- Jim is the most realistic character in the play. He is didn’t live in any fantasy world like Tom
and his family did. When he talked to Laura after they had dinner, he tried to make her more
comfortable because he felt that Laura was very shy. He showed Laura how superior he is in order to impress her. For example, he said, “Look how big my shadow is when I stretch. “He wanted to show Laura how manly he is. Jim’s nickname for Laura, Blue Roses, suggests a phenomenon that is contrary to nature. Blue also means sad.
- Tennessee Williams’ Life and The Glass Menagerie In the play “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams, there are many similarities between the character’s lives and the lives of the author and his family. The characters include the members of the Wingfield family – Tom, his mother Amanda, his sister Laura, and Tom and Laura’s father, represented by a portrait. Also included is the character Jim O’Connor, the gentleman caller. The character of Tom Wingfield is nearly autobiographical of Tennessee Williams himself. One of the first similarities noticeable is the use of the name Tom as the central character and narrator. The author’s real first name is Thomas; Tennessee was a nickname given to him during his days in college.
Also, although it isn’t clearly stated, the character Tom seems to be homosexual, and Williams is known to have been a homosexual. There are many other similarities between the character of Tom and the author. In the play, Tom is unhappily working in a warehouse shoe factory, toiling day in and day out in a job he despises. Williams was also miserable in his employment as a shoe factory worker. Tom, like Williams, spent much of his time writing poetry to escape the depressing reality of his life. Tom feels guilty about wanting to leave his sister and mother to pursue his dreams; likewise, Williams endured a lifetime of depression and guilt over his sister Rose’s mental state and his choice to leave her. The character of Amanda Wingfield is very similar to Edwina Williams, the author’s mother. Amanda, an overbearing mother who cannot let go of her youth in the Mississippi Delta and her ‘seventeen gentleman callers’ is much like Williams’ own mother, Edwina
Both Amanda and Edwina were insensitive to their children’s feelings; in their attempts to push their children towards a better future, they instead succeeded in only pushing them away. The character of Laura Wingfield is modeled after Rose Williams, the author’s sister. Laura is painfully shy and a bit emotionally disturbed. She stresses over many things, including her mother and brother’s strained relationship, and the knowledge that her mother is trying desperately to find a gentleman caller for her. She retreats to her world of glass animals, where she doesn’t have to deal with reality. Similarly, Williams’ sister Rose was a shy, emotionally disturbed and mentally ill young woman. She did not live in a world of reality, either; she spent most of her life in mental hospitals.
The smiling portrait of Tom and Laura’s missing father represents Williams’ own often-absent father, Cornelius Williams, who was a traveling shoe salesman. Though the character of the Wingfield father is seen only in the portrait, he has a daunting influence on the other character’s lives, and is referred to often throughout the play. Likewise, Cornelius Williams and his abusive behavior was a colossal influence on his son’s life. Jim O’Connor seems to be a character that perhaps Williams wishes he could have been. Jim is well-loved and popular; Williams himself was not always so loved or popular, particularly among those who were against homosexuality.
Throughout the play “The Glass Menagerie,” Tennessee Williams displays the influences of his own personal life through the characters he has shaped. This is a deeply personal work of creativity and a classic, captivating story.
- The sheriff Henry Peters, the young county attorney George Henderson, and the neighbor Lewis Hale enter the gloomy, disordered kitchen of John Wright‘s farmhouse, followed by the thin, wiry Mrs. Peters and the larger Mrs. Hale. The men warm themselves up by the stove, but the women hover fearfully by the door, and Mrs. Peters refuses Henderson’s invitation to join them at the stove. Peters steps away from the stove and takes off his coat as he asks Hale to describe what he saw yesterday morning. Before Hale answers, Henderson and the sheriff have a conversation explaining that no one had touched anything but the stove, but that the site of the crime had been unattended for most of the previous day.
Hale states that he was going to town with Harry but stopped on the way to visit John Wright’s house to ask about acquiring a telephone. Although Wright had previously disliked the notion, Hale was considering the unlikely chance that Wright’s wife would be able to persuade him otherwise. Sometime after eight o’clock, Hale knocked on the door and, upon hearing what he thought was an invitation to enter, he opened the door to find Mrs. Wright rocking in confusion on the rocking chair and nervously pleating her apron. She did not look at Hale or ask him to sit down, and when he asked about John, she informed him that he could not see her husband because he was dead from strangulation by rope. Hale called for Harry, and they went upstairs to see the body. When they returned, Mrs. Wright told them that she had not notified anyone and that she did not know the culprit because she had been asleep.
