A three-lesson, twenty-two-page, fill-in-the-blank handout which will allow your students to explore the thematic, structural, and stylistic brilliance of Williams’s “The Glass Menagerie.”
The first lesson deals with scenes 1-3 of the play and has a detailed character analysis of the four members of the Wingfield family and of the two major themes of the drama: The disintegration of the family and reality vs. illusion.
The second lesson examines the structure, the development of characters, and the political symbolism of the play (the breakup of the Wingfield family parallels the outbreak of fascist-driven war in Europe).
The third lesson deals with the long scene 7, the climax and denouement of “The Glass Menagerie.” Here your students will tie together its four major symbols (glass, color, the fire escape, and the symbolism of the characters’ names).
To a five-page Answer Key, I have appended nineteen pages of notes to the teacher about aspects of “The Glass Menagerie” not covered in the student handout: autobiography in the play, an analysis of Williams’s earlier versions of the events of the Wingfield family; a scene-by-scene definition of difficult vocabulary items; literary, political, cultural, and religious allusions; the dual time spans of the play; and an identification of the St. Louis streets, neighborhoods, and other local sites mentioned in the play. Some of these notes constitute original analysis and research and are not found in any other source.
A marvelous aspect of literature students is that they like to ask about the minutest items of a work. These appended notes should prepare you to address any such questions about “The Glass Menagerie.”
Prepared by Professor William Tarvin, Ph.D., who has published many articles on literature in scholarly journals.