in a telephone company. But, eventually, he fell in love with another woman, and thus, he leaves his family to be with that woman. And throughout all these times, he never contacted anyone from his family except for once when he sent just a Hello and a Goodbye in the postcard. 

Amanda Wingfield 

She is the wife of Mr. Wingfield. She belonged to a well-to-do polish family, but after her marriage to the handsome man Mr. Wingfield, he leaves Amanda, and Amanda looks after her two kids alone. After her kids have grown up, she expects that they will stand up on their own so that she can enjoy all those comforts of life again which she once used to before her marriage. 

Tom Wingfield

He is the son of Mr. Wingfield and Amanda Wingfield. Tom is the protagonist as well as the narrator of this play who conveys the story of himself and his family from his past memories. Currently, Tom works in a shoe warehouse to support his family but he is quite frustrated with this job because he wants to be a poet, but after the tiring work of the day, he is unable to write poems, so, he starts consuming alcohol and cigarettes, and sometimes, he leaves home at night to watch movies. On one side, he wants to support his family, and at the same time, he also takes his job as a burden. 

Laura Wingfield 

She is the daughter of Wingfield and Amanda and the elder sister of Tom. Laura is a shy girl lost in her own world. She always stays alone. In childhood, she suffered from Pleurosis due to which the nerves of her feet were damaged and she limps. She is not able to walk properly without support. So, she feels that everyone is noticing her feet and has thus inferiority complex due to which she stays alone in her room and keeps polishing a collection of glass figurines. 

Jim O’Connor

He is someone known to Tom and Laura from their high school days. He was quite popular during his high school days but then over the period of time his condition get worse and now he is working with Tom in the same shoe warehouse. During school days, Jim also used

Let us now move to The Glass Menagerie critical analysis and summary. 

The Glass Menagerie Summary By Tennessee Williams

During the time of 1930s, the Wingfield family used to live in an apartment in St. Louis in the 1930s. In this apartment, a woman named Amanda used to live with her two kids, Tom and Laura. Tom is in his early twenties, and Laura is a little elder than Tom. 

Their father, Mr. Wingfield had already left the family 16 years ago because he fell in love with another woman and he never ever contacted their family except for once when he sent a postcard where he had written only Hello and Goodbye to his family. 

In all these years, Tom has also grown up and is currently working in a shoe warehouse to support his family. The main story of this play begins with the time when Tom returns to his apartment from work. On his return, the entire Wingfield family comes together to have dinner. 

While having dinner, Amanda first starts scolding him for his table manners and smoking habits and after some time, to entertain her kids, she starts telling them a story from her youthful days. When she was young, she used to live with her family at a place named Blue Mountain. At that time, she used to be quite famous and popular and a lot of men used to like and admire her. 

Amanda had already told her kids this particular story, so, the two do not show much interest in the story, but they do not stop their mother from repeating the story either. After some time, Laura tells her mother that she is not as popular and famous as her and thus, she is not able to attract any gentleman towards her. 

On hearing this, Amanda gets disappointed because Laura has a limping problem in her feet due to which she always feels insecure thus, because of this insecurity, she left her high school, and later when her mother enrolled her in a business college so she could make her career, after a few weeks, Amanda got to know that Laura was not attending the college, rather, she would just roam around the park or in the zoo. 

Moreover, Laura would spend most of her time in polishing the collection of glass menageries (glass figurines), always enclosed in her room. Due to these things, Amanda is quite frustrated and finally decides that since Laura is not going to study anymore, so she will just get married so she gets settled. 

Then, Amanda also starts selling some magazine subscriptions to earn extra money to attract a man to Laura. Amanda also asks Laura if she likes any man. Laura tells Amanda that she used to like a guy named Jim when she was in high school and he was also her crush, but, by now, he might have been married already.  

Tom, on the one side, wants to support his family, but he also takes his work as a burden at the same time. So, to escape from all this, sometimes, Tom goes out at night to watch movies, sometimes he starts consuming alcohol or cigarettes, and sometimes he tries to write poetry. 

Due to all this, there are always arguments and conflicts between Tom and Amanda, and during one such argument, once Tom accidently breaks some glass figurines of Laura, and he leaves the house in anger. 

The next day, when Tom returns home in the morning, he begins to tell his sister about a magic trick that how a man disappeared from inside a closed box. But Laura tells him that he should first apologize to their mother. 

