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The Glass Menagerie

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Introduction

'The Glass Menagerie' 'What techniques does the playwright use to maintain the reader's interest throughout the production?' Throughout the drama The Glass Menagerie, playwright Tennessee Williams uses a range of techniques to maintain the reader's interest. In essence, The Glass Menagerie depicts the character Tom and his desire to achieve adventure in life; however he is trapped providing for his mother and sister. Set in St Louis during the Depression, Tom lives in a small apartment with his mother Amanda - a domineering and manipulative character, longing for a better life, how it was when she was a young Southern Belle residing in Blue Mountain; and his crippled sister Laura - a shy frightened young woman as a result of a past case of pleurosis and now having to deal with the excessive pressure of Amanda, who desperately persuades her to find a "gentlemen caller". Becoming fed up with the way his life is, Tom eventually deserts his family as his father did in search of a life of his own. Williams, through techniques such as the narrative perspective of Tom, stage techniques (lighting, music, images) and symbolism, establishes an intriguing play enabling the reader to resonate with most aspects of it. One of the most prominent themes throughout the play is symbolism, which is used proficiently by Williams to maintain the reader's interest. ...read more.

Middle

The fire escape also provides a temporary escape from the hellish world his mother creates for him within the walls of the apartment. His true feelings about his mother and the life she makes him lead arise when he states "Every time you come in yelling that Goddamn 'Rise and Shine! Rise and Shine!' I say to myself, 'How lucky dead people are!' But I get up. I go! For sixty-five dollars a month I give up all that I dream of doing and being ever!" Above all, the fire escape provides a symbolic representation of Tom's short-term escape from his troubles, keeping reader's interested and waiting on his next series of thoughts on his unfavourable lifestyle. Used as a visual aid throughout The Glass Menagerie is the projector. Fundamentally the projector is used sparingly by Williams to assist readers understand exactly what is going on throughout the play. To achieve this, Williams applies a variety of images and text (which are sometimes repeated) relating to the particular scene at the time. Many examples of this include an image of a youthful Amanda sitting on the porch waiting for 'gentlemen callers' in Blue Mountain. Without this, readers would not have made a connection with Amanda's character and sympathised with her desire for Laura to be provided for by a thriving gentleman, "I've seen such pitiful cases in the South - barely tolerated spinsters living upon the grudging patronage of sister's husband or brother's wife!" ...read more.

Conclusion

Almost certainly the main technique used to maintain reader's interest throughout The Glass Menagerie is Tom's narrative perspective. For the duration of the play, Tom addresses the reader of past and present ultimately establishing a gateway into his life and his feelings about it. In scene one, Tom's monologue becomes apparent, introducing the whole play and explaining his presence as both a main character and a narrator. On several other occasions throughout the play Tom narrates further, however, the most important being in the dying stages of the play. Here, it is several years later and Tom is standing in the remains of the apartment where he and family once occupied - he is speaking his thoughts about his sister Laura, "for nowadays the world is lit by lightning! Blow out your candles, Laura - and so good-bye..." Without Tom's narrative role, a vital insight and directing role within the play would not be evident - a feature vital to the success of the play and the maintenance of the reader's interest. The effectiveness in maintaining reader interest throughout The Glass Menagerie takes place through unique directing techniques demonstrated by playwright Tennesse Williams. The use of lighting and music, symbolism and narrative perspective help piece together a compelling nostalgic drama that absorb the reader's interest, ultimately keeping them engaged from the opening scene to the last. 1,325 words. ?? ?? ?? ?? Yr 12 English Studies ...read more.

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