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The Glass Menagerie

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.