The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
Anticipating the Future
Life is a continual quest for discovery. We can look to our past insights and to our future for possibilities. In our present, we find the immediate challenges that must be if our journey is to be successful (P. Drapeau, J. Terpening, & A. White, 1993, p. 159). Reading the Play: The Glass Menagerie (Williams) could serve as a starting point for the Anticipation theme. Pre-reading
This play takes place in Tom’s memory but is about people’s dreams for the future. Have students consider the following: What are your expectations for your future? What does being successful mean to you? Does it mean finding fulfilment in friends and family? In work? In finding a good job? Making money? What do other people expect of you? What are the expectations of those close to you? Activities
Have students consider the following:
How do Amanda, Laura, Tom, and Jim differ in their goals and their dreams for the future? As you read the play, consider the dreams of each character. Which is more attractive to you? Why? Which of these dreams is presented most sympathetically in the play? Unsympathetically? Response
Initial Response: Have students discuss the following: What does Williams say about hopes, dreams, goals, and anticipation? Appearance and reality? Desires and duties? Parent-child relationships? Nostalgia? A Second Look: A second reading might include comments on the elements of the play (e.g., setting, character, tone, theme, imagery, and symbols) as well as aspects of staging and presenting the piece. Have students analyze one key element of The Glass Menagerie. For example, have them consider the following: * Characters are the people who participate in the action of a work. We learn a lot about a person’s background and beliefs by noting what the person says or does. In a full-length play, we learn a great deal about the main characters, including their values. Analyze the...
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