Close-knit, dysfunctional families are among Williams’s favorite subjects, and the subject matter of The Glass Menagerie is closely connected to Williams’s own life. Williams (whose real name was Thomas) spent a number of difficult years in St. Louis with his family, and for some of that time, he worked in a shoe factory. As a child, he was very close to his older sister, Rose, who, like Laura, was delicate and absorbed in fantasy. Rose even kept a collection of glass animals. As an adult, Rose was diagnosed with schizophrenia and eventually underwent a lobotomy in 1937. Williams never forgave his mother, a domineering former Southern belle like Amanda, for ordering the procedure. The use of “Blue Roses” as a nickname and symbol for Laura in her happiest moments (which quickly turn painful) is an explicit tribute to Rose Williams.