English homework help.
Be sure to:
• Identify a central idea in the text
• Analyze how the author’s use of one writing strategy (literary element or literary technique or rhetorical device) develops this central idea. Examples include: characterization, conflict, denotation/connotation, metaphor, simile, irony, language use, point-of-view, setting, structure, symbolism, theme, tone, etc.
• Use strong and thorough evidence from the text to support your analysis • Organize your ideas in a cohesive and coherent manner
• Maintain a formal style of writing
• Follow the conventions of standard written English
The following excerpt is from the play, The Glass Menagerie. It is Tom’s opening speech to the audience supplying background and his closing speech explaining how everything ended.
TOM: Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.
To begin with, I turn bark time. I reverse it to that quaint period, the thirties, when the huge middle class of America was matriculating in a school for the blind. Their eyes had failed them or they had failed their eyes, and so they were having their fingers pressed forcibly down on the fiery Braille alphabet of a dissolving economy.
In Spain there was revolution. Here there was only shouting and confusion. In Spain there was Guernica. Here there were disturbances of labor, sometimes pretty violent, in otherwise peaceful cities such as Chicago, Cleveland, Saint Louis. . .
This is the social background of the play.
The play is memory.
Being a memory play, it is dimly lighted, it is sentimental, it is not realistic.
In memory everything seems to happen to music. That explains the fiddle in the wings.
I am the narrator of the play, and also a character in it. The other characters are my mother Amanda, my sister Laura and a gentleman caller who appears in the final scenes.
He is the most realistic character in the play, being an emissary from a world of reality that we were somehow set apart from. But since I have a poet’s weakness for symbols, I am using this character also as a symbol; he is the long-delayed but always expected something that we live for. There is a fifth character in the play who doesn’t appear except in this larger-than-life-size photograph over the mantel.
This is our father who left us a long time ago. He was a telephone man who fell in love with long distances; he gave up his job with the telephone company and skipped the light fantastic out of town. . . .The last we heard of him was a picture postcard from Mazatlan, on the Pacific coast of Mexico, containing a message of two words – ‘Hello – Good-bye!’ and no address.
I think the rest of the play will explain itself …
TOM: 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 left St. Louis. I descended the steps of our fire escape for the last time and from then on, I followed in my father’s footsteps attempting to find in motion what was lost in space. I traveled around a great deal. The city 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 that always came upon me unawares taking me all together by surprise. Perhaps it was a familiar bit of music. Perhaps it was only a piece of transparent glass. Perhaps I’m walking along the street at night in some strange city before I have found companions. And I pass a lighted window of a shop where perfume is sold. Windows filled with pieces of colored glass. Tiny transparent bottles and delicate colors like bits of a shattered rainbow. Then all at once my sister touches my shoulder and I turn around and look into her eyes. … Laura. Laura. I tried so hard to leave you behind me but I am more faithful than I intended to be. I reach for a cigarette, I cross a street, I run to the movies or to a bar. I buy a drink. I speak to the nearest stranger. Anything that will blow your candles out. For nowadays the world is lit by lightning. Blow out your candles Laura. And so goodbye