Evan, Kayla, David, Abby
“A society intent on a future altered by technological development but one in
which that the development fails to give ordinary people any significant
progress” (Reynolds)
Our analysis of this is; Tom’s family does not incorporate technology in their
every day lives. However Tom uses technology as an excuse to escape his
everyday life.
Main Idea: “The prominent focus of the play is on personal levels of
inadequacy--the fragile lives and conflicts of the Wingfield family--rather then
on a specific set of social, economic or political issues."
Supporting claim: “Yet the only specific allusions to these events during the
rest of the play are the incidental headline in Tom's newspaper about Spain,
and Tom's narrated contrast between the Europe of Berchtesgaden,
Chamberlain, and Guernica, and the St. Louis of the dance halls. Roger B. Stein
sees in the allusions to the Depression and impending war a "note of social
disaster [that] runs throughout the drama, fixing the lives of individuals
against the larger canvas.”
Analysis: The play was completely focused on the issues within the dynamics
Wingfield family; they appeared unaffected by the outside world.
Main Idea: "Williams does encourage us to place the play in some larger
Supporting claim: "One pattern that looms in the background of the
Wingfield family is the way that changing economic and social modes can
restrict the potential for happy and successful lives."
Analysis: Tennessee Williams wanted the audience to look into and
understand the Wingfield family and their experiences. Amanda grew up
relatively unexposed to technology, as her exposure increased she lacked the
capability to grasp the value offered by modern improvements.
Main Idea: "A specific agent for change that Williams alludes to time and
again in the play is technology, one of the strongest forces to redirect society
in the twentieth century.“
Supporting claim: “While one character, the ‘realist’ Jim O'Connor, sees the
future of America as tied to progress in technology, the play consistently
reiterates the failure of technology to achieve social or individual values--or,
for that matter, even to function at a practical level.”
Analysis: The rapid advancement that technology enables throughout the
world spurred its popularity and peaked the curiosity of Tom. Even though
the Wingfields’ were uneducated as to the demand for technology their lives
were impacted by it in many ways.
Main Idea: "While many social upheavals have contributed to the Wingfields'
personal situation, it is technology which confirms the hard boundary of
elements beyond their control.“
Main Idea: "More explicitly, the ordinary technologies already taken for
granted in American households by 1939 serve as markers that define within
the play that limits the imposed on the Wingfields."
Analysis: The telephone was a relatively commonplace piece of technology
which the Wingfields were willing to embrace due to its perceived
unobtrusiveness to their daily life. Yet the benefits of ease of communication
were rapidly taken for granted in the reduction of previous tasks of letter
writing or face-to-face communication.
Main Idea: “The entire Wingfield family repeatedly demonstrates their
failure under the new dispensation.”
Supporting claim: “Amanda is vaguely aware of the central role
technology ought to play in the world, but retreats to naïve faith when
confronted by its complexity.
Supporting claim: “Amanda comes from an agrarian Delta society, where
her beaux are planters and sons of planters…”
Analysis: Although the family is aware of technology; their lack of
comfort in utilizing it prevents them from being able to depend on it
forcing them to rely on age old practices.
Supporting claim: “Her lack of knowhow arises not from gender… but from
dislocations of time and class in the history of her world.”
In context: The author is talking about the lack of knowledge Amanda has
when the lights flicker and go out.
Supporting claim: “She is uninformed about the most basic practical level of
controlling this domesticated manifestation of Edisonian* invention.
*Edisonian invention meaning the lights
Supporting claim: “She is awed by scientific advances not on account of their
practical value or the complexity of the theories that explain them, but the
sense of “mystery” that surrounds them.”
Analysis: Amanda’s has mental barrier for new technology, items that she is
introduced to confound her understanding of the world, feeling foreign and
create fear forcing her to label them as “mysterious”.
Main Idea: “Distant from both the practical and theoretical elements of
technology, she [(Amanda)] is made its servant.”
Supporting claim: “She earns cash through the telephone, an early
telemarketing slave”
Supporting claim: “Her opportunity is limited because her clients can control
her by hanging up the phone.”
Analysis: Amanda’s independence is completely dependent on technology;
yet her fear of change prevents her from understanding anything about it.
Main Idea: “In their dual symbolic roles, film and phonograph bind together
the levels of the play.”
Analysis: These technologies bring together the personal and background
levels of the play.
