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Tennessee Williams: Author and Playwright

Tennessee Williams: Author and Playwright

Thomas Lanier Williams was born on March 26th, 1911 in Columbus, Mississippi. Williams wrote fiction and motion picture screenplays but is primarily acclaimed for his plays. Thomas was the first son and second child of Cornelius Coffin and Edwina Dakin Williams. He was named after his paternal grandfather and insisted to be called Tom by the age of ten. His siblings include an older sister named Rose and a younger brother named Dakin. Williams spent a great deal of time with his sister Rose because she was not very stable, emotionally or mentally. Daryl E. Haley once said that Rose “was emotionally disturbed and destined to spend most of her life in mental institutions.” Tom was primarily raised by his mother because his father was a traveling shoe salesman. Edwina Dakin Williams was the daughter of a minister and very over protective of Thomas. She began to be over protective after he caught Diphtheria when he was five years old. His mother was also an aggressive woman caught up in her fantasies of genteel southern living. Amanda Wingfield, a character in his play The Glass Menagerie, was modeled after Williams’ mother. Cornelius Coffin Williams, Tom’s father, spent most of his time on the road. Cornelius came from a very prestigious family that included Mississippi’s very first governor and senator. Mr. Haley also states that Tom’s father was “at turns distant and abusive,” that is, when he was actually around. Toms father also repeatedly favored his younger brother Dakin over both of his older children. Big Daddy, in Tom’s play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, is modeled after his father. Thomas once said, in reference to his parents relationship, “It was just a wrong marriage.” From 1923 to 1926 Thomas attended Ben Blewette Junior High, and was at this time that some of his first stories were published in a local newspaper.

Thomas Williams lived in Clarksdale, Mississippi for several years before moving to St. Louis in 1918 at the age of seven. At age sixteen Tom had his first brush with the publishing world when he won third place for his essay “Can a Good Wife Be a Good Sport?”. Besides winning third place, he also got five dollars from this National Essay Contest. In 1927, also at age sixteen, he published “The Vengeance of Nitocris.” In the fall of 1929 he attended the University of Missouri to study journalism.

Free Glass Menagerie Essays: Escape Symbolism

Escape Symbolism in The Glass Menagerie

If we take a look at the different symbols used throughout the play, I think that the most important one when it comes to escape is the fire escape. It is in the center from the very beginning, when Tom makes his opening addressing to the audience from it. To understand the role of the fire escape one has to see that it serves a different purpose for each of the characters. In general we can say that it represents the borderline between freedom and imprisonment. Apart from this, the different characters see it in different ways. For Tom, the fire escape is an opportunity to get away from the apartment and his nagging mother. For Amanda, on the other hand, it’s a door through which gentleman callers for Laura can come into their apartment / into their world. For Laura, even though she’s been outside, it’s the border between the safe and the dangerous, between the known and the unknown.

Also the Dance Hall across the street can be seen as a symbol of escape. Its name, Paradise Dance Hall, is a contrast to the lives of the characters, and to the current situation in the world as seen in the play. Also, Laura spends much of her time listening to her mothers’ old records, hearing the same old music over and over again. I believe that the music coming from the dance hall can be interpreted to be Laura’s possibility to escape from her monotonous life, a possibility that she cannot currently utilise.

The last symbol that I see as important for the theme is the father of Tom and Laura, Mr. Wingfield. He is the ultimate symbol of escape, as he has actually managed to get away. The fact that Amanda still has his picture on the wall tells us something about another way that she is attempting to escape; by keeping hold of the past, as the picture is probably there to remind of the good

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