Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Glass Menagerie: Introduction
The Glass Menagerie: Plot Summary
The Glass Menagerie: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Glass Menagerie: Themes
The Glass Menagerie: Quotes
The Glass Menagerie: Characters
The Glass Menagerie: Symbols
The Glass Menagerie: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Tennessee Williams
Historical Context of The Glass Menagerie
Other Books Related to The Glass Menagerie
- Full Title: The Glass Menagerie
- When Written: Williams worked on various drafts during the 1930s and 1940s. Much of the play is based on his 1943 short story “Portrait of a Girl in Glass.”
- Where Written: Around the United States, though primarily Los Angeles, California.
- When Published: The play premiered in Chicago in 1944 and moved to Broadway in 1945. Random House published the play in 1945.
- Literary Period: Late Modernism
- Genre: Memory play
- Setting: St. Louis, Missouri in the 1930s
- Climax: The Gentleman Caller’s visit in scenes six and seven, particularly when the glass unicorn shatters.
- Point of View: Tom narrates the play and also is a character in it.
Extra Credit for The Glass Menagerie
The Laugh Menagerie. Christopher Durang’s one-act play For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls is a parody of The Glass Menagerie, featuring the pathologically shy Lawrence and his collection of glass cocktail stirrers. (“This one is called string bean because it’s long and thin,” he says. “I call this one thermometer because it looks like a thermometer.”)
Glass Blue Roses. At the turn of the twentieth century, the German glassmakers Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka created hundreds of biological models entirely of glass. Famed for their scientific precision and prized for their exquisite beauty, these extraordinarily finely detailed glass marine animals and glass flowers receive thousands of visitors every year at Harvard University’s Museum of Natural History.