The Glass Menagerie

SymbolsPlot Summary


The Glass Menagerie, was a drama by playwright Tennessee Williams presented in 1944. Invited to dinner at the home of a friend from work. Jim O'Connor unwittingly becomes the center of the families hopes-a possible escape from home for his friend Tom Wingfield, a chance for love for tom's withdrawn sister Laura, and the "gentleman caller" of their mother Amanda's broken dreams. Jim gently encourages Laura and admires her beloved collection of fragile glass animals, but reveals he is engaged, shattering her hopes. Tom, seeing his last chance vanish, at last breaks away.


This unit was designed to examine a play which has withstood the test of time and, therefore, is considered a classic piece of literature . The unit involved students examining literary skills meshed together to support the central theme of the play. Students researched , via the Internet and print resources, to provide insight and understanding of the symbols, allusions, and motifs used by the author. The students then provided a written format explaining their specific topics; in exchange for their work, students opted for extra credit, exemption from tests, etc. This exchange was negotiated by the teacher and each individual student., based primarily on the amount of time the student spent on his/her portion of the project. Their information was presented orally to the class (a brief-2/3 minute maximum) to help promote understanding for the entire class. As a closing activity, all students took a traditional unit test.

Bill Dull, Teacher
Westlake High School

Nakia Roberson, Student
Kent State University

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