The Glass Menagerie Short Summary
The “Glass menagerie” by Tennessee Williams is a memory play that draws its action from the narrator’s memories. Tom Wingfield is both the narrator as well as a character within the play set in 1937 St. Louis.
A Flick Through of the Plot
Tom is an upcoming poet working in a shoe store to sustain Amanda, his mother, and his sister, Laura. His father abandoned them years ago. Amanda normally narrates stories to her kids about her glorious youth and the multitudes of suitors who tried to seduce her. She is sad for Laura’s crippling shyness that fails to attract suitors. She tries to enroll her in college, but Laura drops out. Amanda then starts selling magazine subscriptions to earn enough cash to find Laura a suitor. The frustrated tom normally vents out through liquor, movies, and reading. One day, during his frequent arguments with Amanda, Tom unintentionally breaks Laura’s beloved glass sculptures.
Amanda and Tom start discussing how to find Laura a suitor, and Amanda requests Tom to look out for any potential suitors at his workplace. Tom chooses his friend Jim and invites him home. Upon quizzing Tom, Amanda discovers that Jim is the right person for Laura. While Amanda is preparing dinner, Laura learns about the suitor, Jim whom she had a big crush on while at school. When Jim and tom arrive, Laura is told to open the door. She runs away after seeing the two. Tom reveals he used the electricity money to fund his intended adventures.
Meanwhile, Jim and Amanda begin a lengthy talk. Amanda is dressed in a gown from her glorious youth. Laura declines to eat dinner.
Just after dinner, lights go out, and candles get lit. Jim manages to convince Laura into dancing with him. During the dance, Laura pours out her heart to Jim. However, as she was about to show Jim her glass unicorn, Jim accidentally knocks it breaking its horn. After a quick kiss, he apologizes and reveals he has a fiancée. Laura forgives him and grants him the unicorn as a gift.
As Amanda cheerfully enters the living room, Jim excuses himself, saying that he has to meet his fiancée. Amanda is disappointed and blames Tom. She is then comforted by Laura. Shortly after, Jim gets fired from his job and travels far away. However, he is unable to shed off Laura’s memories of guilt.