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The Glass Menagerie
SUBJECTS — Drama/U.S.; U.S./Missouri;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Families in Crisis; Mother/Son;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Responsibility.
Age: 12+; MPAA Rating: PG; Drama; 1967; 134 minutes; Color.
This is a film version of Tennessee Williams' classic play about a child separating from his family and leaving home. The father has already left. The daughter shies away from any new experience and can't finish school. Her life is confined to her collection of glass figurines and her father's collection of old phonograph records. The mother is at her wit's end. The adult son, whose paycheck supports the family, is being drawn away by his need to seek his own life.
The Glass Menagerie is an excellent example of the artistry of Tennessee Williams and the genre of the "memory play." It is a classic of American Drama. The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide to The Glass Menagerie will show teachers how to introduce the film (and the play), present many of the literary and dramatic devices used in the play, and help adolescents understand the issues faced by some children when they make a decision about whether to leave home.
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The Glass Menagerie is a classic of the American stage and displays the artistry of Tennessee Williams.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To demonstrate how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to improve lesson plans, we have set out below two paragraphs from the Literary Analysis section of the Learning Guide to The Glass Menagerie.
The Glass Menagerie is a story that describes the experiences of large numbers of people who mature and strike out on their own but leave behind unfinished business with their family. Either the family needed their financial contribution, or they left a mother alone to raise siblings, or they left a beloved brother or sister to fend alone in a less than ideal situation. Many of us, to one degree or another, feel the emotions described in this play. On another level, and adding great poignancy to the play, are its autobiographical elements. The author left a situation in which his father was not at home. His mother was said to be controlling. His sister was mentally ill with schizophrenia, at that time an incurable disease. The genius of The Glass Menagerie lies in the fact that Tennessee Williams took these personal elements and made them into something universal.
Using memory as an organizing factor in the play gives Williams leeway to explore his story. In memory, events are often mixed up, exaggerated, symbolic, and melodramatic. The audience must sort out how much of what it is told is true or represents merely the memory of the narrator who, after all, was an actor in what transpired.
The Learning Guide to the film The Glass Menagerie contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
A subscription to TeachWithMovies.com will give teachers access to 350 Snippet Lesson Plans, Learning Guides and Movie Lesson Plans. Subscribe Today and introduce children to the artistry of Tennessee Williams through The Glass Menagerie.
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