Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie: Plot Summary

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The Glass Menagerie
By Tennesse Williams

About the Author
Tennessee Williams based “The Glass Menagerie” on "Portrait of a Girl in Glass," a short story he wrote in 1943 and published in 1948. Both works drew upon Williams's own experiences. When he was growing up, he was close to his sister, Rose, who resembled the fragile and psychologically disturbed Laura Wingfield in "The Glass Menagerie." His mother resembled Laura's mother, Amanda. Williams himself resembled Laura's brother, Tom Wingfield. Williams was even nicknamed Tom in his youth.

Plot Summary
Tom begins by introducing the play as a memory play of his own memory of his past. He introduces the character. The start of the play shows the Wingfield family eating dinner. Amanda keeps telling Tom to chew is food, and Tom gets thoroughly annoyed and leaves the table to smoke. Amanda tells her story of 17 gentleman callers. The next day, Laura is sitting at her desk in front of the typewriter chart when Amanda comes in angry. She asks Laura about the business college and tells Laura she found out that she dropped out. Laura explains that she couldn’t handle the class and went walking every day. Later Amanda sits with Laura and asks her about a boy she liked. Laura points out Jim in the yearbook. Later, Tom gets into an argument with Amanda. Amanda cannot understand why Tom goes to the movies every night. Tom says he cannot stand working for the family like he does. Tom makes his speech about being an assassin and leaves to the movies. He returns late at night drunk, but loses the key. Laura opens the door and Tom tells her about the movie and the magic show he saw, giving her a scarf from the magic show. The next morning, Amanda makes Tom wake up as usual and prepares him for his work. Before he leaves, she asks him to bring home a gentleman caller for Laura. That night Tom informs his mother that he asked Jim O’Conner to dinner the next day. The next day, Laura and Amanda prepare...
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