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'A Play Is Not Just Language...'

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'A Play Is Not Just Language...' If The Glass Menagerie were performed without the effects Williams wrote into the script, then the play would barely have a plot. Williams' use of music, lighting and a television screen add depth and meaning to the play. He uses effects to portray the feelings of the characters, rather than their words or actions. In Tom's opening speech he states that 'The play is memory.' Because it is about his memories of his mother and her memories. They both spend the play living in the past. Tom is obviously living in the past because the play is based around 'post-war Tom's' memories of his life prior to the war when he was living with Amanda and Laura. Amanda seems to be divided between her world as an abandoned mother of two, and her youth back in Blue Mountain. When Amanda first appears in the play, so does the legend on the television screen 'Ou sont les neiges' and later, 'Ou sont les neiges d'antan?' which means 'where are the snows' and 'where are the snows of yesteryear?' ...read more.


Laura is chronically shy and the idea of change petrifies her, so immediately she seeks the solace of The Glass Menagerie. And later, in scene two, Amanda has just confronted Laura about the business college, and has come to the conclusion that 'Girls that aren't cut out for business careers usually wind up married to some nice young man. Sister, that's what you'll do!' Laura's immediate reaction is to laugh nervously and then reach for a piece of glass. Williams creates music that the audience associates with The Glass Menagerie, it really represents Laura's subconscious handling the prospect of a change in her life. For example when Tom and Amanda have a fight at the end of scene two, it is apparent to Laura that Tom is unhappy, which is a threat to her world, The Glass Menagerie music starts to play, representing her subconscious' struggling to block out the idea that he may leave, which is why it is significant that Tom breaks a piece of glass. And later Jim breaks off the unicorn's horn, which represents something inside of Tom snapping, causing him to finally leave. ...read more.


Music is also used to convey messages, for example using The Glass Menagerie music is played to express Laura's silent fears but other music is played in other scenes to express general feelings. For example in scene five, dance music called 'The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise', this is used to show society's general lack of motivation not just the family's. The last scene of the play is when Tom storms out of the apartment and he is standing on the stairs telling the audience what he then went on to do. In the background is Amanda comforting her daughter, and it is not a side that the audience has witnessed of Amanda before. This final moment is obviously a very important moment for Amanda and Laura because they are bonding, yet Williams has this scene in silence. This silence does not devalue this moment between the two at all, but makes it more powerful, because acts speak louder than words, hence 'A play is not just language...'. Laurian Wright Glass Menagerie Coursework Miss Fryer !7th November 2002 ...read more.

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