After his release from the hospital in the 1970s, Williams wrote plays, a memoir, poems, short stories and a novel. In 1975 he published MEMOIRS, which detailed his life and discussed his addiction to drugs and alcohol, as well as his homosexuality. In 1980 Williams wrote CLOTHES FOR A SUMMER HOTEL, based on the lives of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Only three years later, Tennessee Williams died in a New York City hotel filled with half-finished bottles of wine and pills. It was in this desperation, which Williams had so closely known and so honestly written about, that we can find a great man and an important body of work. His genius was in his honesty and in the perseverance to tell his stories.
Williams also plays on the chasm between the old Southern world and the newly industrialized civilization. With clarity and power, Williams draws upon his Southern upbringing to add atmosphere and passion. Here, he investigates the old world: where men came calling for women, couples attended dances, and love was easily arranged. He shows how this former Southern experience is obsolete. Tom's mother is trapped in this world, Tom is desperate to the trappings of this former mode of existence. Even as Tom flies free, the past maintains its hold on him. Even in its illusionary state, the past is still "real" in his memory.
A beautiful, slightly haunting play, The Glass Menagerie follows a family as it falls apart--along with the dreams that had given them some fragmented substance.