One can meet a lot of different symbols in the play. Nevertheless, Laura’s glass menagerie, glass unicorn as well as the movies, which are the great passion of Tom, can be seen as extremely important symbols that describe the degree of the main heroes’ detachment from the reality. The glass menagerie adored by Laura has several meanings. Firstly, it embodies a world of illusions, which is particularly important for Laura. She cannot live in reality. She can live in a world of illusions, which allow her to feel comfortable. At the same time, any illusion is fragile. For this reason, the author has chosen glass as a material that is extremely fragile and requires careful treatment. The glass menagerie is a world full of light, happiness, and tranquility. It is not related to the brutal reality and is able to give joy and peace. In addition, the fragility of the glass menagerie allows the author to show the features of Laura’s inner world. Similar to the glass menagerie, Laura has qualities such as refinement, quirkiness and of course fragility. In certain lights, the glass menagerie refracts all colors of the rainbow. Similarly, in the right light, the girl can show different sides of her personality that make her special and unique among others. In general, it can be argued that “Laura, given her own physical disability and intimidated temperament, finds solace in retreating to the delicate world of glass menagerie collection” (Ching-Liang). The glass unicorn is no less important symbol in the play. It fully embodies Laura's peculiarity. Similar to the fact that unicorns are “extinct” in the modern world by representing a specific kind of horses, Laura is also characterized by her uniqueness and loneliness. The unicorns fate follows the fate of the girl in Scene Seven.
Cite this document
(“The Symbolism of the Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams Essay”, n.d.)
Retrieved from https://studentshare.net/literature/745470-the-glass-menagerie-by-tennessee-williams
(The Symbolism of the Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams Essay)
“The Symbolism of the Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams Essay”, n.d. https://studentshare.net/literature/745470-the-glass-menagerie-by-tennessee-williams.
Cited: 0 times
An author of the essay "The Symbolism of the Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams" outlines that the author uses various symbols to convey the features of the relationship between the members of the family and the reality that surrounds them…
The three main characters, Tom, Amanda (his mother) and Laura (his sister) are trapped in a world in which they imagine a future that is not manifesting for them. Although the play takes place in a memory, the perceived remembrance of Tom, the escapism that all three characters use in order to navigate their life during the time of his memories provide a type of context for ways in which to identify how Tom saw his mother and sister, and perhaps how they realistically existed.
The Gentleman Caller is the other character in the play who serves as a catalyst to the plot. The Glass Menagerie is the story of broken promises and disappointments in the backdrop of economic turmoil.
Williams narrates the story through employing multiple layers of meaning to the words, settings, characters and situations. For example, the glass menagerie, the urge of the protagonist to forget her sister, and the blowing out of the candles at the end of the play all employ a deeper layer of meaning. Williams employed the use of symbolism to introduce themes, characters, morals and values, and then to link them all together.
Tom also took on the responsibilities of tending to the well-being of his ill and painfully shy younger sister. However, Tom’s ignorance and selfishness gets the better of him, a behavior that had been building up until it reached a boiling point at the end of the play, resulting in Laura’s emotional distress.
Summary of the Play: Set in St. Louis in the mid-1930s, 'Glass Menagerie' is described as a 'memory' play, that is, the writer has created the work from memories of his life; it truly replicates Williams' own experiences. There is no doubt as to its autobiographical nature, as the three main characters, Tom, Amanda and Laura Wingfield represent himself, his mother Edwina, and his sister Rose, and some of the events in their lives, using Tom Wingfield as narrator.
Moreover, they are not raised to be simple housewives but to be prim and proper.
The play revolves around Amanda Wingfield, one who has been abandoned by her husband. The play depicts the dependency of women on men and the seemingly unjust and segregated roles of men and women.
This intense drama ventures into familial relationships, societal situations, and the nature of memory. “The Glass Menagerie” opened in the mid-1940s in Chicago, and instantly became a mainstay in modern short fiction and continues to influence playwrights and authors of all genres.
Jim O'Connor, the gentleman caller, bears the same name as the young man who called on Rose Williams, before her descent into insanity. The action takes place in a small apartment in a poor district of the city, crowded outside and in, surrounded by many dark alleys and fire escapes.