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A Discussion Into The Ways In Which Williams Explores Memory In 'the Glass Menagerie'

992 words - 4 pages

Tennessee Williams has shown memory as a distortion of what really happened. The 'Glass Menagerie' is all Tom's memory. If seen from another characters view point or memory, the situations shown may have appeared very different. Williams has explored memory by showing how you can exaggerate certain things in your memory, and also how imagery, symbols and music can play a large part in creating the illusion of memory.Williams has used visual effectiveness of the staging of a piece of drama to his advantage. Throughout the play images appear that illustrate a memory that is being performed or discussed by the characters. In scene one when Amanda talks about her days in Blue Mountain, an image ...view middle of the document...

I feel this is illustrating Tom's thoughts about Laura. The minor key within the music gives an unsettling effect. This suggests that Tom thinks Laura is different compared to other girls and unsettled about herself.The play opens with Tom address the audience. He introduces the play as his own memory and highlights his roles as narrator. He appears like the director of the play "I am using this character as a symbol" and is almost in control "I turn back time..." Because he is in control of the play, as it is his memory, it gives him the power to change, distort or exaggerate the truth of what happened. Tom stays on the stage for the whole play but stands to the side when he is not in that specific part. This constantly reminds the audience that it is his memory they are viewing. It also gives a feeling that Tom is directing the play. Williams has shown Tom as almost controlling and directing his own memory to show how we can easily change and distort what we believe really had happened.Amanda's character appears exaggerated. She is very lively and enthusiastic. This is shown in the text by the amount of exclamation marks in her speeches "And I could have been Mrs. Duncan J. Fitzhugh, mind you! But - I picked your father!". She often talks to Tom like a child. In the start of scene one she gives him a long speech on how to chew his food properly. This seems a little over exaggerated and may be the result of the distortion of Tom's memory - he remembers his mother constantly fussing. Tom's speeches as a character within the play also have been exaggerated. In his outburst to his mother about his...

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