Supporting claim: “These two devices serve Williams’ dramaturgy as symbols
of the world of illusion which Tom and Laura escape to, symbols as strongly
relevant… as the eponymous collection of glass animals.”
Analysis: Tom and Laura rely on technologies to escape from their daily life.
Main Idea: “Louis Dupre… notes that the German philosopher attributes the
“antisocial quality [of the division of labor] to the dominance of technology
over human activity.”
Analysis: Technology provides humans access to antisocial aspects in many of
their activities.
Supporting Claim: “We see Tom escaping from the warehouse… by retreating
to the movies, a world of adventure.”
Analysis: Tom escapes the drudgery of his job and mundane life, to the
excitement and fantasy of his dream world captured in the movies.
Supporting Claim: “The movies were the nation’s escape mechanism
throughout the Depression and on into the war years”
Main Idea: “For Laura, the phonograph provides similar escape from the
pressures of earning a living in a commercial world, relentless memorizing of
charts to serve business interests.”
Supporting claim: “Unlike the type writer, the mechanics of which are so
alien to her temper that she throws up in class, the phonograph is soothing.”
Analysis: Laura yearns for the simplicity of the traditional role in life as a
southern woman, and would much rather take comfort in the simple joys of
her glass menagerie.
Main Idea: “Technology ‘succeeds’ in providing escape from hard realities of
life rather then easing the economical, political, and social problems of the
time.” (Reynolds)
Supporting claim: “For Tom, movies are analogous to drinking, and for
Laura, the phonograph is the machinery that enables her withdrawal from the
world.” (Reynolds)
Analysis: Instead of the traditional excuse of a “southern man” of going to the
bar to escape; technology and the advent of movies gives him a new escape
severing the relationship between Amanda and Laura.
Laura yearns for the simplicity of the traditional role in life as a southern
woman, and would much rather take comfort in the simple joys of her glass
Main Idea: “He (Jim) is also the potential entrepreneur of technological
capitalism. ‘Knowledge’ means inventing new technologies and capitalizing
on their financial success, which in turn gives the system power over those
without technology.”
Supporting claim: “I believe in the future of television . . . all that remains is
for the industry itself to get under way! Full steam--(His eyes are starry)
Knowledge--Zzzzzp! Money--Zzzzzzp!--Power!”
Analysis: Jim plays a significant role in bringing the Wingfield family (due to
Laura’s obsession with him) out of the dark into the new age of technological
wonder. Had it not been for Laura’s infatuation with Jim, the Wingfield
family would have avoided technology all together.
Main Idea: In the story “The Glass Menagerie” the character Jim is described by
Ivan Pavlov as “Another member of the blind American middle class [who]
just doesn't realize that men's destinies under capitalism are not shaped by
personal virtues and self-perfection but by the operation of the ruthless
economic laws of capitalist development.”
Supporting claim: “…Jim’s more specific comments on progress and
invention suggest a severely limited conception of what technology is about.”
Analysis: Although Jim does not fully understand the “in’s and out’s” of
technology; however, he does understand the projected growth and the
expected financial gain in supporting the sale of technology. Jim’s interests lie
solely in his personal gain, not the well being of others.
“Those without access to the real power of technology are limited as mere
users unable to understand or control it.”
Supporting claim: “They remain outside the sphere created by larger forces
that place technology not as the servant of humanity but as a venture for
capital investment, nationalistic rivalries, and costly toys.”
Analysis: In Tom’s case, he cannot control the movie’s being shown at the
time, the subject of the movie, the cost of the movie, or how it is made;
however, the movie’s draws him in daily as an escape from reality. Even
though Tom supports his mother and sister, technology has driven him to
work for the escape.
The play mainly focuses upon the personal shortfalls that occur in a
changing world
Provides counterargument
Gives clear examples from the text
Technology illustrates the characters’ limited lives
Goes into detail about Amanda’s naïve and mystical view of technology
while also being dependent upon its use
Uses quotes
Explains how technology doesn’t alleviate Tom and Laura’s problems but
instead provides an escape
The play’s use of household technologies seems to show that technology
cannot satisfy society’s needs
Doesn’t provide much support for this claim
The use of technology does provide funds
“It is ironic that Williams depends on technological innovations for
staging the play...”
Within the play technology is used to illustrate the restricted lives of the
Wingfields and also fails to assist individuals
The screen projections are a type of technology used to stage the play –
they provide the audience with insight into the themes and assist the play
Could suggest a contradiction

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