After Harry went to find the coroner, Mrs. Wright moved to a different chair and stared at the floor. Hale tried to talk to her, but when he mentioned the telephone, she began to laugh before stopping and looking scared. At this point, Henderson looks around the kitchen and finds the fruit preserves making a mess in the cupboard because the jars broke from the cold. Mrs. Peters explains that Mrs. Wright had been worried, and Hale dismissively says, “Well, women are used to worrying over trifles,” which causes Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale to draw closer together. Henderson also criticizes Mrs. Wright’s dirty towels, but Mrs. Hale defends her, although she has not visited the Wright farmhouse for over a year because it was not cheerful. Henderson blames it on Mrs. Wright’s homemaking abilities, but Mrs. Hale hints that Wright was the real cause.
Susan Glaspell mocks men’s display of arrogance towards women. This is evident even in the title, Trifles. The play is set in an empty farmhouse, which belonged to John and Minnie Wright. John Wright was strangled in his sleep and Minnie was being held in jail as a suspect. The main characters are the county attorney (Mr. Henderson), the sheriff (Henry Peters), Mrs. Peters, Lewis Hale, and Mrs. Hale.
The beginning of the play starts by the county attorney and the sheriff questioning Mr. Hale. Mr. Hale was the first one to discover the death of John Wright. He explains his story to both the sheriff and the county attorney while the women listen as well. He was walking by the Wright’s house and stopped to see if he could convince Mr. Wright to buy a telephone line with him. He asked Mrs. Wright if he could see Mr. Wright and she said he was dead because of a rope around his neck.
Mr. Hale called for Harry, the man he was traveling with, to come with him upstairs to look at Mr. Wright. They question Mrs. Wright about her husband died, but she doesn’t give them a clear story. They decide to let her tell her story to the sheriff or coroner. Harry left to go to the nearest house with a telephone to call the sheriff, which is kind of ironic that Harry left to go somewhere else to use a telephone and that was the reason that Mr. Hale stopped in the first place.
The play continues as the men walk around the house looking for evidence about the murder. The women look around looking for “trifles,” things that the men make fun of, but women don’t think are as trivial. The women accidentally find different pieces of evidence that would help the trial, but they do not tell their husbands about their findings. They find some things that men would probably not understand, such as the quilt that wasn’t threaded as neat on the last patch Mrs. Wright was working on. The play implies that the bad threading could be because Mrs. Wright became distraught with her relationship with her husband. The women also find a dead bird in Mrs. Wright’s sewing box that had been strangled. They don’t reveal their finding of the bird as well.
Every time the men walk through the room they make fun of the women for whatever they are doing at the time even though they are really finding evidence without their husband’s knowledge. That is really the main point of the play. Glaspell claims that men are arrogant towards women. Women don’t really understand how the real world works and what is actually important.
Elizabeth M. Evans affirms that Glaspell wanted to dispel the notion that women were second hand to men (Evans, 1996). Glaspell did this through her writing of the play, Trifles. Early in Glaspell’s life she worked “as a reporter for the Des Moines Daily News” (Evans, 1996, p. 1). Trifles was deeply influenced by “an actual murder case she covered while working for the newspaper” (Evans, 1996, p. 1). Where Glaspell lived in Greenwich Village, New York influenced her work as well (Evans, 1996). The community she lived in there was highly interested in feminism, an idea which was extremely evident in her work (Evans, 1996).
Cindy Pollaro provides some very interesting views on the symbolism of Trifles. For example, Pollaro believes Glaspell intended a pun on the surname of Mrs. Wright (Pollaro, 1996). She believes there is a play on Mrs. Wright’s lack of rights (Pollaro, 1996). Another interesting view of Pollaro is that the uncompleted work around the house was evidence that Mrs. Wright acted suddenly after be provoked (Pollaro, 1996).
Directly after I read the play I thought Mrs. Wright practiced on the bird before she strangled her husband. Pollaro asserts that the provocation of Mrs. Wright was the act of Mr. Wright killing her bird (Pollaro, 1996). Pollaro also believed the killing of the bird was symbolic to Mrs. Wright, because she realized that she was like a caged bird unable to communicate with others (Pollaro, 1996). The most interesting symbol Pollaro mentions is the symbol of whether Mrs. Wright was going to knot the quilt. The knot “‘conveys the sense of knotting the rope around the husband’s neck'” (Pollaro, 1996, p. 1).
Glaspell does a superb job of getting her point across about women’s rights. She does this through making heavy use of symbolism throughout her play. She also does an excellent job of not making her play too long and drawn out. She gets her point across without boring details that really are trivial. The play’s limiting factor would be having background knowledge of the historical context. Without knowing the historical context, the play loses its full affect. However, at the time it was written women’s rights was an enormous issue.
- A gentleman caller of drama “the glass menagerie” is Jim o’ connor. Because, Jim is the long-awaited gentleman caller for Laura – and the supposed prospect for her matrimony. He is outgoing, enthusiastic, and believes in self-improvement. He kisses Laura and raises her hopes that they might be together, before he finally reveals to her that he is engaged. Tom describes him as a person more connected to the real world than any of the other characters, but Jim is also a symbol for the “expected something that we live for.”