Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie follows the story of a mother

Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie follows the story of a mother, daughter, and son, their lifelong dreams, and the rude realities of the world. The three characters are a part of a southern family and they all dream to escape reality after losing out on their dreams. With the use of symbols, Williams adds a deeper meaning to the play.
Symbolism is one of the most prevalent literary devices that Williams used in his play. From the symbolic meaning of Laura’s nickname– Blue Roses– to the glass figurines that she keeps safe in her room. One symbol is Laura’s glass menagerie. Laura is a very shy, to herself young woman and evidently lacks self-confidence; this causes her to fear the outside world, avoiding leaving her apartment at all costs. Laura prefers the companionship of her “transparent glass animals.” Just how the glass figurines are secluded and protected by the glass case, so is Laura. Laura remains isolated and protected in her house as do the figurines. Another symbol is the nickname that Jim gave Laura, “Blue Roses”. The color blue is associated with both shyness and sadness which easily describes Laura’s character. These blue roses are beautiful, different, and unique just like Laura. What makes Laura unique is the problem that she has with her leg. The blue roses nickname was symbolic for her fragile and unique beauty.
Another symbol that can be found in the play is the fire escape. The fire escape symbolizes Tom’s escape from reality and the real world. He is escaping from the frustration that his mother brings him and the rude realities of life. More than often, Tom can be found out on the fire escape smoking a cigarette. This foreshadows him leaving his family and the little apartment that he is confined to in St. Louis. Tom goes out onto the fire escape whenever he feels trapped and frustrated which symbolizes that he is itching to leave. Although he left, Tom says “but I was pursued by something, Laura, I tried to leave you behind me, but I am more faithful that I intended to be!” (Williams 76) Here Tom shows us that he was just running from the problems he faced, but could never forget his sister and felt he was abandoning her. Unfortunately, not everyone was as lucky as Tom who finally got his chance to leave. For Laura though, the fire escape symbolizes her inability to escape her current situation. Laura tells her mother “going-going” to let her know that she is heading out to the shop, but as she steps onto the fire escape she falls. The deeper meaning behind Laura slipping and falling was that even though the fire escape is there for everyone during a time of crisis, not everyone is able to use it as an escape, displaying Laura’s entrapment.
Laura’s glass menagerie is a symbol of her “escape” from reality. The delicacy of glass symbolizes Laura’s fragileness. Laura remains distant from the real world, creating an alternate reality within the glass menagerie and the figurines. The glass menagerie also symbolizes the fragileness of a dream world, one wrong move and the world comes falling down. When one of the unicorns breaks she makes it seem that she had an operation to avoid the fact that it had been broken. The glass unicorn is also a symbol for Laura herself. Laura is unlike any other young woman, she is distant and would rather be in her house occupying her spare time with her glass figurines; her leg impairment also makes her unlike most women her age. Just like Laura is unlike any other woman, the unicorn is unlike any other horse; it has a horn. The unicorn symbolizes Laura’s uniqueness and her beauty because unicorns are also seen as beautiful.
Another symbol that Williams presents in the play is the movies that Tom is always going to. Tom is an adventure seeking young poet who feels that his mother Amanda is keeping him entrapped. She is completely against the literature that he reads and thinks that he needs to do something with his life. According to Tom, the movies make him think about all the adventures that he is missing out on. He pictures himself living all the wild and crazy adventures that the characters from the movie are experiencing. The movies also represent when Tom goes out drinking all night. “After each solemn boom of the bell in the tower, he shakes a little noise-maker or rattle as if to express the tiny spasm of man in contrast to the sustained power and dignity of the Almighty. This and the unsteadiness of his advance make it evident that he has been drinking.” (Williams 375). In this situation Laura catches Tom coming home really late and when she asks where he has been he says he was at the movies.
The gentlemen caller Jim O’Connor is a symbol for Laura. For Laura Jim represents what she fears and that is reality. Her crush from high school is at her house and basically flirting with her and she thinks that she will not find anyone due to her leg issue, that’s why she was so terrified when she found out it was him coming for dinner. Jim is a pretty average man but to Amanda he represents her days when she was younger. Even though she wants her daughter to find someone to marry and have a family with it seemed like Amanda was more excited that he was coming than Laura. Prior to Jim arriving, Amanda is getting ready and puts on a dress from her youth and is putting new lamps out and attempting to make the apartment look nice. Jim also represents the outside world taking Laura’s innocence. Before Jim came along, Laura had never even kissed a man, she was innocent and untouched from heartbreak. When Jim came along, she was no longer unhurt, she was broken just like the unicorn. Another symbol related to Jim’s character ties into Laura’s glass unicorn. Jim knocks over Laura’s unicorn, causing it’s horn to fall off. The horn breaking off causes the figurine to just resemble a normal horse; it loses its uniqueness. The horn breaking off also represents Laura’s heart being broken by Jim. He tells her that he is getting engaged to another woman when she finally had her hopes up only to be let down. Laura offers her broken glass unicorn to Jim as a souvenir, representing her giving him her broken heart.

x

Hi!
I'm Dora

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out
x

Hi!
I'm Barry!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out