Wednesday, 3 February 2021

[MPOV] The Glass Menagerie

My rating: 3/5
Goodreads rating: 3.71/5
Published: March 31st, 1945
Playwright: Tennessee Williams
Genre: memory play

Abandoned by her husband, Amanda Wingfield comforts herself with recollections of her earlier, life in Blue Mountain when she was pursued by 'gentleman callers'. Her son Tom, a poet with a job in a warehouse, longs for adventure and escape from his mother's suffocating embrace, while Laura, her daughter, has her glass menagerie and her memories.

No play in the modern theater has so captured the imagination and heart of the American public as Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie. As Williams's first popular success, it launched the brilliant, if somewhat controversial, career, of our pre-eminent lyric playwright. Since its premiere in Chicago in 1944, with the legendary Laurette Taylor in the role of Amanda, Menagaerie has been the bravura piece for great actresses from Jessica Tandy to Joanne Woodward, and is studied and performed in classrooms and theatres around the world.

The Glass Menagerie (in the reading text the author preferred) is now available only in its New Directions Paperbook edition. A new introduction by the editor of The Tennessee Williams Annual Review, Robert Bray, reappraises the play more than half a century after it won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. This edition of The Glass Menagerie also includes Williams's essay on the impact of sudden fame on a struggling writer, "The Catastrophe of Success," as well as a short section of Williams's own "Production Notes."

#bookspinbingo #tbntbookchallenge
January: an inspirational read

I do not know why I have always thought that Tennessee Williams was a coloured woman. So when I started reading it, I then began to think that it was a white woman. However when I've Googled to include some summary of the play, I was surprised that it's actually a white man! The way it was written so fluidly somehow had me thinking it's a woman's and not a man's! Honestly, don't judge a book by it's cover stays so true! 

This book is amazing! From the start, even with his essay on 'The Catastrophe of Success', he sure has a knack with words and he can twirl it around so nicely. The way it was written and told, even though it's a memory play, was so mesmerising. His vocabulary was astounding and I am filled with envy with his prose! Tennessee Williams deserved to be applauded and accolade for his fruitful effort, his wonderful talent and his vast imagination.

However, every ups do have it's downs. It would have been due to that era but a reference to 'nigger' kinda turned me off a little. Here's the excerpt where the mother, Amanda, said:

One Sunday afternoon in Blue Mountain - your mother received - seventeen! - gentlemen callers! Why, sometimes there weren't chairs enough to accommodate them all. We had to send the nigger over to bring in folding chairs from the parish house.

All in all, it was a simple play of a struggling mother with a dreamy son and a very shy daughter who has a collection of glass menagerie. The mother hoped for her daughter to be married off quickly since she has been idling at home due to her shyness and lack of confidence. So when a gentleman caller finally came, he was able to sum up the daughter's character and even encouraged her to be more confident. Here's a snippet of what he said which has been truncated as it was very long:

You know what I judge to be the trouble with you? Inferiority complex! ........................... You know what my strong advice to you is? Think of yourself as superior in some way!

Unfortunately, the ending was not what I had hoped for but if you are looking for a quick read, this is one you should try. With the many rave reviews, aside from his wonderful prose, the plot was actually ordinary in my opinion so don't get your expectations too high.

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