Lesson Plan #1: The Glass Menagerie

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The purpose of this was to give certain values or a particular point to a scene. Meaning was to be found not only in the spoken word; the screen was to give the primary point of each scene. The music is another literary accent.

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A single tune is repeated to underline certain emotions. It is a link between the narrator and the subject of the story. In each scene, the music is a reference to the nostalgia of the play - the condition and spirit of the piece. The music belongs mainly to Laura and is heard most clearly when the play focuses on her and the fragility of glass, which is her image. The lighting also reflects the meaning of the play.

Laura has the clearest pool of light on her, like the light used in early religious portraits. The atmosphere for the figures on stage is radiant. These production notes were written not only for this play, but as imaginative ideas for directors. The notes encourage the poetry of the playwriting, along with specific descrip- tions of real, everyday life. Julie Harris The mother of Tom and Laura. Her husband deserted her years ago leaving her to raise her two children alone. Amanda escapes the realities of the real world by living partially in the world of her youth and gentlemen callers.

Tom Wingfield. Tom supports the family by working in a shoe warehouse. He feels stifled by his home and work environments and feels that his poetic nature and creative abilities are being destroyed. Laura Wingfield. Calista Flockhart The daughter who is slightly disabled physically, Laura has retreated from the world and surrounds herself with old phonograph records and her glass menagerie little glass animals.

Kevin Kilner Jim is a nice, ordinary, young man. Radio Announcer. This play was not only a piece that opened the door of fame and fortune for the playwright, it also set the stage, so to speak, for the recurring themes and character types that appear in many of his future literary pieces, both in playwriting and prose. Never again, though, would he capture the agony of his family relationships in quite the same gentle and wispy manner.

Its form is set in a series of scenes framing episodes that move the story along. Everything about the play creates a unity of fragility that never ceases to awe audiences. It is as if Williams draws all of us into that floating state of memory, past images and bygone dreams. The power of his writing is his way of taking minute physical and emotional details of his own life and transforming them into a prayer for hope and peace for all families.

Here is a mother, Amanda, who, through delusions and wishes for total control, forces her children to either stay and be destroyed or flee and remain distant. Later in his life, Williams once said he could only be with his mother for about fifteen minutes at a time. Memory omits details and exaggerates them according to the value of the memory.

Memory, as he explains, rests mainly in the heart. Instead, Laura explains, she has been walking all day because she threw up when she went to typing class. Amanda whines to her — Laura daughter about her terror of what will happen to the two of them if Laura remains untrained for work. Amanda decides Laura will have to marry. Scene Three. Tom and Amanda quarrel after she has sent back his library books without telling him.

She accuses him of doing things he is ashamed of and not going to the — Tom movies every night. He tells her how he hates working in the warehouse, how he yearns to leave. Tom dashes for the door, struggles with his coat, and finally flings it across the room into the glass menagerie. He stops, bends to the shelf of glass, collects the pieces but cannot speak. Scene Four Laura comes to him and begs him to make up with their mother and talk to her. The next morning at breakfast, Tom speaks to Amanda and apologizes.

Amanda declares her devotion to the children and starts giving him instructions again on how to eat. She makes him promise not to become a drunkard, and then asks him how he feels about his life in the apartment. Scene Five. You look so pretty when your hair is combed! Tom then turns back to Amanda and tells her they are, at last, going to have a gentleman caller.

He explains that he has asked someone from work to come over for dinner the very next night. Amanda must now rush around in excited preparation.

Tennessee Williams vs. Tom Wingfield

Tom, meanwhile, is worried about Laura being different and peculiar. Jim likes to be around Tom at work because Tom remembers the glory of his high school days. Amanda puts on a dress from her past, one that she wore when she met her husband. When Jim arrives, Amanda oozes her southern charm, talking nonstop. Tom tells him secretly that he bought a seaman ticket with the money for their light bill. Scene Seven When Amanda realizes that Tom has not paid the light bill, she maintains her southern charm and punishes him by making him come with her into the kitchen and wash the dishes.