Due to the gentle convincing of Laura, Tom agrees and apologizes to his mother and she also forgives him. 

After all these events, Amanda tells Tom that if he at least cares a little about his sister, then he should start looking for a good man at the warehouse where he works so that she can get him married to Laura. 

After some days, Tom casually invites his friend Jim from the warehouse to his home for dinner so that he can also introduce him to his family, and know him better because Jim was the same man whom Laura used to like during her high school days. But Jim’s condition had gotten worse due to which he is also currently working in that warehouse with tom. 

Jim also calls Tom Shakespeare because Tom often writes poems in between his work. Now, when Amanda gets to know that Tom is about to bring a man to their home, she gets happy and excited to hear this and starts decorating her house. She fixes all the lights in her house and prepares something special for food, and also gets a new dress ready for Laura. 

When Laura gets to know that this gentleman who is going to visit their home is no one else but Jim whom she used to like, she gets more nervous.

When Jim visits their house, Amanda asks Laura to open the door for him and she does the same and welcomes Jim. But due to her social insecurity and anxiety, she goes to her hall room and lies down on the sofa. After that, Tom, Jim, and Amanda sit in another room and start having dinner. 

While having dinner, Tom tells Jim alone that he hasn’t paid the electricity bill of his house because he has invested that money to get a job as a marine merchant since Tom has planned that he will soon leave his job and his family to go on an adventure. That is why he is trying to get that job as a merchant marine. 

Then suddenly Amanda tells Tom that Laura hasn’t arrived here yet, so bring her to the dinner table. When Tom goes to Laura to bring her to dinner, Laura lies to him that she is not feeling well and cannot have dinner with them. 

Then, when their dinner is about to end, the electricity of their house goes away suddenly because Tom had not paid the bill, so Amanda lights the candles and encourages Jim to spend some time with Laura and they will come in some time. 

When Jim goes to Laura in the hall room, Laura freezes in the beginning and stays silent. But slowly, because of his warm and open behavior of Jim, she feels normal and after some time, the two begin to chat. 

Then Laura reminds Jim that how he used to call her Blue Roses during their high school days because once, when Laura had not come to school due to her disease, Jim asked her the reason for her absence and Laura told her that she was suffering from Pleurosis. But, Jim took Pleurosis for Blue Roses and that was how he began calling her by this name. 

Now again, after hearing this, Jim remembers everything. Then Jim tells Laura that she is too shy and she shouldn’t think that much about her feet. Instead, he said that she should develop more confidence within herself. After this, Laura starts showing her collection of glass figurines to Jim. 

Then the two also begin dancing. But, while dancing, by mistake, Jim accidentally breaks Laura’s favorite Unicorn glass figurine. Jim starts apologizing to Laura. Not just this, while dancing with Laura, Jim gets so comfortable that he also kisses her. 

But, suddenly, he realizes that he shouldn’t have done that and he apologizes to her again and tells her that he was drifted with emotions. 

Moreover, Jim also tells her that he has a fiancee named Betty and he is soon getting married to her. After hearing this, Laura gets shocked but she keeps her emotions hidden. 

When Amanda arrives at the hall room, she asks Jim to keep visiting there often. Jim tells her that he has to go to the station to pick up his fiancee. Even after hearing this, Amanda gently greets goodbye to Jim but soon after that, she gets angered over Tom and tells him that he has done a really bad prank on them and that he is a very selfish person who has played with their feelings. 

After hearing all this, Tom also gets shocked and he tells his mother that even he wasn’t aware that Jim is engaged. Then Tom gets furious and is about to leave the home. At this, his mother says that he should simply go to the moon, that would be better for him.

Angered, Tom slams the door of their house and leaves. Finally, at the end of the play, Tom says that after that visit Jim made, Tom was also soon fired from his job and he leaves his home and goes far away.

Then he also says that no matter how far he goes from his family, his emotional connection with his sister and mother will still be the same. With this, the play ends. 

Final Words

In the hope that I have done justice to The Glass Menagerie Tennessee Williams Summary, I assume that you would have understood it properly and if there is any suggestion for me or any other literary work whose summary you need, I am here for you, so you can just tell me in the comments. Also, let me know if you want The Glass Menagerie critical analysis pdf. You can also check out my other articles An Otter By Ted Hughes Summary, The Thought Fox By Ted Hughes Summary, and Summary Of Thrushes By Ted Hughes

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *