The Glass Menagerie

Lesson 1


Students will be able to describe the setting and the major themes of the play.

Readings and Materials

  • Play: The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams  — Introduction, p. vii–xii; Character Description

Target Task


Question 1

In what ways does The Glass Menagerie mirror the life of the playwright, Tennessee Williams? Explain using evidence from the text.

Question 2

Reality and freedom/responsibility are two central themes in this play. Examine the questions below and draft your answer to these questions that the playwright will grapple with in this play.

a. Is it possible to escape reality? Temporarily? Permanently?

b. If an individual attempts to escape, what is the impact on his or her family and other obligations? Which is more important, our individual freedom or our responsibilities to others?

Key Questions


  • What does it mean to be a memory play? What does this phrase tell us about the play already?

  • How does the author reveal some of his motivations for writing the play?

  • What are some of the major themes?