Tennessee Williams was an American playwright and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, whose works are largely set in the American South. Williams was born in Columbus, Mississippi in 1911. He spent most of his youth in St. Louis, Missouri. After intermittent attendance at the University of Missouri and Washington University, he received a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa in 1938. He worked a variety of odd jobs until 1945, when he first appeared on the Broadway scene as the author of "The Glass Menagerie". This play of symbolism won New York Drama Critics" Circle Award as the best play of the season.
"The Glass Menagerie" gave Williams an opportunity to pour out events of his life through the means of fictitious play writing. The Glass Menagerie first opened on March 31, 1945. It was the first big success of Tennessee Williams" career. It is in many ways an autobiography about Tennessee Williams. He says in the beginning, "I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion." The characters Tom, Laura, and Amanda are very much like Williams, his sister Rose, and his mother Edwina. We can see this very clearly when we look at the dialogue, and the relations between the action in the play and the Tennessee Williams" real life. He uses the narrator, Tom, to represent himself. Tennessee Williams and Tom were both shoemakers who were forced upon their job by their father's departure. The father in The Glass Menagerie "was a telephone man who fell in love with distances; he gave up the job with the telephone company and skipped the light fantastic of this town." Like Tom, Tennessee Williams" father was a traveling .
salesman. Tennessee Williams spent some time at Washington University in St. Louis. Tom's mother Amanda says to him, "a night-school course in accounting at Washington-U! Just think what a wonderful thing that would be for you son." It is also true that Laura's character represents William's sister.