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The Glass Menagerie

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.

Quote #1

The audience hears and sees the opening scene in the dining room through both the transparent fourth wall of the building and the transparent gauze portieres of the dining-room arch. It is during this revealing scene that the fourth wall slowly ascends, out of sight. This transparent exterior wall is not brought down again until the very end of the play, during Tom's final speech. (Stage directions, Scene One).

Williams uses many visual devices to create a scene of memory, rather than live action or fact.

Quote #2

Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things u p my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion. (1.1, Tom).

It is interesting that Tom claims that his altered memory scene is truth in the disguise of illusion, since all of Amanda’s reminiscence of the past is illusion in a mask of truth. This begs the question as to how accurately this narrator Tom is revealing his story.

Quote #3

A blown-up photograph of the father hangs on the wall of the living room, to the left of the archway. It is the face of a very handsome young man in a doughboy's First World War cap. He is gallantly smiling, ineluctably smiling, as if to say "I will be smiling forever." (stage directions, Scene One).

Just as the portrait of Amanda’s husband hangs in the house, so does the past (when he was there in person) hover over the present of the play.

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