Thursday, October 11, 2007

For nowadays the world is lit by lightning

Glass Menagerie
Mindful of MoneyLaw's homage to Tennessee Williams's essay, "The Catastrophe of Success," and of The Glass Menagerie's close connection to the origins of this forum, I present Tom Wingfield's closing soliloquy from The Glass Menagerie:
I didn't go to the moon. I went much further — for time is the longest distance between two places. Not long after that I was fired for writing a poem on the lid of a shoe-box. I left Saint Louis. I descended the steps of this fire escape for a last time and followed, from then on, in my father's footsteps, attempting to find in motion what was lost in space. I traveled around a great deal. The cities swept about me like dead leaves, leaves that were brightly colored but torn away from the branches. I would have stopped, but I was pursued by something. It always came upon me unawares, taking me altogether by surprise. Perhaps it was a familiar bit of music. Perhaps it was only a piece of transparent glass. Perhaps I am walking along a street at night, in some strange city, before I have found companions. I pass the lighted window of a shop where perfume is sold. The window is filled with pieces of colored glass, tiny transparent bottles in delicate colors, like bits of a shattered rainbow. Then all at once my sister touches my shoulder. I turn around and look into her eyes. Oh, Laura, Laura, I tried to leave you behind me, but I am more faithful than I intended to be! I reach for a cigarette, I cross the street, I run into the movies or a bar, I buy a drink, I speak to the nearest stranger — anything that can blow your candles out!

For nowadays the world is lit by lightning! Blow out your candles, Laura — and so goodbye. . . .


Blogger anderson said...

I am reading this play for class. I am in love with it. I love the Final scene of this play, it is so poetic.

"For nowadays the world is lit by lightning! Blow out your candles, Laura -- and so goodbye. . . ."

I have been trying to find an online clip of this but I can't.

4/05/2008 5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a very sad play, however most memorable plays and stories are remembered for their great lessons learned and tragedies of the characters. I didn't really get the ending line but its very poetic and beautiful.

12/04/2008 10:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Williams is saying that the modern world did not have a place for Tom's sister. The world is no longer lit with the gentle light of candles but by lightening--harsh, unforgiving electric light--a poetic metaphor. The play is highly autobiographical; Williams' actual sister was eventually diagnosed as schizophrenic and was institutionalized for much of her life. Tom wishes to forget his sister bcause remembering her is extremely painful.

11/05/2009 8:49 PM  

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