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An Analysis of the characters and their illusionary world

            The Glass Menagerie is mainly about the spiritual paralysis of human beings as the result of the depressive atmosphere of the society, breakdown of family institution and lack of understanding among even the most intimate persons; that is, the members of a family. In the 1939 letter to his editor, Audrey Wood, Williams states, "I have only one major theme for my work which is the destructive impact of society on the sensitive non-conformist individual" (qtd. in Haley "Rhetoric"). Therefore, all the characters of the play are suffering from some kind of spiritual imbalance and so are drawn into their own illusionary and imaginative world. As a result, the characters isolate from each other and so fail to establish true communication. Consequently, the play can be seen as "the defeat of the romantic imagination in a modern world inimical to transcendent ideal and aspiration" (Thompson 6). In order to give the impression of the reality of such a situation, Williams represents his play as the construction of Tom Wingfield's memory.
             There are important autobiographical aspects in The Glass Menagerie and the characters which it depicts. These biographical connections are important in understanding the characters. Tennessee Williams himself admits the fact that his works are to some extent autobiographical:.
             My answer is that every word [in my plays] is autobiographical and no word is autobiographical. You can't do creative work and adhere to facts. For instance, in my new play there is a boy who is living in a house that I lived in, and undergoing some of the experiences that I underwent as a young writer. But his personality is totally different from mine. He talks quite differently from the way that I talk, so I say the play is not autobiographical. And yet the events in the house did actually take place. (qtd. in Grauerholz 300).
             Williams answer implies the fact that one should not look for exact similarities between Williams actual experiences in life and his works.

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