Jim and Laura are left alone in the living room. Jim puts the candles on the floor and asks Laura to sit on the floor with him. They look at their high school yearbook together, and Jim tries to cheer Laura. He tells her that if she is disappointed with her life, not to be discouraged.

How to Teach The Glass Menagerie | Prestwick House

Laura tells Jim that her greatest interest is her collection of glass animals. He tells her that he is going to go into television and make something of himself. She shows him her unicorn a horse with a horn coming from its forehead. Jim places the glass unicorn on the coffee table and asks Laura to dance to the music coming from across the alley. She lets herself go, whirls around and they knock the table, throwing the unicorn on the floor and breaking off its horn.

Jim feels terrible, but Laura tells him it is alright because now the animal is more like the others and will feel more comfortable. Jim tells Laura how pretty she is. Laura hands him the broken unicorn and wants him to have it as a souvenir. When Amanda finds out Jim is engaged, she fights with Tom after Jim says good-bye to the three of them. Tom runs away, and as he turns to the audience we see Amanda comforting Laura in a rare, loving moment in the background.

In his last words, he asks Laura to blow out the light of her candles. She leans toward them and, in a moment, the theatre is dark. To increase vocabulary development. To increase ability to organize and express ideas in writing. Describe how you think the Wingfield family deals with their problems. If you could change something for the better in your family life, what would it be?

Define Symbolism

How would you help this change happen? Is there anyone in the play who reminds you of someone you know? Pick a character in the play and pretend you are that person. Make up the story of your life before the time when the play begins. Whom do you most identify with and why?

Whom do you least identify with? Read another play by Tennessee Williams and compare the two plays. Include plot, characters and themes. What is a menagerie? If you have ever seen one or had such a menagerie yourself, describe it. Be specific. Make sure to mention how old you were at that time. What would you do if you had a mother like Amanda? Is there anyone in your past who haunts you as Tom is haunted by the presence of Laura?

What do you think of the ending of the play? Read about the life of the playwright, Tennessee Williams. Choose Tom or Amanda and argue how that character should be considered the main character of the play. Which characters face life most realistically? Defend your choice. Do you think she is an admirable person or simply a silly, frustrated woman, why? The scenes in this play are told as Tom remembers them. Do you think the story might be different if Amanda were telling it? Write one or more of the scenes as one of the other characters might tell them.

You may use some of the dialogue from the play, if you wish. Most people have dreams or goals. Write about one of your dreams or make one up. Imagine life in the tenement apartment from the point of view of Amanda. Write a brief description, as if you were Amanda, of your neighborhood, your day-to-day life, your worries about your children, and your hopes for the future.

Select one of the characters and write a letter as if you were that person describing what you are feeling and how you feel now about the events that happened in the play. To stimulate cognitive learning.

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Why does Tom go to the movies so often? What are the similarities between Tom and his father? Why does Amanda nag Tom so much? Why does it take Tom so long to decide to leave home? Why does Amanda blame Tom for the failure of the evening? Why does Laura give the unicorn to Jim? Does Jim have the potential for greatness attributed to him by Laura?

Why does Jim, an ordinary person, seem so wonderful and exceptional to Laura? Does Laura understand the responsibility that Tom feels for her? Is he justified in what he does? Amanda has closed her mind to the reality that Laura has no prospects for gentleman callers.

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  • Does Amanda want the callers for Laura or does she want them so that she can relive her own youth? Explain, using examples from the play. Tom is a character in the story of the play and the narrator who steps outside of the story and creates the memory. The Glass Menagerie The Glass Menagerie This study guide is designed for a specific theater's production but includes activities that will work in any classroom.

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    Lesson Plan #1: The Glass Menagerie Lesson Plan #1: The Glass Menagerie
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    Lesson Plan #1: The Glass Menagerie Lesson Plan #1: The Glass Menagerie
    Lesson Plan #1: The Glass Menagerie Lesson Plan #1: The Glass Menagerie
    Lesson Plan #1: The Glass Menagerie Lesson Plan #1: The Glass Menagerie
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