This play is a shocking blend of family frivolity and a good dose of deadly political allegory. The characters of both these plays are going to be compared and contrasted with each other bringing out the essence of each play.
In the 'Glass Menagerie' we find Amanda Wingfield, Laura and Tom's mother, clinging frantically to things of the past and misses out on reality, which is described as - "Her life is paranoia" Amanda is unwittingly foolish peppered with both cruelty and tenderness that she displays according to her moods. Though Amanda loved her children, she constantly expects too much from them and forcefully tries to get them to do what she wants. She reprimands Tom for his small fledgling job and bickers about his eating habits and personality. Tom retaliates by saying - "I haven't enjoyed one bite of this dinner because of your constant directions on how to eat it. It's you that makes me rush through meals with your hawk-like attention to every bite I take." Amanda does not spare her daughter Laura too, knowing pretty well that the girl is too shy and introverted yet she forces her to be outgoing and meet suitors. She reminisces about her own life in days gone by when she had 17 gentlemen callers in one day.
In Macleod's black comedy, we find that the play revolves around obsessive and incestuous affairs that take place within the family which seems to be taken quite lightly by the mother, Mrs. Pascal, who continuously laments the desertion of the family by her wayward husband. "The resulting battle over Marty becomes something of a class struggle between the Pascals' poetic insanity and Lesly's plebian pragmatism." Steven Mikulan, LA Weekly. Quite like Amanda in "The Glass Menagerie", Mrs. Pascal tries to protect the members of her family at any cost, but she too fails miserably in her attempts because she does not see the reality of things.
The Glass Menagerie's protagonist Laura is a cripple who is not only extremely shy but incredibly introverted. She suffers from a fixation on her collection of glass figurines and in fact could be compared to them for her exquisite fragility. Laura gave up her zest of life when she became crippled, as all her hopes and ambitions were dashed to the ground. Apparently, the only thing that interested her was a collection of old music records and her collection of animal figurines "the glass menagerie." Jim O'Connor was Laura's potential suitor, but all her hopes are dashed when Jim tells her he is going to be married shortly.
The two plays set out the course life takes for the various characters, after they have been deserted by the father, and the irreparable harm this event does to their lives. Tom wishes to escape his humdrum existence, which in his own words was 'without any change or adventure." Marty O'Pascal, is on the other hand seeking to chalk out a new life for himself along with Leslie, normal in its scope but away from the dysfunctional members who constitute his family. The matriarch, in both the cases is unable to handle the emotional baggage of having been deserted by their husbands, which ultimately destroys the life of their children.
The two plays fit into the mould of a memory play, and for the Glass Menagerie, Williams himself accepted this in the production notes for the play.