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IB English The Glass Menagerie Scene Six
Transcript of IB English The Glass Menagerie Scene Six
by Tennessee WILLIAMS
Selamay Seife, Esther Ko, Amani Koduru
CHARACTERS IN SCENE SIX
SUMMARY OF SCENE
Tom: Trying to find an escape in life.
Amanda: Lives her daily life through past memories.
Laura: Fragile emotionally and physically.
Jim O'Connor: Content with ordinary lifestyle- does not yearn over past life.
--> The stage directions develop the characters more than their dialogue itself. For example, the stage directions describing Amanda's actions and dress exemplify her pretenses and her inability to part with her past. (pg 2000)
--> Laura is portrayed as fragile, just like her glass collection. The stage directions continuously show how delicate she is both physically and emotionally.
Laura associates music with her father, who left them the Victrola. The Victrola provides Laura an auditory escape.
--> Laura meeting Jim is very important to the development of Laura's character, because she fails at her one chance to change.
VICTROLA="Excuse me-I haven't finished playing the victrola..." She uses the Victrola as auditory escape and contrasts with the clickety-clack of the typewriter
FIREESCAPE="I'm going out on the terrace" Tom frequently uses the fireescape as an escape from the fires of frustration and dysfunction that rage in the Wingfield household
MOVIES="Yes, Movies! Look at them- All of those glamorous people-having adventures- hogging it all, gobbling the whole thing up!" Tom also uses the movies as an escape as he tries to be like "them" the people in the movies
JONQUILS="That spring i had craze for jonquils" The flowers are reminiscent of the past and signify what she wants for her daughter
--> Devices used in the scene: Door, Mirror, Lamp, Chairs (Sofa), Dinning table, Flowers (Jonquils), Vase, Mirror, Pillows, Blue cloth (Silk sash), Sofa covers, Teddy Bear(Jim), Cigarettes, ID card (Member of Union of Union of Merchant Seamen).
--> The new objects in the living room like the sofa covers, new floor lamp, sofa pillows, represents Amanda's hope for a better life for herself and Laura.
--> Jonquils are part of Amanda's glamorous past, which she is not able to overcome from.
--> The Member card represents Tom physically wanting to escape from his reality.
In the beginning of Scene One, Tom describes Jim O'Connor as the most realistic character in the play. According to what happens in Scene Six, does Jim appear this way? Are his drams more/less realistic than Tom’s?
How does Tennessee Williams show sympathy towards Amanda in scene six?
How does each of the character escape from reality?
How is Tom similar and different compared to his father?
Do you think the play would have a different meaning if it was a comedy?
Tom explains about Jim O’Connor. Jim was known as the outstanding guy in high school, who won basketball games and the silver cup in debating. However, after graduation, he wasn’t doing as well; he held a job not much better than Tom’s job. Tom explains that Jim was his only friend at the warehouse, since Tom was valuable to Jim’s ego. Tom was the only person there that had the memories of Jim’s greatness in high school.
Amanda and Laura prepare to meet the gentleman caller. Laura complains that her mother is making her nervous, but Amanda continues to fuss. She goes as far as attempting to pad Laura’s breasts. Amanda goes to the back to come back out dressed nicely with a dress from her youth carrying jonquils, “The legend of her youth.” Amanda tells Laura to open the door for Mr. O’Connor when he comes, and the name rings a bell for Laura. When Laura said she cannot come to dinner for this reason, Amanda did not agree because it would have destroyed all of her plans. Later, Laura tries to get out of answering the door, but Amanda forces her to do so.
SUMMARY OF SCENE
Tom and Jim begin to discuss the warehouse. Jim warns Tom that he is about to lose his job, but Tom states that his future plans do not consist of working at the warehouse. Tom uses the money for the light bill to pay his dues at the Merchant Seaman’s Union. He warns Jim not to tell his mother, since she does not know of his plans.
When Amanda meets Jim, she immediately begins to have a long talk about weather, gentlemen callers, and her past life. Tom says dinner is ready, but Laura is not feeling well. Amanda does not take no for an answer, refusing to start dinner without Laura. Laura enters and stumbles over a chair causing Amanda to finally realize her daughter is actually sick. Amanda tells Tom to help her to the living room where Laura laid while the others began to eat dinner.
-->Throughout the play the stage directions call for "a turgid smokey red glow," "gloomy gray" lighting and "deep blue dusk" which create the hazy images of a memory. For a short while, as Jim enters, there is a "delicate lemony light", and a soft light from the new lamp brings out Laura's "unearthly prettiness (1999)." Yet, at the end of the play, and throughout its majority, the set is grim, characteristic of Tom's sad memory.
MEMORY: "He was shooting with such velocity through his adolescence that you would logically expect him to arrive at nothing short of the White House" Tom explains Jim as a memory in the past.
ILLUSION= "All girls are a trap, a pretty trap, and men expect them to be" Amanda is trapped in this dream/illusion of perfection.
ESCAPE= "I'm tired of the movies and i am about to move!" Tom does not want to slip into the world of illusions and instead wants to escape.
--> The stage directions in The Glass Menagerie are as important to the theme of the play as the dialogue itself.
--> Without the stage directions specifically describing the lighting, the costumes, the music, and the characters' actions, an entirely different message might be conveyed. Without the dim lighting and the music, the play might seem too real to be a memory.
--> The stage directions foreshadow and emphasize events. Example the description of Laura as "a piece of translucent glass touched by light, given a momentary radiance, not actual, not lasting (1999)." Foreshadows Laura's brush with self-confidence that leaves as quickly as it comes.
PURPOSE OF SCENE
Shows Amanda's desire to relive her youth, this is made clear when she wears her old dress from her youth. However, her fantasy can never end well because all of them end with the marrying of her husband, Mr. Wingfield.
Shows Tom wants to escape. He has a more literal escape, to the Merchant Seaman rather than the cinema. He final sees a way to escape Amanda and Laura.
Consequence of Omitting Scene: Play would not show Amanda's desire to live her past life proven by when she dressed in her old youth dress that had memory. Without this scene, the play would not have developed a new goal of Tom's, he believes he has finally found an escape.
Tom does not want to escape into dreams or other fantasy worlds, he wants to physically escape, to leave. He is constantly escaping from something:
He escapes from the apartment onto the fire escape; he escapes from the coffin in the magic show; and he sneaks away at the warehouse to write poetry.
He fantasizes about joining the merchant marines and escaping from his claustrophobic life.
Tom goes to the movies every night to watch some fantasy on the screen.
He also uses alcohol to escape reality: we see bottles in his pockets, and “going to the movies” is a euphemism for getting drunk.
Yet all of Tom’s escape mechanisms are cyclical: while they offer the promise of freedom, but they also trap him.