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Remembering to Forget: Fragile Memories in Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2019, 32(3), pp.199-218
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama
  • Published : December 31, 2019

Park, Chaeyoon 1

1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper explores the dramatization of Tom and Amanda’s memories and the transformation of Tom’s relationship with his father in The Glass Menagerie. This study contributes to existing studies, that tend to treat Tom as an autobiographical figure or contrast him with Jim or Laura, by analyzing Tom’s dual role and the play’s use of memory. Tom, who performs the roles of character and narrator, illustrates the conflict between remembering and attempting to forget. As a character, he is troubled by the legacy of the absent patriarch, and he is frequently reminded by his mother to not emulate his father. Father-identification, in Tom’s case, occurs after repeated scenes of distancing himself from his absent father. The use of costume, props, and scenery also highlights the effect of memory. The glass wall in the final scene allows the audience to witness how, as narrator, Tom experiences alienation and helplessness. Moreover, this study posits that the play invites foundational question on the boundaries between illusion and truth through examinations of Tom’s views on a memory play and of his fascination with movies and a stage magician named Malvolio.

Citation status

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