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The Glass Menagerie
by Tennessee Williams
Tom Wingfield Timeline and Summary
Tom introduces himself as the narrator and explains the memory nature of the play. He gives the background info about his father having left them. He fights with his mother at the table. Tom hangs out on the fire escape and discusses his mother’s desire for his sister to be a house wife. Tom argues with Amanda about his reading Lawrence and going to the movies. He waxes poetic about his desire to leave and/or be dead rather than work in a shoe factory. Tom delivers a sarcastic tirade about the evil things he does when he claims to be at the movies. Tom hurls his coat in anger and accidentally breaks some of the glass animals. He comes home drunk and bumps into Laura, telling her all about his movie-going experiences. Tom discusses the notion of escaping from a coffin. Tom apologizes to his mother on Laura’s request. Tom dreams about adventure – out loud, to his mother. He talks about the dreamy Paradise Dance Hall across the street. Tom reveals to Amanda that he got a gentleman caller for Laura. Tom goes to the movies...again. He smokes on the fire escape and talks about Jim He shows up with Jim and talks to him about adventure. Tom confesses that he did not pay the light bill. He endures dinner with Amanda and Jim. He finds out Jim is engaged from Amanda and gets yelled at for it. Tom takes off for the movies. Narrator Tom gives his closing speech and reveals that he left his family shortly after that night, seeking adventure and other non-boring activities. Tom makes it clear that he always felt guilty about leaving Laura, and couldn’t get her out of his mind.