The Clock and the Cage: An Afterword about 'A System of Wheels.'

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Author: Allean Hale
Editors: Thomas J. Schoenberg and Lawrence J. Trudeau
Date: 2005
From: Short Story Criticism(Vol. 81)
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 576 words

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[(review date fall 1999) In the following review, Hale analyzes the symbolism of the clock in "A System of Wheels."]

"A System of Wheels," written around 1936 when Williams was twenty-five, recreates those years when Tom, not yet "Tennessee," had to quit college to work in the shoe warehouse. Trapped in the mechanical job of typing orders eight hours a day, he still managed to write a story every Saturday, polish it on Sunday, and mail it the coming week. This narrative, first entitled "The Treadmill," reflects the bleakest period of his life in St. Louis when his sister was descending into madness. It spins off from Tom's speech in The Glass Menagerie: "Do you think I'm in love with Continental Shoemakers? You think I want to spend fifty-five years of my life in that celotex interior! ..." If Anthony is Tom, the...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1420065283