Friday, April 17, 2015

Literary Terms in the Glass Menagerie

What themes does the play present?

One thing I noticed was the various themes relating to reality:

All three of the main characters fail to see reality.

Amanda seeks change reality in an attempt to fix things beyond her control.

Laura escapes reality by creating an imaginative world.

Tom’s choice of escape from reality as well as his mother and sister’s problems with it, consists of the “movies” and drinking…

To what extent do the thematic materials of the play have an effect on the dramatic experience?

These various themes and the way they are presented does not just have an effect on the dramatic experience, it IS the dramatic experience contained within the play.

Does the power of the ideas increase or decrease the pleasure of the theatrical experience?

Ideas are powerful and overarching themes held within a play will inevitably sway the reader’s opinion of the characters as well as the play. This can be used positively or negatively and thus increase or decrease the enjoyability of a particular work.

In The Glass Menagerie I think that these overarching ideas do not hinder the work, but they do add confusion to the meaning of the work; since there are so many scenes that have to do with “reality” it is hard to understand the meaning since there is never a conclusion on what “reality” is best, or what one is supposed to do about their struggles with reality.

How do the various physical effects – theatrical components such as sets, lights, costuming, makeup, gestures, stage movements, musical effects of song or dance, and so forth – reinforce the meanings and contribute to the emotional effects?

I think in a real play setting where the play is actually getting preformed this would be more meaningful, but just in reading The Glass Menagerie, it is easy to skim over these parts that don’t seem to have that much to do with the storyline.

They do help to guide the tone of each particular scene: for example the dance with Jim made the whole scene seem more sweet, and also more catastrophic when it ended.

By what means does the playwright indicate the nature of these physical effects – explicitly, through stage directions and set descriptions, or implicitly, through dialogue between characters?


To what extent does the play employ narration as a means of dramatic exposition? What other expository methods does it use?

The play goes back and forth between Tom narrating what is happening or has happened and the characters engaging in actual dialogue, which ends up telling the reader more about the character’s pasts also.

Does the exposition have a function beyond communicating information about prior events? What effects on the audience do the expository methods have?

Yes, gives the reader insight into the personalities, attitudes, and actions of the characters. Knowing actions or events of the past and how they are presented tells the reader a great deal about those being discussed as well as the presenter.