Lesson 2: “The Glass Menagerie”: Key Themes

Tennessee Williams’ classic play, The Glass Menagerie (1944) was an extension of the expressionism that came out of Europe in the early 20th century. In essence, expressionism interprets the world through the artist’s internal, subjective lens, not as an objective reflection of reality.

This lesson is one part of a three lesson unit about The Glass Menagerie. Lesson 2 will help students move from their Lesson 1 identifications of expressionist techniques in the play to a comprehension and analysis of how Williams employed them to develop his themes. It offers a foundation that prepares students for the unit’s third lesson, in which they will synthesize their understanding of Williams’ use of expressionist techniques they observe in action here.

Teachers may link to the full unit with Guiding Questions, College and Career Readiness standards and Background. Lesson 2 aligns with CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.2: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

Learning Objectives

Analyze how Williams uses expressionistic techniques to develop themes over the course of The Glass Menagerie