Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams


Literature Analysis Questions

Here are some questions to guide your literature analysis.

1. Briefly summarize the plot of the novel you read, and explain how the narrative fulfills the author's purpose (based on your well-informed interpretation of same).

The Glass Menagerie is essentially a flashback of a young man observing the relationship between a mother and daughter who are at odds. 

2. Succinctly describe the theme of the novel. Avoid cliches.

The theme of this play is that family can either build you up or tear you down, sometimes both at once. Relationships are fragile, but they also shape who you are and who you become.

3. Describe the author's tone. Include a minimum of three excerpts that illustrate your point(s).

"Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you an illusion that has the appearance of truth, I give you truth that has the appearance of an illusion."

 "This scene is memory and therefore nonrealistic...It omits some details, exaggerates others."

"The transparent wall ascends...does not descend until the end of the play."
Right from the beginning there is an air of irony around this play. Usually a play tells the story as it happens, but this play tells the story AFTER it's already happened. Williams wanted it to be obvious that this play is not like other plays.

1. Describe two examples of direct characterization and two examples of indirect characterization.  Why does the author use both approaches, and to what end (i.e., what is your lasting impression of the character as a result)?

All the characterization in the play is done indirectly via dialogue. It is, for the most part, up to the actor and director of each play to interpret the indirect characterization as the artistic license allows. For example, in scene 2 there is an exchange between Amanda and Laura where Amanda is patronizing Laura. The silences that hang between them give the actors a chance to develop their own character.

2. Does the author's syntax and/or diction change when s/he focuses on character?  How?  Example(s)?

Throughout the course of the script there are cues for images on screen. These images generally depict a character's back story. An example of this is in scene 6 when Tom talks about Jim and Jim's relationship to Laura.

3. Is the protagonist static or dynamic?  Flat or round?  Explain.

The protagonist is static in the sense that, in "real time" he does not change. However, this story he is telling is the story of him changing.

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