The Glass Menagerie

Lesson 7


Students will be able to explain how Williams uses stage directions to reinforce key ideas, emotions, or themes in the scene.

Readings and Materials

Target Task


Question 1

The stage direction on p. 53 that describes the curtains as blowing inward “in a slow, graceful motion and with a faint, sorrowful sighing” mainly serves to


foreshadow the events to come.


establish details of the setting.


explain that the day is windy.


provide insight into Tom’s feelings about the events.

Question 2

In scene 6, Amanda can best be described as


a nervous hostess but a devoutly faithful Christian.


a person who seems to care about others but is truly selfish.


a loving mother but terrible at entertaining guests.


a woman stuck in the past but undeniably devoted to her family.

Question 3

Explain how the author uses the stage directions to develop the theme of reality and/or the theme of escape. Use evidence from the scene to support your answer.

Key Questions


  • How would you describe Laura's mood as Tom's visit approaches? Compare her mood and Amanda's.

  • What do the jonquils symbolize? What is the significance of Amanda's insatiable desire for jonquils? (p. 54)

  • p. 54: Why do the stage directions describe Laura as having an "altered look"? What does it reveal? Why does the music become "ominous" and the screen say, "Not Jim"?

  • What is significant about the way Amanda is dressed?

  • p. 55: What is Amanda's reaction to Laura? What does this further reveal about Amanda's character? Her desire for her children to be happy?

  • p. 56-59: How does the playwright further develop Amanda's disconnect from reality in these pages? Track actions, dialogue, diction, etc.

  • How does the image of the Jolly Roger (p. 60) help to develop theme? Why is it significant the two men are standing on the fire escape at this moment?

  • "A telephone man who fell in love with long distance." How does this develop theme?

  • What is the significance of Laura's sob at the end of the scene?

  • What have we learned of Tom's plans?