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The Glass Menagerie as an Autobiographical Play The Glass Menagerie a very poignant and moving play tells the story of Tom Wingfield and his attempt to escape his family Tennessee Williams descriptions of the Wingfield family are strikingly similar to his descriptions of his own family and therefore the play can be interpreted as an autobiography Perhaps most obviously the character Laura helps support the argument that the play is autobiographical Williams actually had a sister named Rose and when she was upset she would retreat to her room and her collection of glass animals In the play Toms sister Laura also escapes to her glass menagerie Throughout the play Laura limps slightly and is described by herself as a cripple her character description explains that a childhood illness has left her crippled one leg slightly shorter than the other and held in a brace When Tennessee Williams was six years old he contracted diphtheria and it left him with a limp As he called Laura crippled he also called himself crippled even though both of them were able to get around and function perfectly well Williams sister Rose eventually ended up in a mental institution and Williams always felt guilty that he hadnt looked out for her more when they were growing up Perhaps the reason he has Tom desert Laura at the end of the play is Williams attempt to express the fact that he felt he too deserted his sister Other similarities to Williams life involve Tom and his father Tom works in a shoe factory and hates it and Williams worked at a shoe factory for a period in his life that he referred to as his season in Hell Tom also hates the monotony and emptiness of the warehouse so he escapes to his writings Williams got his first typewriter when he was eleven years old and from then on he would write when he needed to get his
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