The Glass Menagerie
by Tennessee Williams
The Glass Menagerie Memory and the Past Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Scene.Line). Every time a character talks counts as one line, even if what they say turns into a big long monologue.
"You modern young people are so much more serious-minded than my generation. I was so gay as a girl!"
"You haven’ changed, Mrs. Wingfield."
"Tonight I’m rejuvenated! The gaiety of the occasion, Mr. O’Connor." (7.276-7.278, Amanda and Jim).
The presence of only a single gentleman caller sent Amanda back to her role as a Southern Belle.
"No, Ma’am, not work but—Betty!"
[He crosses deliberately to pick up his hat. The band at the Paradise Dance Hall goes into a tender waltz.]
"Betty? Betty? Who’s—Betty?"
[There is an ominous cracking sound in the sky.] (7.289, 7.290, Jim and Amanda, Scene Seven stage directions).
Williams uses obvious and dramatic effects in this play on the grounds that memory can dramatize and alter reality. Interestingly enough, just like the characters we are watching, we become ensconced in an alternate reality.
"Then all at once my sister touches my shoulder. I turn around and look into her eyes. Oh, Laura, Laura, I tried to leave you behind me, but I am more faithful than I intended to be! I reach for a cigarette, I cross the street, I run into the movies or a bar, I buy a drink, I speak to the nearest stranger—anything that can blow your candles out! For nowadays the world is lit by lightning! Blow out your candles, Laura—and so, goodbye… (7.321, Tom).
Although he escapes his family in body, Tom’s memory is forever stuck in his past, just as Amanda’s.