The Glass Menagerie is a play by TennesseeWilliams set in St. Louis, Missouri, in the 1930's. The play is an important part of the American theatrical repertoire and continues to be performed successfully by both professional and amateur theatres.

The play centers around the Wingfields: [[MyBelovedSmother Amanda]], [[AloofBigBrother Tom]], and [[ShrinkingViolet Laura]]. Their relationship has become strained since [[DisappearedDad Mr. Wingfield]] left them. While Tom works in a warehouse to support the family, he dreams of leaving home and frequently watches movies in cheap theaters. Amanda obsesses over finding a suitor for Laura, while Laura herself is so shy that she locks herself up and admires the (titular) collection of glass animal figurines she keeps.

Tennessee Williams based the play on his own family; he himself is the basis for the character of Tom, his mother for Amanda, and his sister (who in real life suffered from Schizophrenia) for the character of Laura.

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!!This play provides examples of:
* AloofBigBrother: Tom, although more to his mother than to his sister.
* AmbiguousDisorder: Laura's disorder is never named, but she may be suffering from anxiety disorder or mild schizophrenia. Her poor social skills and fixation on glass figurines could indicate Asperger's Syndrome.
* AuthorAvatar: The play is semi-autobiographical: Tom is Tennessee Williams himself, Laura is his mentally disabled sister Rose and Amanda is his mother.
* BeautifulAllAlong: Laura. Cruelly subverted that [[spoiler: just after she made an indication that she could do so, the crushing blow of TheReveal was too much that she went back to Shrinking Violet territory]]
* BreakingTheFourthWall: The play opens with Tom explaining to the audience that the play is based on his memories.
** After Tom's first speech, the literal fourth wall of the apartment lifts.
* BrokenAngel
* BrotherSisterIncest: The {{subtext}} was definitely there in the movie remake, although very nonexistent in the original play.
* ChristmasCake: The implication is that if Jim doesn't marry Laura, she's doomed to a life of spinsterhood. [[spoiler: He doesn't.]]
* DeadpanSnarker: A few of Tom's lines.
* DesperatelyLookingForAPurposeInLife: Tom, in his monologue in the end.
* DisappearedDad: Mr. Wingfield.
* DownerEnding: [[spoiler: Not only Jim is already engaged, Tom finally decides he has had it and abandons his family.]]
* FilmOfTheBook: Several adaptations of varying quality. The two theatrical versions, Irving Rapper's 1950 film with Gertrude Lawrence, Arthur Kennedy, Jane Wyman and a young KirkDouglas, and a 1987 adaptation, directed by PaulNewman and starring Joanne Woodward and JohnMalkovich, have mixed critical reputations. A 1973 TV version starring KatharineHepburn and Sam Waterston is much better-regarded.
* FlowerMotifs: Blue roses and jonquils.
* GenerationXerox: [[spoiler:Tom abandons his mother and sister, just like his father.]]
* {{Hikikomori}}: Laura.
* InformedFlaw: Laura being crippled. It doesn't show, though supposedly she wore a brace in high school.
* IWasQuiteALooker: Amanda boasts on and on about the ''seventeen'' gentlemen callers she had back in her youth.
* {{Jerkass}}: Amanda. Tom, too, but for good reason.
* TheLastStraw: Amanda yelling at Tom for [[spoiler:inviting a man who's already engaged, which causes Tom to leave.]]
* LikeBrotherAndSister: Jim keeps bringing up "If you were my sister" to Laura.
* LonelyDollGirl: Laura, with her collection of glass figures.
* MakeAWish: Played with. Tom assumed Amanda's wish on the moon would be a gentleman caller for Laura, but was actually the best for her children. Both wishes are subverted when [[spoiler: the potential suitor Tom finds turns out to be taken and neither Tom nor Laura are happy in the end.]]
* MyBelovedSmother: Amanda.
* MinimalistCast: The play only features four characters.
* NiceGuy: Jim. In fact, that's pretty much Tennessee William's whole character description of Jim.
* OutDamnedSpot: [[spoiler:Tom's whole reason for telling this story is that he feels guilty for abandoning his family.]]
* ParentalAbandonment: Mr. Wingfield.
* PoorCommunicationKills: Tom doesn't tell Jim that the dinner is supposed to introduce Jim as a suitor to Laura. [[spoiler: Jim is already engaged.]]
* PricelessMingVase: The glass menagerie itself, especially [[spoiler: the little unicorn.]] Not PlayedForLaughs.
* TheReveal: [[spoiler:Jim is already engaged.]]
* ShaggyDogStory: The entire plan to bring Jim to a "casual dinner" [[spoiler: is ruined, and their sacrifices are made in complete vain.]]
* ShrinkingViolet: Laura. She's so shy that being in a ''typing class'' caused her to vomit.
* SourceMusic: The theater near the tenement. Its music conveniently stops during TheReveal.
* SouthernBelle: Amanda, also see above.
* TitleDrop
* ATragedyOfImpulsiveness: Tom and Amanda's arguments get increasingly bitter, a significant escalation is when Tom accidentally breaks one of Laura's figurines. He's sorry for it at once.
* UnreliableNarrator: Tom admits the most realistic character is Jim
* YankTheDogsChain: Just when you think [[spoiler: Laura will "win" Jim due to their little dance and kiss, TheReveal hits.]]
* WholeEpisodeFlashback: Most of the play is a flashback.
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