Tom and Laura Wingfield live at home with their single mother Amanda. Their father, "a telephone man in love with long distances," deserted the family when they were young.
Amanda rides herd on Tom, telling him he smokes too much, eats too fast, goes to the movies too much, drinks too much, doesn't work hard enough, is too selfish, and on and on.
Tom works at a warehouse and writes poetry on his breaks. He does go to the movies a lot, but simply to get away from the house and have some adventures, if only by proxy.
Laura, unfortunately, is a very, very shy girl. She doesn't work, doesn't have any friends, and for the past six years since she graduated from high school, seems content to listen to old records and polish her menagerie of little glass statues.
All Amanda wants to do is get Laura set up with a gentleman caller.
That's all I'll say about the plot. The writing is exquisite. Check this opening description of their apartment building:
The Wingfield apartment is in the rear of the building, one of those vast hive-like conglomerations of cellular living units that flower as warty growths in overcrowded urban centers of lower middle-class population and are symptomatic of the impulse of this largest and fundamentally enslaved section of American society to avoid fluidity and differentiation and to exist as one interfused mass of automatism.
Like a crowbar to the side of the head, man!
A really excellent play; I wish someone would read it and then have a dialogue with me.
I'm very much looking forward to reading Streetcar Named Desire. And I understand that Williams also wrote a number of short stories and some of them he used as mannequins for the dressmaking of his plays, but I still want to read them. The guy can really turn a phrase.